Wells in Somerset, is the smallest city in England, with a population of around 10,000. It is a busy center for tourism, being close to the Mendip Hills, Glastonbury, Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole.

The city is named after its 3 fresh-water springs. The water rises in the gardens of the Bishop's Palace, and then flows in gullies down the sides of the Market Place and High Street.

Traditionally, industry was based around textiles; with wool taken from sheep on the Mendips, although in the 1950s, tourism surpassed textiles as the city's major earner.


Wells was founded around the early 8th Century by King Ine of Wessex, when a church was founded near the springs. The land was known by King Cynewulf in 766 as the land "by the Great Spring which they call Wells".

The diocese of Wells was created in the 10th Century, with St. Andrews as its cathedral. The diocese was moved to Bath between 1080 and 1244. The current cathedral was built between 1180 and 1508, standing outside the free borough of Wells which was awarded by King John in 1201. The area around the Cathedral and Bishop's Palace was known as St. Andrews Liberty.


Notable sights are the Cathedral, Bishop's Palace and Vicar's Close (the oldest complete inhabited street in Europe).

The Penniless Porch, located between the market place and the Cathedral traditionally housed beggars, looking for money from people on their way to the cathedral. It now houses buskers.


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