7 November 1997

Right said Fred – lets tour Wells…

MORE than 30 Yeovil members gathered outside the town hall in the ancient city of Wells, Somerset, to be met by the town crier, Fred Gibbons, resplendent in his green summer uniform.

Fred started our guided tour of the cathedral area by telling us the city got its name from the five springs that supply it with 40gal of water a second.

In 1451 Bishop Beckington decided that he would clean up the city and let the water flow along the streets as it still does today. We first walked to look at the Bishops Palace and were amused to see the bell in the moat that the swans have been trained to ring for food.

The magnificent honey coloured stone cathedral towers over the city and we were interested to learn that it is the seventh church to be built on this site. It was originally painted with bright colours. The clock has been restored to show the maroon paint of earlier times. Many of the statues are without heads or hands, thanks to Oliver Cromwell.

Just around the corner is Vicars Close, the oldest complete street in Europe. One house stands as it was built, but all the others have been altered slightly over the centuries.

As we stood there in awe of all that history, the children from the cathedral school were bustling along the close, some with musical instruments, some just chatting to one another, at the end of a late summer afternoon.

Jean Howells

Yeovil members in Wells. Vicars Close (left) the oldest complete street in Europe, is among its claims to fame.

Guide Fred Gibbons, pictured here chatting to contact leader Sylvia

Reed, was wearing summer uniform.