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Brief description of site

The Bishop's Palace, Wells was enclosed by Bishop Jocelin around 1206. The precincts are walled and moated. The formal gardens were added in the 18th century. Much of the site was landscaped between 1824 and 1845. It is now an informal landscape.

Brief history of site

In the 8th century a collegiate church was founded at Wells, which in AD 909 became the seat of a Saxon bishop. The surviving buildings of the Bishop's Palace were begun in the early 13th century by Bishop Jocelin, who was also responsible for obtaining licence from King John in 1207 to impark the deer park to the south of the Palace. By 1733, when S and N Buck engraved a view of the Palace, formal gardens had been laid out within the moated enclosure to the east and south of the Palace. This view shows that the tree-lined walk on the outer side of the moat was already established, and that the ramparts of the Palace had similarly been converted into walks with views over the garden and park. The Palace grounds assumed their present form in the early 19th century under Bishop George Henry Law.

Location information:

Address: Wells, Somerset, BA5 2PD

Locality: Somerset

Local Authorities:

Somerset; Mendip; Wells

Historical County: Somerset

OS Landranger Map Sheet Number: 183 Grid Ref: ST553456
Latitude: 51.2079 Longitude: -2.64126


The palace is in the city centre, from where it is signposted.

Visitor facilities

Opening contact details:

The gardens are open between March and December, with variable opening times and days. See:

Key information:

Form of site: garden

Purpose of site: ornamental garden

Context or principal building: palace

Site Style : informal

Site first created: After 1207

Main period of development: Early 19th century

Survival: Extant

Site Size (Hectares): 2

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