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Introduction

Original Building

Extensions

The Clock
Bekynton
Changes of Monarch

Creyghtone, Ken and Kidder

Restoration
CHANGES OF MONARCH
 
By the time Henry VIII came to the throne the cathedral and all its surrounding buildings were complete and substantially as they are today. It was during the reign of his son Edward VI, that a distinctly protestant style came to the fore, not only in theological matters but in outward appearance as well. Following the dissolution of the chantries in 1547 and the consequent lack of income, medieval brasses were sold off, and a pulpit was placed in the nave for the first time. The painted stonework was covered with white limewash.

After the disruptive period of Mary Tudor's reign, Elizabeth I was determined to restore harmony to her church. In Wells, she gave both the Chapter and the Vicars' Choral a new charter in 1591 and a period of relative stability ensued. This however came to an abrupt end with the onset of the civil war and the execution of Charles I.

During the fighting a considerable amount of damage was done, to stonework, furniture and windows. The dean at this time was Dr. Walter Ralegh, a nephew of Queen Elizabeth's favourite Sir Walter. So much chaos reigned that any attempt at administration was impossible. Dr. Ralegh was imprisoned after the fall of Bridgwater to the parliamentarians in 1645, brought back to Wells and confined in the deanery. The next year, following a dispute with his "gaoler" , the dean was stabbed and eventually died. He is buried in an unmarked grave before his stall in the quire.

The Commonwealth period under Oliver Cromwell saw great dilapidation and indifference towards the fabric of the Cathedral. No dean was appointed after Dr Ralegh, the bishop was in retirement and some clergy were reduced to performing menial tasks or begging on the streets. Thieves made off with lead and moveables.
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