Edited in Photomatix
One image – hand held
Wells Cathedral, Wells, UK
In 909 the large diocese of Sherbourne was split and the minster church of St. Andrew became the first Wells Cathedral. Giso, the last Saxon bishop built both to the south, buildings for live-in priests, and north, a cloister. Pottery and animal bones were found to the south and a fine tomb cover of the tenth century with a pattern representing the Tree of Life to the north.
After the death of Giso in 1088, his successor John of Tours moved his seat to Bath Abbey and Wells was temporarily demoted. In the early 1100s Bishop Robert partially rebuilt the neglected church and carved stone fragments of the Norman period were recovered during the excavations.
By 1180 the foundations of an entirely new church were being laid to the north of the old one and on a better east-west alignment. Bishop Reginald, the then Bishop of Bath and a Norman by family, brought with him the exciting ideas of a new architectural style – the Gothic.
Probably by 1196 the demolition of the Saxon cathedral began as the new church was sufficiently advanced to be used for worship. Some stone was recycled for use in the new building. Out of respect for the ancient sacred site of the Roman mausoleum, the St. Mary Chapel was preserved and joined on to the new east cloister at a skewed angle. It became known as the “Lady Chapel by-the-Cloister”.
In 1477 Bishop Robert Stillington embarked on a complete rebuilding of the chapel on a grand scale. The foundations of this cruciform building are what can be seen today in the Camery garden. This grand chapel did not last long and was blown up with gunpowder in 1552 because Edward VI had abolished Chantry chapels in the height of Reformation zeal.