Wells Castle, Bishop’s Palace

  • Wells, Somerset. 
  • Scheduled Monument. 
  • Grade I Listed Building.


Medieval moated Bishop’s Palace of irregular plan with six towers. Had two octagonal towers, battlements and arrowslits, portcullis chamber and drawbridge chains. Gatehouse faces the cathedral at the north west. Gateway has two rectangular towers.

An outer ward including a hall, chapel and chambers with towers were added.

Residence of the Bishop’s of Bath and Wells.

Bishop Barlow was responsible for much of the demolition of the castle.


909                               Athlem was Bishop of Wells.

924                               Wufhelm was Bishop of Wells.

927                               Alfheah was Bishop of Wells.

938                               Berhthaln was Bishop of Wells.

956                               Berhthelm was Bishop of Wells.

974                               Cynward was Bishop of Wells.

977                               c: Sigagar was Bishop of Wells.

997                               Alfwine was Bishop of Wells.

999                               Lyfing was Bishop of Wells.

1015                             c: Athelvin was Bishop of Wells.

1024                             Britwin/g was Bishop of Wells.

1033                             Dudue was Bishop of Wells.

1061                             Giso was Bishop of Wells.

1088                             John de Villula was Bishop of Bath.

1123                             Godfrey was Bishop of Bath.

1136                             Robert of Lewes was Bishop of Bath.

1174                             Reginald Fitz Jocelyn was Bishop of Bath.

1192                             Savorie Fitz Goldwin was Bishop of Glastonbury.

1206                             Jocelin of Wells was Bishop of Bath and Glastonbury.

1210                             c: Started by Bishop Jocelyn.

1216-1272                   During: Built by Bishop Joceline including the main entrance.

1230                             c: Restored and divided.

1244                             Roger of Salisbury was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1265                             Walter Gifford was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1267                             William Bytton was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1275                             Robert Burnell was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1280                             c: Great Hall built.

1285                             Licence to crenellate granted to Robert Burnell, who made a quadrangular moat with rampart walls made of earth. A battlemented wall stood on top of the ramparts, including four towers at the corners and half towers projecting from the curtain.

1293                             William de la March was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

13th C                           Central block with main buildings built. Chapel.

1302                             Walter Haselshaw was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1309                             John Drokensford was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1329                             Ralph of Shrewsbury was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1331                             Fortified by the Bishop of Wells.

1341                             c: Licence to crenellate granted to Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury.

1363                             John Barnet was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1367                             John Harewell was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1387                             Walter Skirlaugh was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1388                             Ralph Erghum was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

14th C                           c: Wall built by Bishop Ralph of Shrewsbury.

1400                             Richard Clifford was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1401                             Henry Bowett was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1407                             Nicholas Bubwith was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1425                             John Stafford was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1443                             Thomas Beckington was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1466                             Robert Stillington was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

1492                             Richard Fox was Bishop of Bath and Wells.

15th C                           Fireplace. Stone well house.

15th -16th C                  North wing remodeled by Bishop Bekynton.

1540-1546                   Itinerary of John  Leland: Normal use.

16th C                           Roof stripped. Fireplace.

1810                             Modified by Bishop Beadon.

1825-1826                   Bishop Law ruined part of the building.

1846                             Restored by Benjamin Ferrey.

19th C                           Path built.

20th C                           Ruined and roofless. Chapel intact. Building constructed in the narrow courtyard of the Bishop’s House.



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