Living in Wells

Brief History

Wells lies sheltered beneath the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills and combines a wealth of historic interest and beautiful architecture. Wells qualifies as England's smallest, and Somerset's only city.

Initially, a Roman settlement, the city grew in importance under the Anglo-Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church in 704. In 909, it became the seat of the newly-formed bishopric of Wells. However, in 1090, the bishop's seat was removed to Bath. A move which caused severe arguments between the canons of Wells and the monks of Bath. The two cities were unified in 1245 by the creation of the Diocese of Bath and Wells. The construction of the current cathedral and the bishop's palace in the first half of the 13th century ensured Wells became the principal seat of the diocese.

Wells was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Welle, from the Old English wiells, not as a town but as four manors with a population of 132. The city was recognised as a free borough by a Royal charter of King John in 1201. City status was most recently confirmed by Queen Elizabeth II on the 1 April 1974.

During the English Civil War (1642-1651), at what became known as the "Siege of Wells", the city found itself surrounded by Parliamentarian guns on the Bristol, Glastonbury and Shepton Mallet sides. This war was settled with Oliver Cromwell's victory for Parliamentary forces at the 1645 Battle of Naseby. In 1685, The Monmouth Rebellion saw the rebel army attacked the cathedral in an outburst against the established church and damaged the west front. Wells was the final location of the Bloody Assizes on 23 September 1685. In a makeshift court, over 500 men were tried on a single day, with the majority sentenced to death.

In the Middle Ages, overseas trade was carried out from the port of Rackley. And by 1388 Thomas Tanner from Wells used Rackley to export cloth and corn to Portugal, in exchange for iron and salt. Up until the 17th centuries, Wells had been a centre for cloth making. By the 19th century, Wells had the largest cheese market in the west of England.

Today, Wells is a popular tourist destination, due to its historical sites and its close proximity to Bath, Stonehenge and the Somerset coast. Living in Wells is to experience the quintessentially English market town, with all the modern conveniences you would expect. And with an excellent mixture of property styles and types in all price ranges, Wells might be the perfect city for you to call home.

Wells in Facts

  • Area: 1 sq mile
  • Population: 10,536
  • Postcode: BA5
  • Area codes: 01749
  • Airport: Bristol
  • Train station: Castle Cary
  • Local Council: Wells City Council
  • Average property price: £279,009

All facts use 2016 data

Discover Wells


The town has a variety of interesting and different independent shops, which provides a pleasurable shopping experience.

Open markets are held in Market Place on Wednesdays and Saturdays


Wells is situated at the junction of three major roads, which allow for easy access to Bath (20.5 miles), Bridgwater, and Cheddar amongst others.

As the city has no train station, the nearest are Castle Cary and Frome.

Bristol Airport (17.2 miles) provides both regular commercial flights as well as a private business terminal.

Wells property
Live in Wells


Founded in 909 AD, Wells Cathedral School is a well-regarded independent school that has a Christian emphasis and is one of only five established musical secondary schools in the UK.

The city is also home to some of the county's leading state schools and provides a good range of primary and secondary education options.

Lifestyle and Culture

Started in 1902, Wells Little Theatre is operated by a voluntary society and hosts a variety of productions throughout the year.

The Wells Film Centre shows current releases and, in conjunction with the Wells Film Society shows less well known and historical films.

Wells and Mendip Museum includes many historical artefacts from the city and surrounding Mendip Hills.

Wells Lifestyle and Culture
Sports Wells


The city offers a range of sporting activities including Football Clubs, Cricket Clubs and Hockey Clubs.

Located on the outskirts of the city, Wells Golf Club is an 18 hole course and also has a 24 bay driving range with optional grass tees.

The Mendip Way and Monarch's Way long-distance footpaths pass through the city, as does National Cycle Route 3.

Property in Wells

While Wells, is famous for its historic architecture and cobbled streets, the city has a wide range of properties. From grand estates to quaint townhouses and modern family homes.

As the city has great transport links and facilities, living in Wells is perfect for a range lifestyles and budgets.

Discover Wells Property