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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: The Chain Gate, with approach staircase (Formerly Listed as:Cathedral Green, Cathedral Church of St Andrew (including Chain Gate and Cloisters)), Cathedral Green (east side), Wells
Civil Parish: Wells
Grid Ref: ST 5515 4593 (ST 54 NE)
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Image: Image of HER 15283 - Photo by Somerset County Council (April 1981)
  HER 15283 - Photo by Somerset County Council (April 1981)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 20 November 2003]


Gateway, with enclosed stair to Chapter House (qv) and to Vicars' Hall (qv). 1460, for Bishop Beckington. Doulting stone ashlar, Welsh slate roof with stone ridge, with plain gable to north and abutment to south.

EXTERIOR: 2 storeys, west elevation 4 + 3 bays. Moulded strings to first floor level and underside of crenellated parapet. North 4 bays have panelled faces with angled pinnacles starting from floor string, lower bays 1 and 4 have 4-centre pedestrian arches with 2 tiers of 3-unit panelling over, and bays 2 and 3 share the matching waggon arch 2-light C15 transomd and traceried window of almost unique type, the windows to bays 2 and 3 being wider as they have a statue niche instead of central mullion. Remaining 3 bays plainer, the ground floor incorporating some C12 work, with large segmental pointed open arch to bay 2, and the first floor having 3-light windows with linked labels. All merlons and panels between them panelled. To south, two bays of heavier C12 construction enclosing the Chapter House access stair, with string and parapet on rake, buttresses and two 4-light Geometric traceried windows with pointed arched labels and sloping sills, all linking into the north transept of the Cathedral (qv). East elevation similar in character.

INTERIOR: includes the approach staircase, with partial curl into the Chapter House (qv), part 1240/1286 but the upper part 1459, in vaulted lobby, a celebrated feature. Cornice with fleurons beneath roof with roll-moulded wall plate and canted rafters; 3-bay south section has steps up from Chapter House doorway, plank door to central bay with axial roof and 4-bay section over road with lower bay to doorway to Vicars Hall (qv). {1}

English Heritage Listed Building Number: 483307. First Listed on 12/11/1953. English Heritage Unified Designation System Asset Number: 1382904 {2}


1 Statutory List - Forty-third List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic interest: District of Mendip (Somerset) (31/5/2000) Location: HER collections.
2 Data transfer - Listed Buildings database, English Heritage. Record ID: 483307 (2005)
3 Photographs - Barber, E. The counties and shires of Great Britain: Somerset. Country Life  (5/12/1931), 616-22 Copy available in SANHS library at Somerset Heritage Centre.

Record created on 20 November 2003

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