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©  John Boothroyd ARPS

IoE Number: 483308
Location: THE MUSIC SCHOOL AND ATTACHED WALLS, CATHEDRAL GREEN (north side)
  WELLS, MENDIP, SOMERSET
Photographer: John Boothroyd ARPS
Date Photographed: 04 May 2001
Date listed: 12 November 1953
Date of last amendment: 31 May 2000
Grade II*

The Images of England website consists of images of listed buildings based on the statutory list as it was in 2001 and does not incorporate subsequent amendments to the list. For the statutory list and information on the current listed status of individual buildings please go to The National Heritage List for England.

WELLS ST5445 CATHEDRAL GREEN 662-1/7/37 (North side) 12/11/53 The Music School and attached walls (Formerly Listed as: CATHEDRAL GREEN (North side) Library of Theological College) GV II* Former house of the Archdeacon of Wells, now music school. Largely rebuilt by Archdeacon Holes c1450-70, possibly retaining some C13 work, extensively restored 1886 by Edmund Buckle. Local stone roughly squared and coursed, with ashlar chimney stacks, slate roof. PLAN: a large full-height hall, cross passage to the left, and rooms on 2 floors and attic left, with staircase turret front, left. EXTERIOR: front elevation of 6 bays. Plinth, parapet string and battlemented parapet, corner turrets with conical roofs and crocketed finials. Perpendicular-traceried windows with cinquefoil cusping; bay 1 has 3-light windows to two levels, the lower having a segmental relieving arch over, the upper has a transom and a flat label mould; bay 2 an octagonal plan projection with hipped roof, with small windows at lower level; bay 3 is a projecting porch almost as far as bay 2, with large elliptical C19 arch framing a 2-light window and a pointed arched doorway, ornamented battlemented parapet, above which is a 3-light transomd window with flat label, and in roof a C19 dormer with pitched roof; bay 4 has a projecting solar window with chamfered corners, not to full height, with pair of 2-light transomd windows with arched heads on south face, and single 2-light windows to SW, SE and east faces under battlemented parapet; bays 5 and 6 have later 2-light windows with transoms and a different tracery pattern, with relieving arches and no labels. In the south-east corner are jamb and part of the arch of an earlier door. West gable has three 4-centred blocked arches at low level, an offset at eaves level, and in the gable a circular window divided into 5 parts by C19 tracery, with a trefoil cusped window above. The north elevation modified by a lean-to house at rear, but has 2-light arched traceried window to east bay and deeper transomd windows for the next two bays. INTERIOR: the main entrance cross-passage has 2 transverse beams with chamfers to run-out stops. To the right the hall, entered through a pair of fielded-panel doors, has an 8-bay arch-braced collar roof with chamfered purlins and 4 ranges of broad chamfered wind-braces, in X-form, to a diagonal ridge, with flat rafters, boarded, on a brattished plate over open cusped lights and a further brattished lower member, with a deep carved inscribed frieze. Near the east end on north side a cusped recess apparently of C13 date. At the E end is a plain wall with oculus, and a gallery on scrolled brackets, returned to the N side, with a series of thin turned balusters to arches in groups of 5, and a deep handrail. At the W end is a gallery with a free-standing spiral stair and similar balustrade. At the ground floor level is a C19 stone fireplace with frieze and mantelshelf, on octagonal pilasters. The frieze inscription reads: 'Omnis Scriba doctus in regno coelorum similis est homini patrifamilias qui profert de thesauro suo nova et veta .... Sacerdotis custodient licentiam et legem requirent ex die eius quia angelus Domini exercitum est MDCCCXL'. This may replace the 'monkish verses' said to have been here in 1680. The rooms at the far side of the cross-passage are mainly in late C19 detail, but the attic storey still retains heavy principals and purlins of earlier date. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: attached to the SW corner a short length of tall wall with coping and gateway to the west, having plain square ashlar piers with simple plinth and pyramid caps, with C20 timber gates, then enclosing front area, with quadrant curve on SW corner, a wall approximately 1m high with pitched roll-top ashlar coping, with gap opposite porch, continued to a matching gateway at the east end against the Vicars' Hall (qv), with a tall return all northwards back to the SE corner of the building, adding to the setting of this building and to the street scene of the Cathedral Green. HISTORICAL NOTE: the building remained a house when Polydore Vergil, author of "Historia Anglia" was forced to surrender it to the Crown in 1555. In the late C18 it became a brewery, but after the 1886 restoration it served for 90 years as the Library to the now defunct Wells Theological College, and in 1955 came to the Cathedral School. (Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and Bristol: London: 1958-: 319; Bailey S: Canonical Houses of Wells: Gloucester: 1982-: 123).

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