© Mr John H. Sparkes
BISHOP BURNELL'S GREAT HALL, BISHOP'S PALACE
WELLS, MENDIP, SOMERSET
Mr John H. Sparkes
01 August 2007
12 November 1953
Date of last amendment:
31 May 2000
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ST5445 BISHOP'S PALACE
662-1/7/6 Bishop Burnell's Great Hall
(Formerly Listed as:
(including... ruins of Great
Ruins of former mediaeval bishop's hall house. c1280, part
demolished c1830. Local rubble with Doulting stone dressings,
no roof. Remains of large 5-bay aisled hall, approx 35m long
and 18m wide internally, with screens passage and N porch;
solar and undercroft to right (W). What now remains is the N
wall, W wall, remnants of the arcade column bases, and a
detached turret to the SE corner of the E wall. The N wall has
4 lofty 2-light geometrical Decorated windows, with sexfoil
head over cusped lights, and cusped transom; to the right the
inner doorway to the former N porch, and at either end are
remains of octagonal stair turrets. At the W end, with 2
octagonal turrets, later single-storey C19 service buildings
have been added, with a narrow central courtyard; there was
already some low-level extension here in 1730 and before.
On the S side is a length of low wall extending towards the E,
including a pointed doorway with mouldings.
Originally this was a most impressive large hall residence.
It is believed to have been built after the commencement of
the Chapel (qv), and appears in Buck's view of 1730 apparently
still complete, with a deep 2-storey N porch, 3 of the windows
(that to the E seems blocked by a solid wall), and 4 roof
gables or dormers; the S and E walls were finally demolished
in the early C19 by Bishop Law "... to make a more picturesque
ruin...", and, in Pevsner's words, with the remainder of the
Palace complex, "...is the product of the gentle romanticism
of the C18 and early C19."
(Colchester LS: Wells Cathedral: A History: Shepton Mallet:
1982-: 232; Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset
and Bristol: London: 1958-: 315).