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Wells, town (1991 pop. 9,252), Somerset, SW England. Primarily a cathedral town, it has changed little since medieval times, although shopping and tourism have become important. The first church was erected by King Ine of Wessex in the early 8th cent. The earliest part of the present cathedral dates from 1176. The towers were built in the 14th cent., much of the woodwork dates from the 15th cent., and there are more than 300 13th-century sculptured figures. The grounds of the bishop's palace include ruins of the original 13th-century structure and the complete 14th-century moat and wall. A theological college is in Wells.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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