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The Old Deanery

A Grade I Listed Building in Wells, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2107 / 51°12'38"N

Longitude: -2.6456 / 2°38'44"W

OS Eastings: 355000

OS Northings: 145919

OS Grid: ST550459

Mapcode National: GBR MN.3X53

Mapcode Global: VH89S.3T7R

Plus Code: 9C3V6963+7Q

Entry Name: The Old Deanery

Listing Date: 12 November 1952

Last Amended: 12 November 1953

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1382906

English Heritage Legacy ID: 483309

Location: Wells, Mendip, Somerset, BA5

County: Somerset

District: Mendip

Civil Parish: Wells

Built-Up Area: Wells

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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662-1/7/38 (North side)
12/11/53 The Old Deanery


Former Deanery, now Diocesan Offices. C12 origins, largely
rebuilt by Dean Gunthorpe in later C15 (in office 1472-98),
remodelled and south range refenestrated by Dean Bathurst in
late C17. Ashlar stonework with some rendering on east flank,
Welsh slate roof behind parapets, ashlar chimney stacks.
PLAN: gateway from north side of close enters outer court,
with on the west side a square building of 4 ranges
overlooking an inner court, now built over. Eastern hall range
with porch and screens, subdivided into separate rooms in mid
C17. Southern block overlooking close had important suite of
rooms to first floor, defined by larger windows, with at each
end a newel staircase housed in a turret. Dean Gunthorpe's
personal suite was on the north side, on the first floor
enclosed by a straight staircase enclosed at the western end
(see Wood for further details).
EXTERIOR: south front facing Cathedral Green of 2 storeys, 6
bays, mostly C15 with late C17 sash windows (very significant
early surviving examples of their type) inserted. Plinth,
parapet string with gargoyles and crenellated parapet with
shields and Tudor Rose carvings on merlons, buttresses with 2
offsets between bays, and octagonal corner turrets on square
bases, with panelled upper part and panelled conical roofs
with finials, the sash windows large, with 15 panes and thick
glazing bars, set in moulded architraves.
East elevation to courtyard similar in character, but without
buttresses, two storeys of 4 bays, with the rampart to the
south end and a further 3-storey bay to north end, mostly set
back. Ground-floor bays 1, 2 and 3 have ovolo-mould mullioned
and transomd 3-light windows with varied leaded glazing, and
above these are 15-pane sash windows with thick glazing bars
and moulded stone architraves; bay 4 is a slightly projecting
porch, with moulded 4 centred arch housing a C17 door, above
which is a square recessed panel with an iron light bracket,
then a transomd mullioned 2-light window, with an oculus set
in the parapet gable; two 2-light windows in the south return;
bay 5 to north end is a taller end gable, set back, with a
2-light mullioned window at second floor level set in an older
opening, and a similar window set low at first floor level,
projecting flat-roofed extension at ground floor level, with a
5-light mullioned and transomd window and an ornamented
crenellated parapet.
The west elevation continues the c1700 treatment of the south
front, the north elevation almost entirely a selection of
medieval work, with a tower to the north-west corner, in 5
Bay 1 to NE elevation has a single 2-light transomd
4-centre-arched window to first floor, and a pair of sash
windows set below and later doorways etc at lower ground floor
level, then a massive projecting chimney breast, carried back
into bay 1 at lower level; bay 2 has a 2-light window above
and then a medieval style oriel window below, which may be
c1750; bay 3 has two large 4-light windows, with a small
2-light to lower ground floor; bay 5 has another 2-light
window at upper ground level.
INTERIOR: the main hall is at first-floor level on the north
side (now known as the Bradfield Room), and has a fine late
C15 fireplace, its original screen, and an oriel on the south
side with fan vault ceiling, now internal as the inner
courtyard has been filled with rooms. Above is another major
chamber, reputed to have been used by Henry VII on a 1497
visit. The major room on the south range first floor (now the
main committee room) was panelled in the late C17 by Dean
Bathurst (who had Oxford connections with Sir Christopher
Wren), with broad coupled Ionic pilasters. Fine staircase to
both of these major rooms, and many moulded beams and other
features of medieval and late C17 date throughout the
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N: North Somerset and
Bristol: London: 1958-: 317-319; Wood M: The English Medieval
House: London: 1965-: 204-).

Listing NGR: ST5498945920

External Links

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