Community Engagement

The Palace Trust is a charity and community engagement is a key focus for us. We want to give a warm welcome to everyone and play our part in making Wells and the surrounding area a wonderful place to live and visit.

Below are a few examples of how we’re doing this:

  • We have set up a Community Membership Scheme which encourages local not-for-profit groups and organisations to make the most of this unique heritage site at the heart of Wells. It is also a great way for The Bishop’s Palace to build stronger links with the community. You can purchase memberships and we also issue 50 complimentary passes each year for local groups who will benefit the most from them.

  • Each year we provide over 150 complimentary Bishop’s Palace Admission Tickets for local people who will benefit the most from them.

  • This year the 70 nearest schools are entitled to one complimentary class visit.

  • We work with many local organisations to benefit our community.

  • We provide opportunities for local people to return to work, gain work experience, and pathways into employment.

  • We take part in national and regional forums to promote good practice and take part in research.

Please contact [email protected] for more information on any of these community initiatives.

Please contact us if you have any ideas, suggestions or proposals for ways that we could work with you or how you might like to get involved here.

The Bishops of Bath and Wells and Their Links to the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Click here to read the report written by Debbie Manners, Exeter University 2022 which shows that two of our bishops – Law and Beadon – supported the abolition cause. Her report also reveals findings which suggest that Bishop Moss may have been pro abolition.

Other research to date has shown that, with the possible exception of two bishops (Willes and Moss), none have profited directly or indirectly from this trade. Bishop Edward Willes owned stock in the South Sea Annuities, deriving from the South Sea company which, amongst other activities, traded in enslaved people from Africa from 1713 to 1750. The company continued trading until 1853. It is not known when Bishop Willes acquired a financial interest in the company; it may have been after it ceased trading in enslaved people.

Bishop Moss appears to have been a shareholder in the British company running Virginia, a plantation state.  It is not clear whether slaves were used on the Virginian plantations in question but if so, he would have possibly received income from his shareholding.

We will continue to research the links of the Bishops of Bath and Wells and transatlantic slavery. For more information on Wells and transatlantic slavery please visit www.wellsandtransatlanticslavery.com

Community Partnerships

To coincide with Anthony Gormley loaning the sculpture DOUBT to Wells Cathedral, Wells Heritage Partners has created an education programme to inspire school children and students in key stages 1-5. Project Factory CIC of Wells raised the funds for the installation in niche 338 of the West Front Wells Cathedral and are able to provide travel bursaries to enable local school children to attend the study days run jointly by Wells Cathedral, Wells & Mendip Museum and The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens. For more information on the education programme please contact [email protected]

Educational Visits

Please click HERE to access our learning pack for educational visits at The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens.

We welcome visits from schools, nurseries and educators. In Feb 2023 we launched our new online learning pack, full of useful resources to help you plan your visit. This 14 acre heritage attraction has been the home of The Bishop of Bath & Wells for the last 800 years. It is steeped in history and there are learning opportunities around every corner. Many groups come to spend time together too, focusing on well-being and nature.

  • 800 year old Bishop’s Palace full of Bishop’s portraits, vestments, and coronation exhibits
  • The wellpools that give our city its name
  • The Bishop of Bath & Wells’ chapel
  • Dragon’s Lair Play Area (including storytelling circle)
  • Stunning outdoor picnic areas
  • Indoor lunch provision at our medieval banqueting tables
  • Dressing up
  • Short videos explaining about a) modern bishops b) 800 year old legend of a dragon and c) how the site has changed over the last 1000 years
  • Community garden with seasonal flowers and veg

Our nearest 70 schools, nurseries and educational groups are entitled to bring one class or group for free each year. Please contact [email protected] if you think your group may qualify.

Digital Business Work Experience

We had the pleasure of welcoming Wilf to the Palace, who is currently completing a digital business college course and completed his work experience with us. Wilf has been working alongside the Palace’s Marketing team to develop a social media campaign, creating video content for our YouTube channel and learning more about our website and email newsletters. He’s written a few sentences about his ambitions within the digital business and marketing industry:

“Hi, my name is Wilfred. I’m a Digital Business college student and I have many plans and ambitions for my future. I’m interested in Digital Marketing, such as promoting social media accounts with videos and pictures to present the lovely aspects of businesses and why people should visit them. My main objective is to become an entrepreneur in the future, however, I have quite a few steps to take before I can do so.”

 

Work Experience at the Palace

As part of the Palace’s community engagement programme we provide opportunities for work experience placements. Here’s William,  currently completing a Level 3 course in Land and Wildlife (Fisheries) Diploma, with some feedback about his recent time with us:

“I have had the greatest experience at the Palace on my work experience. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming since I have been here. I have loved working and learning about all the different aspects of the Palace including the café, selling tickets, property management and working in the gardens. I have learnt so much while working here that will help me in the future. My favourite part must be working in the gardens whether it be pruning, digging, taking out large shrubs or even driving the tractor. I am very thankful for the opportunity I have been given.”

Wells Community Day

We were among over 70 stallholders in Wells Cathedral this month as part of Wells Community Day, organised by Project Factory and Wells Community Network.

It gave us the chance to share with the community some of the work we do, for example that we have given out 50 complimentary Community Membership passes in the past 12 months to local groups who will benefit the most from them…

We also had a fun game to identify birds that are seen in our grounds. It turned out that the adults enjoyed the game as much as the children! 

It was a fun day with some wonderful performances including choirs and ballet. Having all the groups in one place really brought it home that Wells is a thriving community.

Gemma Palmer, our new Community Engagement Assistant, is pictured on the stall with a member of the public.

Wellbeing Walks

Join us on the first Tuesday of the month at 11am throughout 2024 for a Wellbeing Walk.

Come along and spend some quality time in the our gardens, surrounded by nature. This 30 min wellbeing walk will encourage you to take your time, savour the moment and leave feeling refreshed. Meet by the ticket gate at 11am on the first Tuesday of each month. No need to prebook but you will need an admission ticket or membership, if you haven’t already got one, you can purchase a ticket HERE.