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Archive News

Previous newsletters will be archived here so you can always refer back to what has gone on:

Latest News

27 March 2024

Dear Volunteers

Please find my Easter letter.

Have a lovely Easter!


6 March 2024

Dear Volunteers

Spring seems to have arrived this week, long may it continue!

Here is this quarter’s video update from Roger Hawes, Chair of Trustees

There will be quite a bit of disruption here over the next couple of weeks due to filming. Below are some useful notes on what to say (and not say!) to our visitors.

Notes About the Filming for Volunteers

The Palace will be partially/fully closed over several dates in March due to the filming of a BBC period drama.

We have included these closures in our general email newsletter, Members’ newsletter, social media and on our website pop-up and the ‘Tickets & Opening’ page.

For reference, here are the planned closure dates:

  • 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 10thUpstairs of Palace Closure (downstairs of the Palace, café and gardens remain open as normal)
  • 7th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 20th, 22nd March – Palace Buildings Closure (café and gardens remain open as normal)
  • 15th, 18th, 19th, 21st March – Full site closure

While this is a very exciting time, we recognise the inconvenience this may cause visitors. However, on the days when there is not a full site closure, the café, gardens and chapel will remain open to the public to enjoy and explore.

Furthermore, The Bishop’s Palace and Gardens is run by The Palace Trust, a registered charity which manages the site as a heritage visitor attraction.

The cost of maintaining the Palace is met entirely by grants, admission Tickets, filming, special events and our café, and donations are also crucial to our work.

We hope you can understand the importance of opportunities such as this, to “conserve The Bishop’s Palace and its story as a place of enjoyment and reflection for the benefit of all.”

Please note that we’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement for the filming so we cannot share the name of the series, just that it’s a BBC period drama.

Best Wishes

Siobhan Goodwin

1 March 2024

Dear Volunteer,

A bit of news for you on a sunny yet showery Friday here at the Palace. I can’t believe it’s the first day of March and spring is fast approaching. What a wet month February was with all that rain! Hope you all survived the floods if you have been out and about.

Summer hours: I have now put up the new shifts in April for VSV, Palace & Drawbridge Welcomers and Tour guide slots with our new summer opening hours. Please sign up on Supersaas if you can.

Nature Ninjas workshop 11 April: We are looking for volunteers to help with our next family holiday activity “Nature Ninjas” during the Easter Holidays on Thurs 11 April. Families will be making seed bombs out of egg boxes! Please could you contact Adam Saunders if you are interested and able to help with this activity asap: [email protected]

Egg boxes: With the above in mind, Jo Stevenson would be most grateful for donations of 6-egg egg boxes for Nature Ninjas. Please give to Jo at the morning briefing if you are in or you can leave at ticket office.

Safeguarding Training and Induction: We are running these training sessions in the Stable Yard Room for new volunteers.

  •  Tuesday 5th March 1:45 – 4pm
  • Thursday 28th March 1:30 – 3:45pm

If anyone has not completed this training or would like a refresher session, please let me know by emailing me.

Coffee meet ups: Here are the next 2 dates for your diaries. These will all be held in the Stable Yard Room. It is a great chance to get to know or chat with other volunteers:

  • Tuesday 26th March: 2pm
  • Wednesday 24th April: 11am 

ITV news: For those who may have missed our resident swan whisperer Moira’s appearance on ITV West Country a few days ago, here’s a link to watch it:…/wells-swans-prepare-for…/s40xvhs

Finally, if you haven’t claimed your complimentary Glastonbury Abbey Ticket letter and you would like one, please let me know so I can give your name to our ticket office.

Happy March!


12th February 2024

Dear Volunteers,

The news just keeps on coming. Never a dull moment here!

In March we will be having some closures due to filming of a period drama (part of our contract is that we do not tell anyone what the filming is so apologies for the secrecy!) I haven’t altered our online rotas yet as the dates have only just been confirmed. VSVs, guides and welcomers will not be needed on full site closure days but when the gardens are open we can carry on as normal except no palace welcomers needed. Please let me know if you would like to help on the days we have a full site closure. This will involve being on the drawbridge to explain to any visitors why we are closed and to soften the blow if they have not checked the website and come on a wild goose chase! These will be 2hr sessions 10-12, 12-2 and 2-4.

  • 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th March – Full site closure
  • 11th, 12th, 16th, 17th, 21st, 22nd March – Palace Buildings Closed Only (café and gardens remain open as normal)

In the past we have done a ticket exchange with a local heritage attraction as part of our volunteer training programme. It’s always good to be able to let visitors know about other interesting places to visit, once they have visited us of course! This year we have 60 tickets for Glastonbury Abbey. Priority will be given to those who have volunteered already in 2024. If you would like a ticket please contact  [email protected] .

You are welcome to join in as Bishop Michael leads a ‘pop up’ Ashing Service in Wells Market Place at 11am on 14th February to mark Ash Wednesday. If it is very busy it may take place on Palace Green so do have a wander until you find them!

Just a reminder that for the last hour of every day out Quiet Garden is a silent space. To learn more about this please visit: Silent Space | Peaceful time in green places

We will soon start the training for new guides for 2024. Would you like to become a guide? It is very rewarding. If you might be interested please let me now asap and we can go through exactly what is involved.

There are only two cygnets left now and the parents have made a new nest by the Brewery Office.

Lots of jolly children enjoying the snowdrops here on a wonderful sunny day this half term. Long may it continue.

Best Wishes

25th January 2024

Hello Volunteers,

Hope this email finds you well. I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself properly in this newsletter and tell you a bit more about me, particularly to those of you I haven’t yet met!

My name is Gemma Palmer and I’m the new Community Engagement Assistant. I will be working closely with Siobhan in the Stable Yard office and helping with all aspects of volunteer recruitment, training, and general admin duties. I work Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. I’ve really enjoyed my last few weeks here getting to grips with all aspects of what we do in the community and working at the Wells Community Day at the Cathedral last Saturday.

Originally from Bristol I’ve lived in Wells for the last 12 years with my husband Ben and our two children aged 9 and 5. I worked for 5 years in Outreach at University of Bath but more recently, whilst raising our family, I have been helping with the admin side of our Osteopathy clinic in Wells. Although I haven’t worked in Heritage in recent years, I studied Art History in Brighton for my degree and spent lots of time in museums and volunteering in local art galleries in Brighton. My other interests include singing, walking, floristry, and yoga!

Please do say hello if you see me about!

In other news…

The role of a trustee: Our chief executive officer Merryn & trustee Roger has put together a useful video in case you ever wondered….

Excitingly, the Bishops Palace will feature on ITV’s This Morning programme on a Wednesday soon between 10 – 12:30pm. It is part of a weekly feature about John Torode’s Cooking & Cycling journey through Somerset. He filmed it a few months ago in the gardens so do tune in for that!

Coffee meet ups: Here are the next 3 dates for your diaries. They will all be held in the Stable Yard Room. It is a great chance to get to know or catch up with other volunteers:

  • Thursday 8th Feb: 11am
  • Tuesday 26th March: 2pm
  • Wednesday 24th April: 11am 

Siobhan will be away next week as she is going up to London to present our findings at a conference on providing nature based activities for people living with dementia. We ran an interesting 4 week course here last September 2023 as part of Exeter University’s ENLIVEN Project. The conference is only one day however she is taking the chance to make a bit of a holiday out of it!

Volunteer recruitment: Please do spread the word about volunteering at the Palace as we are now recruiting for 25 more volunteer positions. Application forms are in the shop or can be requested via my email: [email protected]

That’s it for the time being, but can I take this opportunity to say thank you for all your hard work so far! I am really impressed with everyone’s enthusiasm and commitment to their role at the Palace.

See you soon,


18 January 2024


I know I only sent one of these out last week but I thought you needed to know urgently that Morrisons car park rules have changed. The free parking is now limited to 2hrs, not 3hrs (even though a few of the signs still say 3hrs). I didn’t want any of you to be landed with a £100 fine! A reminder that if you volunteer here weekly for at least half a day and live outside of Wells, you can request to use the one free parking space we have reserved for the volunteer team on site. You are allocated the spot for a 3 month period and then it is someone else’s turn. To apply please contact  [email protected]

While I have your attention I will just add that the East Gallery will reopen from the end of this month (it may even be a few days before that). Please do have a look in there to familiarise yourselves with the new exhibition. There will be some new artifacts never displayed before which have kindly been loaned to us by Bishop Michael.

That’s all folks!


12 January 2024

Greetings everyone and may I wish you a very happy and healthy 2024,

We have made a great to start to the year with the arrival of Gemma Palmer, Community Engagement assistant (working Tues / Thurs / Fri in the stableyard office) and Adam Saunders, Visitor Experience Manager (working Tues-Sat based in stableyard office)

We will have another dementia awareness session kindly run for us by Wells Dementia Action Alliance 10:30-11:30 on Tues 13th Feb in the Stableyard Room. If you haven’t done this session before or would just like a refresher please book your place by emailing [email protected]

If you have any spare Jam Jars (that meet the criteria – click on this link to see a picture!) then please pop them in to the café before end of Jan. Jo needs them for a Mother’s day project in the café. They need to be clean, no sticky labels or residue and have reasonably wide necks please.

I have put a little notice on the front door of ‘The Lodge’ asking people to show their tickets at the shop if it unattended. That way you don’t have to be there too long in this freezing cold weather and especially at times of day when there are very few visitors. Just shut the door, head off for a brisk walk around or warm up in the Bevy Room with a hot drink.

Guides: there are a few extra spare slots on the rota as a couple of people have had to drop out in the next couple of weeks. Please sign up if you are available. Many thanks.

Would any of you like to come along to the monthly team meetings that are held first thing on Thurs for approx. 30 mins? It is a chance for each team to update other teams and to raise any issues. You are not expected to represent the whole volunteer team , just your own views. We try to have three new volunteers each year who attend on a rota basis. If you are interested please email [email protected]

We will start the monthly volunteer coffee meet ups again soon for 2024. Gemma will be in touch next week with some dates.

Best Wishes


20 December 2023

Dear Volunteers,

Firstly some very good news. The results are in from our Visit England inspection (carried out earlier this month). We have improved on last year which took us into the Gold Award nomination category…….but because the stableyard toilets did not reach the necessary standard for a gold we just missed out on that. Plans are in place for them to be refurbished in early 2024. They commented on the very warm welcome they received and have nominated the café for a food award. So thank you to you all for helping us keep up these high standards.

Gemma Palmer will start as the new Community Engagement Assistant on 2nd Jan. She will be working Tues / Thurs & Fri and will be based in the stableyard office. I know you will give her a warm welcome.

I have lost count of the number of people who have commented to me that they think this is the best Christmas at the Palace ever. So to everyone who went the extra mile, wrapping presents, drying flowers, decorating staircases, welcoming visitors, popping logs on the fire, making cups of tea, etc all your hard work has paid off and is appreciated by the visitors.

This time of the year comes with so many hopes, expectations, and for some, concerns, but whatever you are doing this Christmas time, I wish you joy and a healthy and happy 2024. Here are some of my favourite pics from this season. Father Christmas with one of the children’s eco art exhibits, the new ‘coronation’ tree with carriages, corgis and soldiers, and then this little chap who is wondering what all the fuss is about!

2 December 2023

Dear Volunteers,

Greetings on this very frosty but beautiful morning. I hope you have had chance to see The Palace all dressed for Christmas. My favourite tree is in the Coronation Room. Do go and have a look when you are next in. What the garden team has achieved in there with all of the natural decorations is really outstanding. Thank you to everyone who has helped. It really has been a huge team effort.

  • Please click the link for the latest update video from our Chair of Trustees Roger Hawes:
  • Please remember to put your mileage expenses claims in. It really helps us if you can do this monthly. The deadline for Oct/Nov/Dec claims is strictly Mon 8 Jan. The deadline for claims prior to that has already gone. Expense forms can be printed off (in ‘Word’ or PDF) from the ‘Information’ section of the website, ‘Expenses’ section.  It really helps us if you can complete all sections. Otherwise we have to start getting the calculator out or look up where you live!
  • It’s that time of year when I am starting to plan the training, talks, walks programme for early next year. Is there anything in particular you would like us to cover?
  • This year’s Eco Art Exhibition has gone very well with 800 children and 13 schools and nurseries taking part. Do have a look at it up in the conference room. Such a lot of work and creativity from the children and the teachers.
  • You might like to know that 10 families will be joining us as our guests to visit Father Christmas at the Palace. They have all had a difficult 2023 for one reason and another. They will all receive a free annual ticket too so they can keep coming back all year. As a charity we are able to bring a little of the spirit of Christmas into some local people’s lives.

I hope to see you at one of the socials this month (12th Carols Round The Piano, 18th Carol Service, 20th coffee morning). If you haven’t already booked in then do let me know if you would like to come along.

Very best Wishes


27 November 2023

A message from Roger Hawes, Chair of Trustees

To all Staff and Volunteers

I am delighted to inform you that the Trustees have unanimously approved the appointment of Merryn Kidd as permanent CEO. She will be leading us through an exciting period of transformation which has already begun and, although we are still in challenging times, we view the future with optimism with Merryn at the helm.

Thank you all for all you do to make the Palace and Gardens such a unique place of beauty and community. Here’s to better weather in 2024!

Best wishes.


23 November 2023

Hi Everyone,

There has been a lot going on here lately so brace yourselves for a bumper volunteer news bulletin!

  • Adam Saunders has been appointed as the new Visitor Experience Manager and will start in Jan 2024. He is popping in for a few days before then so you may see him around. Please do introduce yourselves.
  • The heaters in the Bevy Room are on a timer so no need to switch them off (despite the ‘turn me off’ signs!)
  • Peter Hancock’s health has taken a turn for the worse but he will be undergoing treatment in the new year and is expected to make a good recovery. For those new to our team, Bishop Peter is our former bishop who retired in 2021.
  • Please find updated membership info here (this is mainly for the VSV team).
  • Would you like to record an audio clip of how volunteering has helped your wellbeing? It can be anonymous. This is for us to share with our visitors and wider audience possibly through our social media. If so please contact Matt Groom our Digital Marketing Assistant at [email protected]
  • There will be safeguarding and induction training Wed 29th Nov from 10-12 . Most people are up to date there are just a few of you who still need to complete it.
  • We are advertising for a new Head of Finance and People . Natalie will not be returning to us after her maternity leave afterall.
  • Christmas illuminations: 1st December (Members  Only), 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st December 2023. The Illuminations are open from 3:30pm until 7.30pm on those dates, with the last entry at 7pm. (You can come along to the members only night on 1 Dec if you wish but please remember to bring your lanyard for entry. Of course you can come to any of the other nights too).
  • With this chilly weather just a reminder to VSVs in The Lodge to use the radiator, and keep rotating around the palace and gardens (do ask the staff in the shop to cover so you can walk the gardens, have a tea break and go into the palace). Also I think there has been some uncertainty about online tickets being shown at The Lodge for entry. If someone has bought an online ticket please send them to the shop so they can print off a ticket for them.
  • You can nominate ‘The Palace Trust’ in the Movement for Good Awards for a chance for us to win £1000 this December. It only takes a few seconds and the more votes we get, the higher chance we have of winning – so let your family and friends know too!  We are listed ‘Palace Trust’ under heritage & arts. Thanks for your support.
  • There will be a volunteer coffee morning on Dec 20th 10-11:30. This is just a fun social with mince pies!

If you have made it this far, congratulations! I hope you will all enjoy being part of the Christmas celebrations here.

2 November 2023


Just a few bits of news as I am away all next week. It really does feel like autumn here now with us closing at 4pm and those dratted walnuts tumbling down!

  1. The drawing room is now open to the public (although not finished yet). It will become Father Christmas’s grotto in Dec and then in 2024 will be transformed into Bishop Wynn Wilson’s study from the 1930s.
  2. The new Community Engagement Assistant post is now advertised. Please do mention it to any likely candidates you may know, or indeed you may want to apply for it yourself! Here is the link
  3. Christmas celebrations will be a little different this year. There is a choice of two wonderful events: Christmas Sing Along Round the Piano in the Long Gallery as part of a members evening (evening of Tues 12th Dec) or our usual chapel carol service on Mon 18th Dec at 2:30pm (you can bring  a guest to this – warning to wrap up warm as we could see our breath in there last year!) Both will have mulled wine and mince pies. Please can you let me know which one of the two you would like to attend.
  4. Christmas 2024 (that’s next year, not this year!). Due to popular demand, we will be open between Christmas and New Year (days and times to be confirmed).

Many thanks to all of you who have signed up on the rotas lately. It makes such a difference having lots of helpful people around to welcome and inform our visitors. That’s not forgetting everyone else who volunteers here, behind the scenes in the offices, archives, the gardens, family activities, making and maintaining the costumes, and last but not least the maintenance team. We are so fortunate to have an army of volunteers to keep the show on the road here!

23 October 2023

Here is an email from Moira:

Good Afternoon,

I hope you are all well.  I know you have just had a volunteer news email from Siobhan but I thought some of you might be interested to know about a new fixed term role within the Garden Team as Assistant Gardener.  Full details of this role can be found on our website:

This is a 15 hour a week, fixed term position working from 1st January until 31st August 2024.  Applications are being received up until 19th November.

Please do share this exciting role with anyone who might be interested.

With best wishes,


HR Operations Officer

20th October 2023


I am away the early part of next week so I thought I had better send this out now rather than waiting. Autumn has well and truly arrived here. Thank you for sticking with us all year round even when the weather makes life a bit harder for everyone.

  • I hope you have all now had chance to see the new Coronation Room (formerly known as the Panelled Room). The official opening took place on Monday as we had some Royal visitors, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
  • The Drawing Room and East Gallery are having the final touches done now and should be open again to visitors by mid Nov.
  • Would anyone like to help ‘plant’ some of the Somerset Poppies 9-11am on Thurs 2nd Nov out by the front of the arboretum? There are approx. 1500 that we display each year. They were part of a schools project in 2019 to mark the centenary of the First World War. Each poppy represents the life lost of a serviceman from our county. We will need about 4 people to help please (wear rough clothes and bring your gardening gloves – or borrow a pair of ours!) We will also need some helpers to pull them all up again on Thurs 23rd Nov 9-10am please. Do let me know if you can help on either / both of those occasions.
  • Wells Dementia Action Alliance have kindly offered to run a dementia awareness session for our staff and volunteers on Tues 14th Nov 10-11am in the stableyard room. There are 20 places so please let me know asap if you would like to attend. Once you are booked in I will send you a link to a video that you need to watch prior to the session (only 5 mins!) Priority will be given to those who have not already done this before.
  • Next volunteers’ coffee meet up is Sun 12th Nov 2-3:30 in the stableyard room. Hope to see you there. There were about 15 people last time and good fun.
  • This one is mainly for VSVs when you are at The Lodge checking tickets. There is a new joint ticket for groups. If someone shows you one of these please can you ask them to go to the shop as we need to retain the palace stub part of the ticket.

I think that’s about it for this fortnight.

13 October 2023


I know I only emailed you on Monday but now there is more news, all coming up in the next few days. I didn’t want you to miss out!

  •  William Earley’s (VOT team) leaving do will be from 6pm on Thursday, 19th  at The King’s Head, High Street for farewell drinks should anyone wish to join us. I will bring along the card from the volunteer team.
  •  Did anyone accidentally pick up a white wool scarf with fine black embroidery from the coat rack in the Bevy Room on Wednesday this week. If so please return it asap. It has great sentimental value to the person who it belongs to. A reminder to please make sure the Bevy Room door is shut firmly when you leave please to avoid any visitors straying in.
  •  Palace Singers Group – this is a fun singing group, not a choir as such. We will be having our next singing rehearsal with Jill on Tuesday 17th October at 6pm in the palace – either in the Undercroft, or around the piano in the Long Gallery.  Please could everyone arrive by 6pm, as there won’t be anyone on the gates after this time, so you may not be able to get in! Any problems, or if you do get locked out, please call the office number 01749 988111 ext 200. If you would like to attend for the first time please send Lucy a quick email so she knows to expect you. [email protected]

9 October 2023

Hi Everyone,

Well although it is officially autumn it feels more like summer. We had a VERY busy weekend!

  • Just a reminder that there is a volunteer coffee morning in the stableyard room tomorrow morning (Tues) 10-11:30.  I hope you can make it.
  • A few of the radios are not performing very well at the moment so Katy will try and get round to doing a radio audit in the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, please make sure you speak clearly and at a steady pace (it’s really quite hard to hear messages sometimes).  If any need replacing, she will organise that ready for Xmas.
  • William (VOT team staff member) is leaving on 20 Oct. He will be working at Longleat. We wish him well. There is a card from the volunteer team in The Bevy Room. Please do sign it. I am pleased to say that David & Frances (both members of our volunteer team) have been appointed to two temporary posts in the VOT team in the lead up to Christmas.
  • We have a team booked in for the Wells Community Network Quiz Night on Oct 21st in Wells Town Hall. Would you like to be on the team. If so, please let me know asap.
  • Please bear with me while I am covering Janet’s duties now that she has left. We will recruit this side of Christmas with a view to someone starting as soon as possible in the New Year.
  • You are very welcome to come along to the members event this Friday 11-12 noon. It is all about medicinal plants throughout history. Just bring your lanyard with you for a free entry. Useful knowledge to share with our visitors too.
  • There are free copies of the Palace 800 booklet to collect from Bevy Room. These will be especially useful for new volunteers who might like to learn more about our history. They are on the windowsill behind the swan food!
  • And last but not least the cygnets are on the move. At least one has already left and by the time you receive this it may be more. For the first time since I came to work here 8 years ago, I saw one of the cygnets flying over the palace last week!
  • I hope you all get chance to enjoy the sunshine this week. So much for me getting my winter woollies out last week!!

20th September 2023

Apologies for all the emails lately but there is a lot going on. I will keep it as brief as possible.

I am sorry to have to let you all know that Janet Wilkinson, Community Engagement Assistant has handed in her notice and her last working day will be Tues 26th Sept. There will be a card for you to sign in the Bevy Room from 1pm today. We are sorry to see Janet go and we wish her well with her future ventures.

There are number of job vacancies advertised on our website currently, both temporary, part-time and full-time. Please do have a look if you, or someone you know may be interested.

I have had a few questions lately about  the magnificent Maine Coon cat that can be seen strutting around the palace and gardens. His name is Lensky and he is officially a resident now as he belongs to Merryn and her family who now live in the top flat in the palace. He is very friendly.

15 September 2023

Dear Volunteers,

There is a lot of important information below so please have a good read through. Any questions, please do contact me.

Here is the quarterly update from Chair of Trustees Roger Hawes and Merryn Kidd, Interim CEO. Please note this video is only to be viewed by our team and therefore please do not share this link.

Olivia Robson, Visitor Experience Manager, has left the employment of the Trust today, after a decision was taken to end her probation period. An advertisement for this position will go out today. Siobhan will line manage the VSVs and Drawbridge Welcomers until further notice.

A hat trick of social events coming up!

  1. I hope lots of you can join us for a relaxed social for the volunteer team on Sunday evening 17th Sept 5-7:30 on South Terrace. Sandwiches, cake, wine, juice etc will be served. If you haven’t already let Janet know you would like to come then please email [email protected]  We certainly don’t want to run out of cake! Depending on the weather we may go up to the Long Gallery, so if you can knock out a tune on the new piano please do bring along some sheet music as that would make for a jolly occasion. There will be a special presentation to the moat boat crew as they all did so well and went above and beyond the call of duty (pic up in the Bevy Room!)
  2. Then on  Mon 18th Sept 2-3:30 there will be a coffee meet up for volunteers in the stableyard room, everyone welcome. Arrive anytime and stay as long as you like.
  3. Then on Tues 19th there is a members evening with our very own Greg Beedle performing ‘Witty Ditties’ from 6pm. Just bring along your lanyard for free entry. I will be there.

The Palace Singers: meet one Tues each month at 6pm in undercorft. Please contact Lucy  [email protected] if you are interested. It is a fun sing a long, not a formal choir.

Please note that we have updated our Covid Risk Assessment, which is in line with government guidance. There is a copy on the Bevy Room noticeboard and we will put it on volunteer website asap. This includes the following key issues to be aware of:

  • Turn on air filters in cold weather when other ventilation measures will be less effective. We are ordering new air filters for the Visitor Office and Gatehouse.
  • Keep surfaces clear so that cleaning can be carried out more effectively.
  • While masks are not required, anyone who is more comfortable wearing one will be supported.
  • Staff and volunteers are advised not to physically attend workplace and to stay at home and avoid close contact with other people for at least 5 full days if they:
      • have symptoms of a respiratory infection; or
      • have tested positive for Covid-19

Finally here is a message from Bishop Michael:

“I’m writing to you about an important development that’s going to shape the life our Diocese of Bath and Wells during the next year. In the last month, Bishop Ruth has been asked to take on responsibility for the Diocese of Coventry at a time of transition for them. 

The background to this development is that Coventry’s diocesan bishop, Christopher Cocksworth, is moving to take up the role of Dean at Windsor. The suffragan bishop of the diocese, John Stroyan, has just retired.  Together these changes mean that the diocese will be without episcopal oversight. In response, Bishop Ruth has been asked to become Acting Diocesan Bishop for an interim period, whilst a new diocesan bishop is discerned.

Bishop Ruth will remain as Bishop of Taunton but will be seconded for a period of about a year and her focus will be solely on the Diocese of Coventry during this time.  She will stay in Coventry for much of the week although home will remain in Wells, so you may see her about on a day off with Howard!  She will take up this role from November 6th although not move until the 11th and will need your prayers. Interviews for a new Bishop of Coventry are expected to take place next September. This means that Bishop Ruth will be away from us until at least the beginning of 2025.

It is always good when a colleague’s skills, experience and ability are recognised. Bishop Ruth has been asked to undertake this role in Coventry because it is widely understood that she did an excellent job here in Bath and Wells in holding the episcopal interregnum before my arrival. I’m therefore intensely proud that Ruth has been the obvious person for Coventry to turn to. “


I know that is a lot to take in. Thank you for keeping up to date. It is so important that with such a big team working over 14 acres, 7 days a week, we are all up to speed. Can I say a special thank you to all of you who carried on so stoically in that blistering heat last week. Weather like that means we are very busy and all of your support is much appreciated.

25 August 2023

Dear Volunteers,

Fingers crossed for a busy, sunny, fun weekend coming up including the Bowlore Medieval Group and the Moat Boat Race! Here’s the latest news/info:

Please do have a look on our volunteer website regularly. There is up to date info on social events, training, useful forms plus lots of history and general info. Is there anything else you would like us to add to the website? You can access it here  and the password is Volunteer2018.

Bevy Room: I have removed the chain going into the room as we have a lock on the door so it is not necessary (and a right nuisance if you have your hands full!) If you want to leave your belongings in the Bevy Room but don’t lock them in the locker, please could I ask that you just leave them in a bag hanging up on the hooks. This is because locker space is limited and there have been a few days lately where we haven’t had enough vacant lockers. Thank you.

The next safeguarding & induction training session is on 4 Sept 2-4pm SYR. Please let me know if you would like to attend. You are very welcome to come for a refresher even if your training is not ‘out of date’ ie not over 3 years since you did it last.

The Panelled Room and East Gallery will be closed to the public from the 29th August as stage one of our Palace Interpretation Project gets underway. The aim is that they will be closed for September and October, reopening in November just in time for Christmas! There will be a couple of signs placed at each entrance to the panelled room explaining the reason for the closure.

Our new volunteers are now getting started. Please do give them a warm welcome.

Does anyone have access to Find My Past website? Would you be able to download 1921 census data on residents of Bishop’s Palace and gatehouse and email to [email protected] please? Rosemary is carrying out some research at the moment and would find this very useful, and save her a lot of hassle signing up for a free trial etc

A reminder to speak to your line manager if you have any concerns or questions. If for whatever reason that is not possible please do speak to me. We do pride ourselves on being a supportive place to work and volunteer.

Every Monday morning in Sept there will be a Nature Connections course running in the gardens. This is for people living with dementia and their carers. We are doing this as part of the ENLIVEN Project   with Exeter University. Please do read more about it.

I can hardly believe we are nearly in to Sept. The summer has flown by!

8th August 2023

Dear Volunteers,

The sun is out at last! Well we have waited long enough. (In fact, since starting this email yesterday, now the rain is back – so frustrating at what should be our busiest time of the year)

  •  Please give your name at The Lodge (ticket gate) as we are recording who is coming in using their lanyard ie when they are not volunteering, just visiting. We do this periodically just to make sure there aren’t any old rogue lanyards out there! Equally if you are on duty at The Lodge please can you record the names of people coming in using their lanyard.
  •  Would you like to help on our stall at the Moat Boat Race on bank holiday Monday at the end of the month? Approx 11am-5pm. There will be some set up at the start and the end of the day. The sessions will be 11-1 / 1-3 / 3-5 or you can do all day if you wish! Just let Siobhan know what suits you. It will be a fun event and we will have fun games and prizes for people to do on our stall.
  •  Please spread the word about the Flower Festival taking place here 10-13 Aug. More info at
  • We are going to give a monthly coffee morning for volunteers a try again. I think the last time we tried it was just after COVID and many of you were reluctant to come to social events. So here are the dates up until Christmas Mon 18 Sept 2-3:30, Tues 10 Oct 10-11:30, Sun 12 Nov 2-3:30 and Wed 20 Dec 10-11:30.  If there is a decent turn out, and you are enjoying it, we can continue after the new year. It is purely social, just for friendship. If anyone can think of a catchy name for it please do let me know. This will be a great way to meet volunteers who you don’t usually get to see and also to meet our new volunteers. No need to RSVP, just show up at the Stableyard Room.
  • Thanks to those of you who responded with ideas for a late summer social event. On Sun 17th Sept 5-7:30 we will have some fun and games (or just a quiet chat together) on the South lawn and South Terrace. There will be food and drink and, weather permitting, a chance to soak up the sun in a rather beautiful setting while enjoying each other’s company. If you enjoy playing the piano please do bring along some sheet music in case we need to retreat indoors if the heavens open. We can try out the new piano. RSVP to [email protected]  (including any dietary requirements).
  • Today was the grand opening of the new community garden gate. This will mean visiting groups, particularly to the community garden, will have parking and easier and quicker access.
  • Have you seen the new menu in The Bishop’s Table yet? Do familiarise yourself with it as visitors often ask.

I am away for a few days now but will be back in on Monday. I hope you are all getting a chance for a holiday / break / change of scenery too.

25th July 2023

Dear Volunteers,

I hope you’ve all had chance to see the new coronation exhibition in the East Gallery by now. Some very special items including Bishop Michael’s prompt cards used for King Charles at the coronation.

  • We are currently updating the volunteer strategy and volunteer policies. Would you like to be involved in this process? If so I can send you the drafts for your comments or you can come along to a workshop on Fri 4th Aug 2:30-4:30 in the stableyard room. Please get in touch if you are interested by 28th July so I can get the docs out to you in plenty of time.
  • You may have noticed a very handsome cat around the palace and gardens lately. This is Lensky, the Maine Coon cat belonging to the family who now live in the flat above the Long Gallery.
  • The new food & beverage offer ‘The Bishop’s Brew’ is proving very popular, in the old horsebox in the free area. The Apple Store, for cold refreshments, is open 12-4 on sunny days.
  • There are some new job vacancies listed on our website, mainly for catering. Please spread the word.
  • We are advertising for some new VSVs and welcomers. Again please spread the word if you know someone who would like to join our friendly team. They can contact Janet directly, pick up an info pack from the shop or come along to an info session 10-11 on 31st Jul in the stableyard room.
  • Janet is planning a volunteer social for the end of Sept. This will be a good chance for the new volunteers to get to know everyone and everyone else to catch up too. Please let Janet know what kind of thing you would like [email protected] We have a number of afternoon teas this year and a quiz so any novel suggestions welcome.
  • And finally a reminder that if you haven’t volunteered for over 6 months that you need to do a refresher before returning. Please contact your line manager. For those who go beyond 6 months without getting in touch, we will assume you are no longer able to volunteer. Janet will be in touch with you in the coming weeks.
  • Safeguarding training on Mon 7 Aug 3-4pm (prompt start please) in the stableyard room. Please come along if you haven’t done safeguarding training in the last 3 years. Please check with Janet if you are not sure.
  • In September we finally get our Palace Interpretation Development underway. It’s been a long time coming Jill Francis our specialist decorator will be spending the whole of September in the Panelled Room to give it a much-needed makeover! However, it is a huge job, and if any volunteers would be willing to lend a hand it would be much appreciated! Mon-Fri throughout September, anytime to suit you between 10am-3pm.

This is our busiest time of year so thank you for pulling out all the stops to make the visitor experience as appealing as possible. I must give a special mention to Fiona who has single handedly transformed the dressing up offer over the last year. I rarely walk past there without seeing someone having some fun!

24 June 2023

Afternoon Everyone,

I can hear the birds twittering as I write this email and there are currently 95 people in the gardens celebrating Refugee Week with a picnic in the sunshine. Many are from Ukraine and Syria. The event is being organised by the Wells Hub. Onto more practical matters now:

  •  I will start with sad news I am afraid. As many of you may be aware, Barry Frapwell, a dear member of our team,  passed away three weeks ago. His funeral will be on Thurs 13th July. If you would like to attend and pay your respects please contact Siobhan as they need to know numbers of people attending.
  • Please click this link to see our Interim Chief Executive, Merryn Kidd, interviewing our Chair of Trustees, Roger Hawes.
  • A new 3 hr slot will be added on supersaas in the coming week for VSVs on our busiest days. This will be 11:30-2:30. We will see how it works out over the next few weeks. Let us know what you think. This will not affect those who want to stick to their usual slot.
  • The cygnets are doing well, and at least one of them can now ring the bell. They are called Bonnie, Billie, Charlie, Snowdrop and Floella.
  • At long last the shop is back in action. Do go and have a look. Aswell as selling tickets there is a nice selection of souvenirs. The horsebox will be repurposed over the next couple of weeks for takeaway refreshments in the free area. The Apple Store is now open 12-4 for refreshments (please check when you come on duty if it is open that day as it does depend on staff availability). For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it is out in the formal gardens. A really pleasant spot for an ice cream, glass of wine etc. Do go and have a look. It is not doing hot drinks at the moment as we don’t have a water supply to it.
  • Wellbeing and Meditation Taster session on Mon 3 July 4:15-5:15. This is a free taster session being run by Jason from Wells Hypnotherapy. If you would like to come and try it there are 10 places and you will need to book with Siobhan before 29 June. We will be asking for your feedback. Jason may well go on to run a regular wellbeing course later on this summer.
  • Ever wondered what is up the staircase at the end of the Bevy Room? All will be revealed on Thurs 20 July 2-3pm. It is basically offices and storage but we haven’t been able to show you up until now as we didn’t have a stair rail! If you want to have a peep I will meet you in The Bevy Room. No need to book!! The stairs are very tricky so please wear stout footwear and be confident of your footing.
  • A reminder that there is sun cream in the Bevy Room. In this roasting weather please do take breaks as you need them.
  • We have a pair of cards for both Historic Houses and RHS Gardens. This entitles you and a guest to free entry. If you would like to borrow the cards please book them out with Moira Anderson [email protected]  in the Brewery Office. It is a good way to learn about our partner gardens (Forde Abbey for example) and also local heritage attractions that you can recommend to our visitors.

We have about 15 new volunteers. Please introduce yourselves and I know you will make them welcome. They are doing Palace Welcoming, Drawbridge Welcoming, Archives, Floristry and Visitor Services Volunteer roles. We will be recruiting more over the summer.

7 June 2023

Dear Volunteers,

It is National Volunteers’ Week so I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for being such a fantastic team, for your loyalty and commitment. It is a pleasure to work with you all. Across the UK around 16% of the population volunteer. That’s down from 23% in 2019. So thank you for sticking with us and making this place so hospitable and unique.

We will be celebrating with afternoon tea in the undercroft and on the South Terrace on Wed 7th from 3:30pm so I do hope to see lots of you then. We are expecting over 100 people from various voluntary groups across the city.

  •  If you are interested in being on our team for The Moat Boat Race on Bank Holiday Monday in August please contact [email protected] . It’s lots of fun and the raft has already been built so the hard part is done!
  •  The cygnets have been named. Quite an eclectic mix this year!: Snowdrop, Bonnie, Charlie, Floella, & Billie.
  •  A reminder to please sign in and out in the Bevy Room when you are on duty. It is important we know who is on site so we can tot up the hours contributed by volunteers. The code to the door is C1267Y.
  •  A message from Greg Beedle (Head of Finance & HR) regarding a choir: We would like to gauge how much interest there is for setting up a choir among the staff and volunteers here at the Palace. A group was starting to form earlier this year, but that was put on hold temporarily. Now seems like a good time to start things up again. If you’d like to join in, do please respond to Lucy  ([email protected] ) who will collate a list of interested people. Everyone is welcome – there is no prerequisite level of ability or prior experience.

Best Wishes


24 May

Dear Volunteers,

I am afraid I must start with some sad news. Our former colleague, Allen Stockel passed away last week. He worked here for many years and was particularly well known to the maintenance volunteers. We have sent a card on behalf of us all to his family.

Now I must apologise because in my last email I made a typo in Janet’s email address for you to RSVP about the Volunteer Tea Party on 7th June 3:30-5:30. This is a Wells wide celebration of all our volunteers and we are very proud to be hosting it and working with Wells Community Network. National Volunteers Week is 1-7 June. Please let us know if you would like to join us. RSVP to  [email protected] (we don’t want to run out of cake!).

Our new partner garden is The Garden House in Devon. Please have a look at their website . All our members (not annual admission ticket holders) get half price entry to our partner gardens.

To mark National Carers Week (5-12 June), The Bishop’s Palace is hosting a talk by Deborah Penny from Somerset Council “Think Carer” on June 5th, 2023 from 1pm to 3pm. This interactive session is designed for those in Somerset who are not currently caring for someone in an unpaid capacity, but are interested in supporting individuals and communities to think about the caring role.

Did you know that 1 in 5 people in the UK become unpaid carers during their lifetime? This talk will help you recognize what’s important in your life, understand the potential impact of caring for someone, and explore ways to prepare for the future. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn more!

This is a free event, but there are limited spaces. Please book your space by contacting [email protected]

The People’s Jubilee Exhibition in the East Gallery has now finished and coming in its place is a Coronation Exhibition in mid June.

We are recruiting for new volunteers, so if you know someone who you think might enjoy welcoming visitors around our wonderful Palace and Gardens please ask them to contact [email protected]

And lastly to say that now the sun is out, visitors numbers are increasing rapidly and we are open longer hours, thank you for all your hard work. I don’t know about you, but I have quite a spring in my step at the moment!

Best Wishes


11 May 2023

Dear Volunteers,

There is a lot of news this time so please have a careful read through:

  • Our Volunteers’ Week Celebration will be on Wed 7 June 3:30-5:30 RSVP to [email protected]  (with any special dietary requirements). Invitation attached. This year we will share our celebration with other volunteers in Wells.
  • New guide rota up now until August and the VSV rota will be updated from this Sunday evening for Jul & Aug.
  • You will no doubt have noticed that Bishop Michael wasn’t wearing what we refer to as ‘The Coronation Cope’ on Saturday. This was because others in the matching set were not in good enough repair to be worn sadly. The ones they wore were borrowed. There will be a new exhibition upstairs from next month all about the coronation. If you have any spare copies of newspaper / magazines relating to the coronation please do bring them in for the attention of Katy Love.
  • New books with info in about the Bishops’ portraits have been ordered and will be in the Long Gallery shortly. In the meantime all the easels have been removed as they were blocking the view of the portraits. I think you will agree it looks much better. We will also have place settings at the Long Gallery table for different Bishops, with a pithy sentence about each of them. Many thanks to Lynda for her work on this.
  • A reminder about a farewell to Rosey Lunn, our Palace Pastor at 4:30pm on Tues 30 May RSVP to [email protected]  please if you haven’t already. We will decide the venue a few days beforehand but it will be on site here so if in doubt just come to the ticket office on the day and ask! I have left a leaving card for Rosey on the table in the Bevy Room for you to sign.
  • There are plans to install a turnstile system by the ticket entry point later on this summer. We still want to give our visitors a warm welcome though, so rest assured those volunteers who are currently at The Lodge will still be needed.
  • Would you like to try a new volunteer role? See attached role descriptions. These will be in two hour sessions and will involve welcoming our visitors on either the drawbridge or inside the palace building. There will be a training session on Mon 22nd May in the stableyard room from 3-5pm. Please let [email protected]  know if you are interested or contact me if you have any questions.
  • There will be an induction and safeguarding session from 2-4pm on Thurs 25 May in the stableyard room. You are welcome to come along if you want a refresher or if you still need to update your training. Please book your place with [email protected]
  • Apple Store. You may have spotted someone mending the roof this week. This is in preparation for a new outlet planned for there later on next month serving cold drinks, snacks and souvenirs. It should provide a lovely spot for visitors to get some refreshments in the gardens.
  • The cathedral has informed us about an interesting free event coming up. Please click the link if you are interested in Medieval Gardens

Best Wishes

Siobhan Goodwin

2 May 2023

Dear Volunteers,

Wonderful news: Janet Wilkinson started as our new Community Engagement Assistant today. She will have a lot to do with the volunteer team. Please do say hello when you see her around. She will generally be working Sun / Mon / Tues.

I am pleased to report that five fluffy cygnets hatched last week.  The big ‘cygnet’ is still hanging around unfortunately but hopefully it will fly off soon. Gabriel doesn’t seem very impressed by its presence!

Do keep an eye out for Bishop Michael on Saturday morning on your TV screen. He will be standing to the left of King Charles at his coronation. There will be a fun day on cathedral green on Sun 7th. Do come and see us at our stall. We will be offering dressing up (copes, mitres and croziers amongst other things) and a ‘treasure hunt’.

And finally, with Dementia Action Week 2023 coming up 15-21 May, please take a few minutes to follow this link and complete a 5 min awareness video to become a Dementia Friend:  We keep a record of everyone who is a dementia friend so do let me know if you complete it. It is important to us that as many people in our team as possible are able to understand what living with dementia can be like, so that we make visiting The Bishop’s Palace the best possible experience for our visitors.

Best Wishes


Message from the Chair of Trustees, 2 May 2023

To all staff and volunteers

On behalf of the Trustees I wanted to share a few thoughts with you. First we want to acknowledge how unsettling the last few months (and probably longer) have been for all of you and to thank you for your patience, hard work and commitment. We have seen significant staff changes this year and our heartfelt thanks go to all who have served the Trust so well over the years and we welcome the recent new joiners into our ranks and wish them well.

 I’m sure I speak for all of us in saying what a privilege it is to work in such beautiful surroundings and how, if we work together as a team under the capable direction of Merryn, we can achieve stability, commercial success and better communication in 2023. We can then work on making the Palace and grounds even more inviting for the future.

We want to focus on delivery and avoid promising too much and delivering too little which perhaps has been a fault of the past. The Trustees meet next month on the 25th and if anyone wishes to raise anything with us please do contact me. Merryn and I will update you afterwards to appraise you of any key decisions taken at that meeting.

And finally, here’s to a sustained period of dry weather!

 Best wishes


3 April 2023

Greetings from a fresh, sunbathed Bishop’s Palace. Spring is most definitely in the air!

  • We are currently recruiting for a new Community Engagement Assistant (Emma was unable to take up the post after all). Please spread the word, or apply yourself!
  • Please click here for the results and actions from the 2022 volunteer survey. I get the impression from some of the comments that perhaps some of you are not very familiar with the volunteer website. A lot of work goes in to keeping this relevant and up to date. Please do have a good look around it and also regularly keep up to date with the main website . Here is the link to the volunteer website which is accessed through the volunteering page on our main website , and click the ‘click here’ button at the top of the page and the password is Volunteer2018  . As an incentive the first 3 people to email the answer to any of the following questions will receive a beautiful terracotta tile, a replica of a ceiling boss of four dragons in the chapel.

Q1: When is Laura’s last day?

Q2: What colour jacket is Roger Hawes, Chair of Trustees, wearing in his photograph?

Q3: In the training section, where are we going on 17th April?

  • Swan Update: There are now 7 Eggs in nest and still one cygnet hanging around on Palace Green looking pretty sorry for itself!
  • A moment of reflection from one of our team: Cup of tea while on duty. After chatting to one visitor at the ‘Lodge’ he went into the cafe and then delivered a cup of tea to me as he left. It was cold but I think it was more by way of a tip than feeling sorry for me. After all, warm drinks awaited me in the bevy room and I could always get warm in the palace. It made me think as this was the first time someone has bought a drink for me in those circumstances and made me feel a bit awkward. It can be as difficult to receive a gift or compliment as to give it.
  •  Farewell Tea Party, for our volunteers to say goodbye to Rosey Lunn our Palace Pastor, will be in the Undercroft at 4:30pm on Tues 30th May. Please let me know if you are planning on coming by 15th April.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter time if I don’t see you before.

Best Wishes


22 March 2023

Greetings. I know I only emailed you all last week but there is lots of important news you need to know about.

Jan Wallwork-Clarke, our Chief Executive has resigned and her last day will be tomorrow Thurs 23rd March. She will be moving out of the gatehouse over the next three weeks so you may still see her around if you would like to say goodbye.

  •  We had the annual volunteer briefing on Monday afternoon. There were fewer people than usual and I wonder if this was because I hadn’t sent out a reminder. In any event if you would like to catch up with what was shared please visit the volunteer website and under ‘Training’ you can find the powerpoint from the session . Please also look at the Training & Talks programme (to be found in the Training section of the website) in case you want to sign up for upcoming talks and tours including Garden Tour, visit to Mendip Hospital Cemetery and a Water Courses Walk. To book your place please email [email protected] .
  •  Visitor Reception Building: this is no longer going ahead as planned. The ticket office will be located back in the shop (ie at the far end of the café) in June. The costs were prohibitive to have a new building and with the new changes in the café this move made more sense. Exactly what happens at entrance gate next to The Lodge (shed!) is yet to be decided. We will be in touch with VSVs soon to ask their views and also to discuss some new roles that will be happening this summer season.
  •  The conference on Wells & Transatlantic Slavery went very well last week. Here is a link to a radio interview on BBC Somerset with one of the speakers, Prof James Clarke (about 28 mins in)  There is a self-guided trail map to historic sites linking Wells to British Slavery. We have copies here and they are also at the museum and cathedral. The new website with all the information on, including recordings of speakers at the conference, will be available from the start of April .
  •  Rosey Lunn, our Palace Pastor will be leaving at the end of May. She would like to have a farewell tea with all the volunteers so please pencil in Tues 30 May and I will be in touch nearer the time.
  •  From next week I will leave a farewell card for you to sign for Laura as her last day is 18th April.

We are sorry to see valued colleagues leaving but we wish them well with their new ventures.

Best Wishes

Siobhan Goodwin

15 March 2023


I’m back! 3 weeks off (more or less) so it was great to get back to work feeling fully rested! Hope you are all enjoying the signs of Spring, daffodils, primroses and sunshine. Long may it last.

  •  I am afraid I need to let you know that Maisie died last week, peacefully here at the Palace. See attached prayer that was read out at her burial (in a quiet, private, spot in the gardens).
  •  Unfortunately the new Community Engagement Assistant who was due to start on Sunday has had to pull out from taking up the post. We will recruit again in the coming days / weeks.
  •  All the senior managers have been asked to offer annual reviews to their volunteer teams over the next few weeks. These aren’t compulsory but they are a good chance to just see how things are going, iron out any issues that may have come up and celebrate your achievements.
  •  Guides – the rota for spring is up on supersaas. Group bookings are started to come in (the first is on 24th March) so please keep an eye out for these. There is a spare slot for tomorrow (Thurs 16th too) if anyone is free.
  •  Laura’s last day will be 18th April and she will be in touch with info on her leaving do (that evening) but I thought it would be useful to have the date pencilled in.
  •  Well done to the Quiz Team who represented us at the WCN Quiz Night in Wells Town Hall. A fun night was had by all and a very respectable 4th place! It is so good for us to be taking part in community events. Would anyone like to represent us at The Memory Walk (attached) on Sun 26th March? There is no entry fee but donations are encouraged. We are supporting the event as it leaves from here, Bishop Michael is opening the event, and they are using the stableyard room for registrations. I will be taking part.

Best Wishes

Siobhan Goodwin

16 February 2023

    Hi Everyone,

    Very busy half term week here, sun shining, lots of happy visitors and busy staff and volunteers! Thanks for going the extra mile to make our visitors’ experience really special.

    •  A reminder to please keep up to date with things on the volunteer website (can be accessed through the volunteering page on The Bishop’s Palace website using password Volunteer2018 ) and to regularly look at the main website too. There’s so much going on I can’t pass it all on through this newsletter.
    • Sunglasses found (rather nice ones too) after the talk in the stableyard room on 30 Jan . Felt notebook left on 16 Feb. If you think they are yours please contact Laura on [email protected]
    •  On 16 March there is a conference about The Transatlantic Trade in Enslaved People and links to Wells. Please see attached poster. If you would like to attend on behalf of The Bishop’s Palace please contact [email protected] as we have booked a few places for our team. Anyone can attend for free online (see poster). A new document has been added to the Bishop’s page of the volunteer website. The Bishops of Bath and Wells and their links to the Transatlantic Slave Trade. A presentation was recently given to volunteers, as part of the 2023 training programme, on the historic background to the transatlantic trade in enslaved people and our bishops’ links to this. The talk presented the information we have uncovered during research over the last two years. The research was part of a wider initiative across the whole of the city looking into its links to this trade. Some of this research will be presented at the conference.
    • Wells Dementia Action Alliance are organising a Memory Walk leaving from The Bishop’s Palace on 26 March. A poster will shortly appear on our noticeboard in the stableyard room with full details of how to join in.
    • If you are interested in helping out with our archives then please contact  [email protected] . Katy started as our new Property Manager last month and has experience of archive work so is keen to get work on our archive going again.
    • There are a number of job vacancies on our website including Visitor Experience Manager and Café Supervisor. Please do pass on to anyone you know who may be interested.
    • There are exciting things happening over at the cathedral relating to Vicars’ Close. If you fancy getting involved please see the attached invitation.
    • Gabriel is prepping the nest, cygnets have been flying away, and yes, one did end up in the loading bay at Tesco….!
    • In case you are wondering what is happening about our planned new visitor reception…… is going on behind the scenes to make sure this goes ahead as soon as possible.
    • Last but not least, I am going to be on holiday from tomorrow until 10 March so if there is something urgent please contact your line manager or if you are a guide (as I am your line manager) please contact Laura Richards.

    I hope all the daffs will be out by the time I get back and Spring will well and truly be underway.

    Best Wishes

    Siobhan Goodwin

    27 January 2023


      I’ll keep it short and sweet (for a change!)

      • Staff update: Laura Richards will be leaving at the end of April and we wish her well and thank her for being an outstanding member of the team. Katy Love (Property Manager) & Steve Tuff (Assistant Visitor Experience Manager) joined us this month so please introduce yourself. Last but not least, we have appointed a new Community Engagement Assistant, Emma Parslow who will start mid-March.  I am really looking forward to working with her and I think she will be a great asset to our team. Thank you to Pam and Birina who helped with the interview process.
      • A little reminder to please print your name clearly on the signing in sheet in the Bevy Room. It can be hard for Carol to read otherwise!
      • A message from Jo in the community garden: During our first Nature Ninjas of the year in Feb half term we are going to be making dream catchers out of willow/sticks and bits of remnant fabric. I need donations of brightly coloured soft fabric remnants, ribbon and coloured wool – the brighter the better and if you have any soft netting/tulle/organza etc that would be great. If you happen to have any spare beads with large holes that would also be great. If you could give donations to the Ticket Office that would be fantastic or if you have a large amount of stuff drop me a line and I’ll sort something else out. By Feb 10 please
      • And lastly I have attached a poster for a concert at Wells Cathedral.

      12 January 2023

        Hi Everyone,

        Firstly may I wish you a happy and healthy 2023. A busy start to the year so there is quite a bit of info below even though we are only into the second week of January. So without further ado………

        • We are also recruiting new trustees. Please can you share this with any of your networks and pass onto anyone you think maybe interested in applying.  The website link is:
        • Volunteer Training, Talks & Tours 2023. Please find the schedule attached. It will be slightly different this year as from 1 March the stableyard room will be used as a ticket office until the new visitor reception building is completed. So in March and April we will do mainly tours and in Jan & Feb we will make good use of the room. Places are limited and it will be first come first served so please book in with Lucy asap (info on schedule about how to do this)
        • Jan and Roger (our Chief Executive and the Chair of Trustees respectively) are now creating a quarterly video to keep everyone up to date on the work of The Palace Trust. This link went live on our YouTube channel a few days ago so please tune in.
        • Thank you to everyone who completed the volunteer survey. I will send on a summary of the results and action points separately. The overall picture was a very positive one. Lucy Fleming, our admin assistant will be in touch with the lucky winners whose names were ‘drawn out the hat’ for a prize.
        • Jan, our Chief Executive, has come up with the wonderful idea of starting a Palace Trust Choir. Please see her message below and contact her directly if you are interested at [email protected] :  I’ve been thinking about setting up a workplace choir, made up of all sections of our team. This is purely for the benefit of getting together in an activity that would bring us together, be creative and possibly quite fun. There are many benefits of singing for pleasure especially for well-being. So, it won’t be competitive or anything. Initially looking for a show of hands from those who would be interested. Then I’ll think about more details like how often, when, where, etc. Thanks, Jan
        • There is a Quiz Night on Friday 24th February, 7pm, Wells Town Hall with all proceeds going to Wells Community Network. We have been part of this network for almost 3 years and they do fantastic work in our community. It would be great if we could have a team there on the night. If you would like to take part please let me know. We will cover the cost for the team and you will be taking part as ambassadors for The Palace Trust. I won’t be able to make it because I am away on holiday. It is good for The Palace Trust to support community endeavours beyond our drawbridge. So if you know of something that we could get involved in please give me a shout.