Hidden Past Revealed at The Bishop’s Palace

27th July - 15th August


The heatwave that has swept the nation since June has had a very revealing effect on the Gardens of The Bishop’s Palace in Wells.

Following over six weeks of very dry weather, and Head Gardener James Cross’ decision to save resources by not watering the lawns at the Palace, the famous South Lawn has turned from a verdant green to a parched, beige version of its former glory, with very interesting consequences.

In the last few days, some strange patterns have begun to appear, leading researchers to open the archives to investigate what could have caused the curious angles and designs to be revealed.

A very clear L-shape is now evident on one side of the lawn, which, when viewed in conjunction with John Carters’ 1790’s Map of Wells, is clearly the outline of a former Dutch-style canal feature, thought to have been laid out in the 17th century. These Gardens were thought to have been re-designed in 1820’s by Bishop Law who preferred the Picturesque style which was popular in Victorian times.

Jonathan Sawyer, Development Project Manager at the Palace says “The Palace site is steeped in history. We know that people were drawn to the Well pools in our gardens as far back as the Bronze Age, so it is so exciting when new stories emerge in exceptional circumstances like this hot, dry spell. The Gardeners may not enjoy it, but it all adds to our understanding of this beautiful site!”

Anyone wanting to see the Gardens in their current state can visit daily between 10am-6pm - please check our opening times here for details of closure for private events

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