For our latest Curiosity of the Week, we take you to the cathedral city of Wells in Somerset. Come with us to Vicars’ Close…
Vicars’ Close is an undeniably pretty street, close to Wells Cathedral. But this little street has a unique and slightly quirky claim to fame. It claims to be the oldest residential street in Europe. It is said to be the only complete Medieval street left in the UK.
These remarkable residences were built more than 650 years ago, in the 14th century, providing homes for the Cathedral choir, the Vicars Coral (hence the street name). And the street is still home to choir members today.
All of the buildings are, understandably, Grade I listed and line the lovely old stone street on both sides. The distinct tall chimneys were added to the houses at a later date, but now add to the character of the picture perfect rows along the close.
The street is made up of 27 dwellings, a Chapel, and Vicars’ Hall, which contains a lovely stone archway connecting it to St Andrew Street.
Wells itself is the smallest (free-standing) city in England, and has held its city status since medieval times.
If you are thinking of visiting Vicars’ Close, be sure to try out its other quirky claim to fame. It is said that if you stand at one end of the street (nearest the Cathedral) the close looks very short; but stand at the other end of the street (near the Chapel) and the close looks much longer. Try it for yourself!
We are always on the lookout for interesting customs, hidden places, and unique buildings and landmarks, to share with our readers. If you have an idea for Curiosity of the Week then please do get in touch, we welcome suggestions from everyone. You can contact us by emailing [email protected] or send us a message via Facebook.