Roland Turner

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Wells, Somerset, United Kingdom

I'm not entirely sure what we did for most of today. I know that we did visit Wells and see the single most astonishing feature we saw in any of the cathedrals that we visited, but the rest of the day is a bit of a mystery.

Unfortunately, for 'Copyright' purposes (which is to say, revenue enhancement purposes), visitors are not permitted to photograph the inside of the cathederal without laying down 2 pounds for a permit, so I'll describe it and suggest that you visit if you wish to see it. In short, suppose you need to support a particularly heavy tower at the centre of your cathedral, but wish to maintain a high ceiling? There are limits to how tall you can make a gothic arch, but if you stack one arch atop an inverted arch atop a normal arch, you'll cover the vertical displacement, sustain strength and produce something unique that your competitor down the road can't easily copy. The result is the 'pair of scissors' at the centre of the cathedral's nave; it's quite impressive. The Chapter House (its primary purpose is to house a large octagonal Chamber with bench seating around the edges for the canons to meet in - it has been claimed that the name stems from the practice of reading a chapter of the Bible at meetings) is also impressive. Particularly whilst climbing the broad, worn stone stairs to the Chamber, I found myself thinking 'this looks just like that Quake II level'...

Near one end of the cathedral is Vicars' Close, allegedly the oldest continuously inhabited (and apart from the extending of chimney stacks at one point, unmodified) street in Europe; it has apparently been in its current form since the 14th century.