Master’s Weekend in Wells
Over the weekend of 27 – 29 September a group of 21 members of the Company and their partners joined me on a trip to the wonderful City of Wells where my brother in law, Peter, is the present Bishop of Bath and Wells.
After introductions over a glass of wine in the Crown Hotel, Bishop Peter took us on a short walk to get our bearings and provide our first view of the magnificent west end of the cathedral. With the sun setting, it made the perfect backdrop for our first ‘team photo’ of the weekend! From there we made our way to the north side of the cathedral where we entered the building from the magnificent Vicars Close, reputedly the oldest residential street in Europe with its original buildings remaining intact.
Dinner was served in Vicars Hall, built in 1348, but before this, drinks were served in the Chapter House. Spurred on by the remarkable acoustics in this ancient meeting place, Upper Warden Melissa Scott gave an impromptu recital which was greatly enjoyed by all.
Over the next two days we learnt about scissor arches and medieval trumpet holes, the famous Cope Chest and the heavily turned Abbot’s chair. We admired the bishop’s portraits from the 15th century to the present day and marvelled at the extraordinary cathedral clock, thought to be the second oldest in the UK. Some of us undertook the High Parts tour with its behind the scenes views of the cathedral, the remainder taking a tour of the Chained Library with books dating back to the 15th Century. We then re-joined for tours of the Bishop’s Palace, the ruined Great Hall and the gardens. Evensong in the Quire on Saturday afternoon was greatly enjoyed, as was the Sung Eucharist, with full Cathedral Choir, on Sunday. At both services we were warmly greeted by the Dean and I was honoured to read one of the lessons. At the invitation of Bishop Peter and Jane, dinner on Saturday evening was held in the dining room of the Palace, the food being prepared and served by members of the Connect Centre, a charity that helps people, young and old, to participate in the local community.
It was an immensely enjoyable weekend and a wonderful opportunity to spend time together away from London. I am deeply indebted to my sister Jane and Bishop Peter for their hospitality and for the time they were able to give us. I was delighted to present them with a bowl turned by Register of Professional Turners (RPT) chairman, John Boyne Aitken, as a thank you for all that they had done to ensure the weekend was such a success.
Andrew Sindall, Master
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