Bath and Wells, Somerset

Historical Description

Bath and Wells, a diocese comprehending all Somerset except the ancient parishes of Abbots Leigh and Bedminster, in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, and parts of the ecclesiastical parishes of Maiden Bradley and Stourton, in the diocese of Salisbury. The see sprang from a college at Wells, founded in 704 by King Ina; was constituted there, in 905, by Edward the Elder; was removed to Bath in the time of William Rufus, by John de Villula; was for some time designated of Bath only, and altogether administered there; but in the 13th century, after long contention, was reconstituted of both Bath and Wells, with cathedral at each. It numbers among its bishops Lord Chancellor Bumell, Lord Treasurer De la March, Viceroy Drokensford, Lord Keeper Beckington, Lord Chancellor Stillington, Cardinals de Castello and Wolsey, Henry VIII.'s confidant Clerk, President Bourne, Montague, Laud, Ken, and Baron Auckland. The bishop's palace is at Wells. The dignitaries and officials are a dean, four canons, three archdeacons, a sub-dean, a chancellor of the diocese, a chancellor of the church, a treasurer, forty-four prebendaries, and three minor canons. The income of the bishop is £5000; of the dean, £1000; and of the foul-resident canons, £600 each. The diocese is divided into the archdeaconries of Wells, Bath, and Taunton. Population of the diocese, 429,608.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5

Church Records

Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.