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    03 February 2022

    Wells Almshouse Book Release

    Wells Almshouse Book Release

    The history of Wells Old Almshouse has never been written – until now. On 2nd February 2022, the launch of a new book by Jean Imray on this subject took place at the City of Wells Almshouses.

    Jean Imray, a former Wells City Archivist and a Trustee of Wells & Mendip Museum, spent many years researching this detailed book. At the time of her death in 2015, she was close to completing it. A number of her former friends and colleagues felt that it would be a fitting tribute to her to ensure that the work was published. Accordingly, three of them have edited the book and prepared it for print. It is being published by Wells & Mendip Museum and the printed copies are being funded largely by the Wells Local History Workshop (of which Jean was an active member), along with Wells City Council and Wells & Mendip Museum.

    Most towns and cities across England had almshouses to provide shelter and sustenance for elderly residents who were no longer able to support themselves properly. The first almshouse in the small cathedral city of Wells in Somerset was founded in 1436 under the will of Bishop Nicholas Bubwith for twenty-four residents. That number was augmented by six in 1615 under the will of Bishop John Still and by a further four in 1777 under the will of Bishop Edward Willes. These together formed what is known as Wells Old Almshouse. They and other Wells almshouses were brought together in 2004 to form the City of Wells Almshouses.

    Dr Julia Wood, Wells City Archivist, said before the event, “We are very excited that the launch will be taking place in the original guildhall of Bishop Bubwith’s medieval Almshouse building. It is also extremely fitting that those present will include the Dean of Wells Cathedral and the Mayor and Town Clerk of Wells City Council. They will represent the historical link of the Cathedral and the City Council with Wells Old Almshouse - the Dean & Chapter and the City Corporation jointly administered Wells Old Almshouse from its foundation in 1436”.

    The illustrated book, entitled Wells Old Almshouse, has been released in two formats. There are a limited number of printed deposit copies plus a PDF release. The bound deposit copies are being donated to eight libraries and archives (including Wells City Library, Wells & Mendip Museum Library, Wells City Archives and the Somerset Studies Library) and to the City of Wells Almshouses. The PDF version was also launched on 2nd February and is available for download for free from Wells & Mendip Museum’s website (https://www.wellsmuseum.org.uk/). In this way Jean Imray’s text and research are being made freely available.

    ‘© Kevin Westwood 1’

    Stuart Andrews (L., Honorary Librarian of Wells & Mendip Museum and personal friend of Jean Imray) presents Jean’s book to Charles Cain (R., Chair of Board of Trustees, City of Wells Almshouses)

    Photo © Kevin Westwood

    ‘© Kevin Westwood 2’

    (L. to R.)

    The Very Reverend Dr John Davies DL, Dean of Wells Cathedral

    Charles Cain, Chair of Board of Trustees, City of Wells Almshouses

    Councillor Philip Welch, Mayor of Wells

    ‘© Kevin Westwood 3’

    (L. to R.)

    Reg Hemmings, representative of the residents of the City of Wells Almshouses

    Dr Julia Wood, Wells City Archivist, Wells City Council

    Sue Isherwood, Chair of Board of Trustees, Wells & Mendip Museum

    The Very Reverend Dr John Davies DL, Dean of Wells Cathedral

    Charles Cain, Chair of Board of Trustees, City of Wells Almshouses

    Councillor Philip Welch, Mayor of Wells

    David Walker, Honorary Curator, Wells & Mendip Museum

    Stuart Andrews, Honorary Librarian, Wells & Mendip Museum

    Victoria Northwood, Search and Learn Project Officer, Wells & Mendip Museum

    Photo © Kevin Westwood

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