Wells

Wells

[welz]
Wells, David Ames, 1828-98, American economist, b. Springfield, Mass., grad. Williams, 1847, and Lawrence Scientific School, Cambridge, Mass., 1851. Early in life he wrote several popular books on science. In 1864 his pamphlet Our Burden and Our Strength, dealing with the financial problems of the Civil War, attracted considerable attention. While serving as special commissioner of the U.S. Revenue Commission he wrote a series of reports (1866-69) concerned particularly with indirect taxes. He favored free trade and opposed the federal income tax. He wrote many books and pamphlets, including Robinson Crusoe's Money (1876), Our Merchant Marine (1882), and The Theory and Practice of Taxation (1900).

See study by F. B. Joyner (1939).

Wells, Henry, 1805-78, American pioneer expressman, b. Thetford, Vt. As a child he moved with his family to central New York state. In 1843 he established express service between New York City and Buffalo and successfully competed with the U.S. Post Office by carrying mail at less than the government rate. His association with William G. Fargo began in 1844, when Wells & Company was organized. In 1846, Wells temporarily abandoned most of his other commercial interests to concentrate on the transatlantic trade. Together with William Fargo, he organized (1852) Wells, Fargo & Company to handle express service to California and the West. Wells made his home in Aurora, N.Y., where he founded Wells Seminary (now Wells College). A stammerer, he established several schools for those similarly afflicted.

See N. M. Loomis, Wells Fargo (1968).

Wells, H. G. (Herbert George Wells), 1866-1946, English author. Although he is probably best remembered for his works of science fiction, he was also an imaginative social thinker, working assiduously to remove all vestiges of Victorian social, moral, and religious attitudes from 20th-century life. He was apprenticed to a draper at 14 and was later able through grants and scholarships to attend the Univ. of London (grad. 1888). Inspired by the teaching of T. H. Huxley, Wells taught biology until 1893, when he began his career as a novelist. His early books, full of fantasy and fascinating pseudoscientific speculations, exemplify the political and social beliefs of his time. They include The Time Machine (1895), The Wonderful Visit (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

In the novels of his middle period Wells turned from the fantastic to the realistic, delineating with great energy and color the world he lived in. These books, considered his finest achievement, include Kipps (1905), Tono-Bungay (1909), and The History of Mr. Polly (1910). His later books are primarily novels of ideas in which he sets forth his view of the plans and concessions individuals must make in order to survive. Included among these final works, which became increasingly pessimistic as Wells aged, are The World of William Clissold (1926), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), World Brain (1938), and Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945). His other works include the immensely popular Outline of History (1920) and The Science of Life (1929), which was written in collaboration with his son G. P. Wells and Julian Huxley.

See his Experiment in Autobiography (1934); biographies by L. Dickson (1969) and N. and J. MacKenzie (1973); studies by F. McConnell (1981), J. Huntington (1982), J. R. Hammond (1988), and D. Smith (1988).

Wells, town (1991 pop. 9,252), Somerset, SW England. Primarily a cathedral town, it has changed little since medieval times, although shopping and tourism have become important. The first church was erected by King Ine of Wessex in the early 8th cent. The earliest part of the present cathedral dates from 1176. The towers were built in the 14th cent., much of the woodwork dates from the 15th cent., and there are more than 300 13th-century sculptured figures. The grounds of the bishop's palace include ruins of the original 13th-century structure and the complete 14th-century moat and wall. A theological college is in Wells.
or Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

(born July 16, 1862, Holly Springs, Miss., U.S.—died March 25, 1931, Chicago, Ill.) U.S. journalist and antilynching crusader. The daughter of slaves, she was educated at a freedmen's school in Holly Springs and later at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. She was a teacher until the late 1880s, when she turned to journalism, writing articles for African American-owned newspapers on issues such as the limited education available to African American children. In 1892, after three of her friends were lynched by a mob, Wells began an editorial campaign against lynching that quickly led to the destruction of her newspaper's office by whites. She continued her antilynching campaign as a lecturer and founder of antilynching societies and African American women's clubs throughout the U.S. In 1895 she married Ferdinand Barnett and began writing for his newspaper, the Chicago Conservator. In 1910 she founded the Chicago Negro Fellowship League. She also founded Chicago's Alpha Suffrage Club, perhaps the first African American woman-suffrage group.

Learn more about Wells, Ida B(ell) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Sept. 21, 1866, Bromley, Kent, Eng.—died Aug. 13, 1946, London) English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian. While studying science under T.H. Huxley in London, Wells formulated a romantic conception of the subject that would inspire the inventive and influential science-fiction and fantasy novels for which he is best known, including the epochal The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He simultaneously took on a public role as an agitator for progressive causes, including the League of Nations. He later abandoned science fiction and drew on memories of his lower-middle-class early life in works including the novel Tono-Bungay (1908) and the comic The History of Mr. Polly (1910). He had a 10-year affair with the young Rebecca West. World War I shook his faith in human progress, prompting him to promote popular education through nonfiction works including The Outline of History (1920). The Shape of Things to Come (1933) was an antifascist warning. Though a sense of humour reappears in Experiment in Autobiography (1934), most of his late works reveal a pessimistic, even bitter outlook.

Learn more about Wells, H(erbert) G(eorge) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

or Ida Bell Wells-Barnett

(born July 16, 1862, Holly Springs, Miss., U.S.—died March 25, 1931, Chicago, Ill.) U.S. journalist and antilynching crusader. The daughter of slaves, she was educated at a freedmen's school in Holly Springs and later at Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. She was a teacher until the late 1880s, when she turned to journalism, writing articles for African American-owned newspapers on issues such as the limited education available to African American children. In 1892, after three of her friends were lynched by a mob, Wells began an editorial campaign against lynching that quickly led to the destruction of her newspaper's office by whites. She continued her antilynching campaign as a lecturer and founder of antilynching societies and African American women's clubs throughout the U.S. In 1895 she married Ferdinand Barnett and began writing for his newspaper, the Chicago Conservator. In 1910 she founded the Chicago Negro Fellowship League. She also founded Chicago's Alpha Suffrage Club, perhaps the first African American woman-suffrage group.

Learn more about Wells, Ida B(ell) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Sept. 21, 1866, Bromley, Kent, Eng.—died Aug. 13, 1946, London) English novelist, journalist, sociologist, and historian. While studying science under T.H. Huxley in London, Wells formulated a romantic conception of the subject that would inspire the inventive and influential science-fiction and fantasy novels for which he is best known, including the epochal The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He simultaneously took on a public role as an agitator for progressive causes, including the League of Nations. He later abandoned science fiction and drew on memories of his lower-middle-class early life in works including the novel Tono-Bungay (1908) and the comic The History of Mr. Polly (1910). He had a 10-year affair with the young Rebecca West. World War I shook his faith in human progress, prompting him to promote popular education through nonfiction works including The Outline of History (1920). The Shape of Things to Come (1933) was an antifascist warning. Though a sense of humour reappears in Experiment in Autobiography (1934), most of his late works reveal a pessimistic, even bitter outlook.

Learn more about Wells, H(erbert) G(eorge) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 22, 1903, Wahoo, Neb., U.S.—died June 9, 1989, Pomona, Calif.) U.S. geneticist. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University. While studying Drosophila, he realized that genes must influence heredity chemically and designed a complex technique to determine the nature of those effects, showing that something as apparently simple as eye colour results from a long series of chemical reactions, which are affected by genes. With Edward L. Tatum, he found that the total environment of a bread mold could be varied so that researchers could locate and identify mutations relatively easily, concluding that each gene determines the structure of a specific enzyme, which in turn allows a single chemical reaction to proceed. For the “one gene, one enzyme” concept, they shared a 1958 Nobel Prize with Joshua Lederberg. Beadle later served as president of the University of Chicago (1960–68).

Learn more about Beadle, George Wells with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Oct. 22, 1903, Wahoo, Neb., U.S.—died June 9, 1989, Pomona, Calif.) U.S. geneticist. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University. While studying Drosophila, he realized that genes must influence heredity chemically and designed a complex technique to determine the nature of those effects, showing that something as apparently simple as eye colour results from a long series of chemical reactions, which are affected by genes. With Edward L. Tatum, he found that the total environment of a bread mold could be varied so that researchers could locate and identify mutations relatively easily, concluding that each gene determines the structure of a specific enzyme, which in turn allows a single chemical reaction to proceed. For the “one gene, one enzyme” concept, they shared a 1958 Nobel Prize with Joshua Lederberg. Beadle later served as president of the University of Chicago (1960–68).

Learn more about Beadle, George Wells with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Wells is a small cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, England, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills.

The name Wells derives from the three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. During the Middle Ages these wells were thought to have curative powers. The Wells city arms show an ash tree surrounded by three wells, with the Latin motto Hoc fonte derivata copia (the fullness that springs from this well).

Although the population, recorded in the 2001 census, is only 10,406, it has had city status since 1205. This was confirmed and formalised by Queen Elizabeth II by Letters patent issued under the Great Seal dated April 1, 1974.

History

The City was a Roman settlement but only became an important centre under the Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church in 704. Two hundred years later, this became the seat of the local Bishop; but by 1091, this had been removed to Bath. This caused severe arguments between the canons of Wells and the monks of Bath until the bishopric was renamed as the 'Diocese of Bath & Wells', to be elected by both religious houses. Wells became a borough some time before 1160 when Bishop Robert granted its first charter. Fairs were granted to the City before 1160.

Wells was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Welle, from the Old English wiells, however earlier names for the settlement have been identified. These include Fontanetum in a charter of 725 granted by King Ina to Glastonbury, and Fontuculi. Tydeston has also been recorded although this may relate to a hill settlement to the south east of Wells. Tidesput or Tithesput furlang relates to the area east of the Bishops garden in 1245.

English Civil War

During the English Civil War, Parliamentarian troops used the Cathedral to stable their horses and damaged much of the ornate sculpture by using it for firing practice. William Penn stayed in Wells shortly before leaving for America, spending a night at The Crown Inn. Here he was briefly arrested for addressing a large crowd in the market place, but released on the intervention of the Bishop of Bath & Wells.

Bloody Assizes

Wells was the final location of the Bloody Assizes on September 23 1685. In a makeshift court lasting only one day, over 500 men were tried and the majority sentenced to death.

PoW camps

During World War II, Stoberry Park in Wells was the location of a Prisoner of War camp, housing Italian prisoners from the Western Desert Campaign, and later German prisoners after the Battle of Normandy. Penleigh Camp on the Wookey Hole Road was a German working camp.

Railways

Wells has had three railway stations. The first station, Priory Road, opened in 1859 and was on the Somerset Central Railway (later the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway) as the terminus of a short branch from Glastonbury. A second railway, the East Somerset, opened a branch line from Witham in 1862 and built a station to the east of Priory Road. In 1870, a third railway, the Cheddar Valley line branch of the Bristol and Exeter Railway from Yatton, reached Wells and built yet another station, later called Tucker Street. Matters were somewhat simplified when the Great Western Railway acquired both the Cheddar Valley and the East Somerset lines and built a link between the two that ran through the S&DJR's Priory Road station. In 1878, when through trains began running between Yatton and Witham, the East Somerset station closed, but through trains did not stop at Priory Road until 1934.

Priory Road closed to passenger traffic in 1951 when the S&DJR branch line from Glastonbury was shut, though it remained the city's main goods depot. Tucker Street closed in 1963 under the Beeching Axe, which closed the Yatton to Witham line to passengers. Goods traffic to Wells ceased in 1964.

Today

Following construction of the A39/A371 bypass, Wells has returned to being a pleasant market city situated at the foot of the Mendip Hills. It has all the modern conveniences plus charm, interesting shops, hotels and restaurants. The local football side is Wells City F.C., past winners of the Western League.

Governance

Wells is part of the UK Parliament constituency of Wells. Its Member of Parliament is David Heathcoat-Amory of the Conservative Party.

Wells is within the South West England European Parliament constituency.

Wells City Council has sixteen councillors, elected from three wards: Central, St.Thomas and St.Cuthbert. Wells elects five councillors to Mendip District Council from the same three wards. Wells has one councillor on the Somerset County Council.

Education

The Blue School, founded in 1654, is a state comprehensive school and has been awarded Specialist science college status. Wells Cathedral School, founded in 909, is an independent school that has a Christian emphasis and specialises in high-level musical tuition.

The primary schools in Wells are Stoberry Park School, St Cuthbert's Church of England Infants School, St Joseph and St Teresa Catholic Primary School, and Wells Central CofE Junior School.

Cathedral

Wells Cathedral is the cathedral of the Church of England Diocese of Bath and Wells. Parts date back to the 10th century. It is known for its fine fan vaulted ceilings, Lady Chapel and windows, and the scissor arches which support the central tower. Together with the Bishop's Palace (still used by the Bishop of Bath and Wells) Wells has been an ecclesiastical City of importance for hundreds of years. The cathedral is a grade I listed building.

The cathedral is notable for:

  • the west front – said to be the finest collection of statuary in Europe, containing 356 individual figures carved from the cathedral's warm, yellow Doulting stone.
  • the east end of the nave – an unusual scissored arch design of striking beauty, which saved the cathedral's central tower from collapse. In 1338, the original construction was found to be weakening underneath the tower (the West side had sunk 100 mm (4 inches). About 1340, the Master Mason, William Joy, implemented his ingenious solution of the inverted arch to redistribute the weight on the foundations by 10% from west to east.
  • the Chapter House – at the top of a flight of stone stairs, leading out from the north transept. It is an octagonal building with a fan-vaulted ceiling. It is here that the business of running the cathedral is still conducted by the members of the Chapter, the cathedral's ruling body.
  • Wells Cathedral clock is famous for its 24 hour astronomical dial and set of jousting knights that perform every quarter hour.
  • the heaviest ring of 10 bells in the world. The tenor bell weighs just over 56 CWT (6,272 lb, 2,844 kg).

Tourism and architecture

Wells is a popular tourist destination, due to its historical sites, its proximity to Bath, Stonehenge and Glastonbury and its closeness to the Somerset coast. Also nearby are Wookey Hole Caves, the Mendip Hills and the Somerset Levels. Wells is part of the West Country Carnival circuit. Somerset cheese, including Cheddar, is made locally.

A walled precinct, the Liberty of St Andrew, encloses the twelfth century Cathedral, the Bishop's Palace, Vicar's Close and the residences of the clergy who serve the cathedral.

The Bishops Palace has been the home of the Bishops of the Diocese of Bath and Wells for 800 years. The hall and chapel are particularly noteworthy, dating from the 14th century. There are of gardens including the springs from which the city takes its name. Visitors can also see the Bishop's private Chapel, ruined Great Hall and the Gatehouse with portcullis and drawbridge beside which the famous mute swans ring a bell for food

Vicars' Close – the oldest existing street in the world, which still has the original cobblestoned surface. The Close is tapered by to make it look longer when viewed from the bottom. When viewed from the top, however, it looks shorter.

The Church of St. Cuthbert – often mistaken for the cathedral, the church has a fine Somerset stone tower and a superb carved roof. Originally an Early English building (13th century), it was much altered in the Perpendicular period (15th century). The nave's coloured ceiling was repainted in 1963 at the instigation of the then Vicar's wife, Mrs Barnett. Until 1561 the church had a central tower which either collapsed or was removed, and has been replaced with the current tower over the west door. Bells were cast for the tower by Roger Purdy.

Wells in popular culture

Literature

Elizabeth Goudge used Wells as a basis for the fictional Cathedral city of Torminster, in her book City of Bells

Film and television

Wells has been used as the setting for several films:

The cathedral interior stood in for Southwark Cathedral during filming for the Doctor Who episode The Lazarus Experiment.

Notable residents

References

  • Somerset Railway Stations, by Mike Oakley, (Dovecote Press, 2002)

See also

Gallery

External links

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