First time I had been to Wells – and what a very nice place it is.
After having a look at the outside of the very impressive cathedral (I refused to pay the £12 for myself and Karen to get in) and a look around the Bishop’s Palace next door we headed for the museum to have a look at the oath stone.
Easy enough to find; on the lawn right outside the museum which is next to the Bishop’s Palace.
Dafydd and myself walked over to the stone and shook hands through the hole.
The stone is about 5 foot high and has lots of yellow and white lichen on it.
The hole is about 6 inches square so no worries of getting your arm stuck!
Next to the ‘old stone’ is a new one – a memorial to the late First World War veteran Harry Patch (I didn’t know he came from Wells). If you don’t know of Harry Patch I suggest you look him up. I couldn’t see the memorial as it was covered up with a tarpaulin. I think the grand unveiling is next month – 6th May?
This is found in front of Wells Museum, it was brought from Tor hill in the east of Wells where it was being used as a gate post. It is a Hoker stone, people pledge oaths by joining hands through the hole.
The Somerset Historic Environment record suggests the stone was originally at ST 5653 4562, at the foot of King's Castle hill. Also that in its new? or long-adopted? guise as Hoker Stone it stood on the green outside Well's cathedral. Couldn't people be bothered to walk all that way to seal their bargains? Or was it intentionally brought nearer the cathedral where any dubious goings-on could be quashed? Does anyone know when it was moved?