Historic 12th century Old Deanery hits market for £2.5m

Historic Old Deanery that was clerics’ home since 1230 and has incredible views of Wells Cathedral goes on market for first time in 800 years at £2.5m

  • The Old Deanery, overlooking Wells Cathedral, was the primary residence of 62 Deans from 1230 until 1958 
  • For the past six decades the property has been used as the diocesan offices for the Diocese of Bath and Wells  
  • Grade I listed building boasts 18,000sq ft of space, Jacobean panelling and 16th C hidden Tudor-style garden

An ancient property offering unrivalled views of Britain’s ‘most beautiful and poetic’ cathedral has emerged for sale for the first time.

The Old Deanery, overlooking Wells Cathedral, was the primary residence of 62 Deans from 1230 until 1958 and boasts Tudor-style gardens with 16th-century plants grown by ‘the father of English Botany’ as well as a 200-year-old Beech tree.

For the past six decades, the property has been used as the diocesan offices for the Diocese of Bath and Wells accommodating over 50 staff, who are now relocating to a new building in the outskirts of Wells, Somerset.

The Grade I listed building has now gone on the market for the first time in 800 years, for £2.5million.

The historic Deanery of Wells Cathedral in Somerset has gone on the market for the first time in 800 years

The historic 800-year-old property offers unrivalled views of Britain’s ‘most beautiful and poetic’ cathedral

The majestic Old Deanery, overlooking Wells Cathedral, was the primary residence of 62 Deans from 1230 until 1958

For the past six decades, the property has been used as the diocesan offices for the Diocese of Bath and Wells

The three-floor property, covering 18,000sq ft of space, has undergone expansion and remodelling over the ages to accommodate its various uses, including the addition of a number of wings and a gatehouse.

It is replete with distinctive features including gargoyles on the parapets, glittering stained glass in the windows and Jacobean panelling on the walls.

The property also has a palpable sense of history with Tudor fireplaces, Georgian shuttered windows and old stone secret staircases.

Several rooms are named after the bishops of Bath and Wells – the Thompson Room and the Bickersteth Room on the second floor were formerly known as Henry VII and Margaret (after Henry’s mother) reflecting Dean Gunthorpe’s influential connections and a royal visit in 1497. 

The best preserved and most obviously medieval part of the building, the ‘North Range’, dates back to the late 15th century.

The property also boasts the William Turner Garden – a hidden Tudor-style garden with 16th century plants grown by Dean William Turner, the ‘father of English Botany’.

The agents say the property could be redeveloped as a home, offices or even a hotel, subject to planning approval.

The Grade I listed building dates back to the 12th century is on the market with estate agents Lodestone for £2.5million

Period features can be found throughout the building, including stained glass windows and original panelling 

Extensive restoration work was carried out between 1987 and 1990 and the current layout of the building reflects its current use as offices and an administration centre

The South Range overlooking the Cathedral and the West Range with views to the gardens both date from the 13th century 

Cathy Morris-Adams from Lodestone Property, said: ‘This is a unique opportunity to breathe new energy into an under-utilised building whilst continuing to celebrate its architecture, elegance, durability and status within the city of Wells.

‘Subject to planning, the building has tremendous potential and is suitable for a variety of uses, which in turn could support and have a positive impact on the local economy.

‘Wells, benefits from being a popular tourist destination, thanks to its heritage, array of historical sites and proximity to other regional landmarks, and the Old Deanery occupies an excellent location in the heart of the city.

‘We expect to see strong demand from operators and developers looking to invest a piece of history whilst creating a viable solution to ensure its preservation and future success.’

The main building of The Old Deanery is laid out over three floors and over four wings that form a square structure

A great fireplace dominates this mediaeval room, which has small internal windows suggesting a minstrel’s gallery

The house is a treasure trove of rare features; gargoyles on the parapets, imposing and original flagstones under foot, glittering stained glass in the windows, Jacobean panelling on the walls, and intricate woodwork 

Occupying over 18,000 sq. feet, the Old Deanery occupies a position in Wells with breathtaking views of the Green and the Cathedral

Since the late 1940s The Old Deanery has also been the home of the Diocesan Offices when a lease was originally granted to the Board of Finance for a number of rooms. In 1962 The Dean and Chapter of Wells Cathedral conveyed the freehold of the building and part of the grounds to the Board

Built between 1175 and 1490, Wells Cathedral is the earliest English Cathedral to be built in the Gothic style.

It is celebrated for its iconic West Front and the ‘scissor arches’ supporting the central tower, and also boasts one of the largest collections of historic stained glass in the country.

Its Wells Clock, dating from 1390, is considered to be the second oldest clock mechanism in Great Britain and still works.

The interior of the cathedral was used for the Doctor Who episode, ‘The Lazarus Experiment’, starring David Tennant as the Doctor, in 2007. 

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