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The Wellhouse - Cathedral Close

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Well House signsThis pub belongs to, and is run by the Royal Clarence Hotel, to which it is adjacent. It is a popular public house, situated in the heart of the Cathedral Close. Michael Caine, the celebrity chef is responsible for the bar food that is served at lunch time.

The Well House is in fact two premises, 16 and 17 Cathedral Yard. In 1861 no. 16 contained a retired tailor while no. 17 was a bootseller. As was common then, and now, premises would change use quite frequently. In Kelly's 1897 Directory Charles William Priston as a tailor in no 16. In 1901 Sarah Buttishill is established as a dressmaker while no 17 is a bookshop. Kelly's 1914 Directory lists Haynes Ltd boot and shoe makers and dealers and in 1919 Babbage Gilbert & Co Solicitors.

Up to the 1980's, the two buildings housed Robert Veitch and Son Ltd, seedsmen and then, it was briefly an estate agent and again, a bookshop. It was in August 1984 that the Well House was opened by the Mayor, Jim Pollitt. The building dates back to the 15th century, with the three top floors added in the 17th century. The wall that defined Cathedral Yard runs through part of the building. There is a stone stairway leading to a cellar beneath, where can be found the remains of an alleged victim of the Black Death, in a glass case, in an alcove. However, experts think the bones belong to a teenage, Anglo-Saxon. The cellar also contains the remains of an ancient well, the source of the name, Well House. Some think it of Roman origin, although the consensus is that it dates back to Norman times.

The Wellhouse - Cathedral Close

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