Wells & Mendip Museum has a busy calendar of events. From talks and workshops to art exhibitions and garden days, keep an eye on this page to see what's coming up.
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Roman lead ingot from Westbury-sub-Mendip
On Display Now
The museum is excited to exhibit a Roman lead ingot or ‘pig’ that was found at Westbury-sub-Mendip in 2016.
This ingot is special for several reasons. It is precisely datable, it is further evidence of Roman lead mining at Charterhouse-on-Mendip, and it indicates previously unrecognised significant Roman activity at Westbury.
It carries the inscription ‘IMP DVOR AVG ANTONINI ET VERI ARMENIACORVM’ which translates as the ‘property of the two August Emperors Antoninus and Verus, conquerors of Armenia’. We know that the Roman emperors Marcus Aurelius (Antoninus) and Lucius Verus ruled jointly between 164 and 169 AD.
The ‘pig’ is made from lead mined at Charterhouse. As well as the mines there was a Roman town here, which included a small amphitheatre. The mines supplied lead and silver that was exported from Mendip to other parts of the empire. The lead was used to make water pipes and coffins, and as a component of pewter.
Also found nearby was a hoard of 89 Roman Radiate coins, some of which are also on display. The ingot and the coins point to a significant Roman presence in the area and work continues by the Westbury Society Archaeology Group to understand this better.
The ingot is on loan from the South West Heritage Trust. Its acquisition is dedicated to the memory of Barry Lane (1944-2017), former Curator of the museum who was passionate about uncovering the rich history of his home village, Westbury.
Gold "Posy Ring"
An Exciting Acquisition
"The Curator's Choice" is a changing display which features an item specially chosen by the curator.
This "Posy Ring" is a locally found post-Medieval gold ring, dating from 1550 to 1650.
A posy ring is a finger ring inscribed with a short message. It gets its name from “Poesy”, an old word for a verse of poetry or a motto.
This ring is inscribed “FERE + GOD + EVER”, where “FERE” is an old word for a marriage partner - a husband or wife. During the Middle Ages when religion was so much part of everyday life it was not unusual to combine religious, friendly or amorous words.
Medieval rings had the inscription on the outside, but later ones, like this post-Medieval example which dates from between 1550 and 1650, have the inscription on the inside.
Curator David Walker said “the craftsmanship of the goldsmith is amazing and the ring will make a wonderful addition to the museum’s displays.”
"The Curator's Choice" cabinet is outside The Exhibition Room (upstairs).
Somerset and Bath Lunatic Asylum
A Photographic Exhibition (1848-1918)
5 Jun 2021
31 Jul 2021
UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming success of this exhibition, it has been extended until Saturday 31 July.
Opening hours are every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10am - 4pm, with extra days to be added if more volunteers become available.
Updates will be announced, so please watch this space.
The full list of open days, including additional days, is currently as follows:
Tuesday 08, Wednesday 09, Thursday 10, Saturday 12
Tuesday 15, Wednesday 16, Thursday 17, Saturday 19
Tuesday 22, Wednesday 23, Thursday 24, Saturday 26
Tuesday 29, Wednesday 30
Thursday 01, Saturday 03
Tuesday 06, Wednesday 07, Thursday 08
Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14, Thursday 15
Tuesday 20, Wednesday 21, Thursday 22
Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29
The Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery and Wells & Mendip Museum are combining resources to stage a unique photographic exhibition which tells the story of the patients and staff of the hospital.
Alongside these amazing pictures will be medical histories of the patients, the history of the medicine and therapies used in the treatment of mental health at the time, the causes of admission, and artefacts from the hospital. Together this will give us a fascinating glimpse into the life of this huge and important institution, which was a large part of life and work in Wells for over 150 years.
This incredible portrait is of Selina Baiss, a patient at the asylum, and is one of many hundreds in the Mendip Hospital Trust collection.
Selina Baiss was born in 1830 and in her early years worked as a servant at the Bishop's Palace in Wells, as shown in the 1841 census.
She was admitted to the Somerset and Bath Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1870 and she died, aged 78, in 1908 - having spent 38 years as a patient. While in the asylum she did a "little ward work" and "domestic chores". One the philosophies of the asylum was to keep the patients occupied through early forms of occupational therapy, but no one was forced to work as they would have been in the workhouse.
Come and learn more about the uses of therapy in the asylum at the exhibition, which opens on Saturday 05 June.
Click on the image to be taken to the Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery website.
Adult // £4
Child // £1
Booking is not necessary.
Due to COVID regulations the number of people in the exhibition room at any one time is limited. There may be a short wait to manage numbers, but the entry fee includes the whole museum so you can enjoy our collections and beautifully renovated garden while you wait.
An Art Exhibition
8 Jun 2021
17 Jul 2021
Joeby Slight of JoebysArt is a local artist based in Wells who paints mountain wilderness and aurora landscapes.
Utilising oil on canvas, he first started painting in November of 2018, inspired by famous American TV Artist, Bob Ross. Adopting Bob's 'wet on wet' technique and relaxed approach to painting, he went on to start JoebysArt in March of 2020. During the first national lockdown Joeby produced over 130 paintings, all of which can be seen in this exhibition.
Joeby's limited edition paintings come in various shapes and sizes, depicting dynamic landscapes ranging from fiery autumn scenes and golden sunsets to frozen tundras and dazzling midnight auroras.
Normal museum entry fee applies.