Wells Natural History & Archaeological Society
The history of Wells & Mendip Museum is intertwined with that of the Wells Natural History & Archaeological Society. The society was formed in 1888, and Herbert Balch, the founder of the museum, was one of its original members.
The society has a programme of winter lectures and a series of summer walks and excursions to places of interest in the region. The current programme is posted below.
As well as free access to the society's talks, members may use the museum and its facilities without charge. To join WNHAS, please download and complete the application form, and return it to the secretary at a meeting, drop it off at the front desk, or post as indicated on the form.
President: Allen Cotton, O.B.E.
Chair: Stuart M Munns, O.B.E.
Hon. Treasurer: Ms Jane Burman
Indoor meetings are held in The Lecture Hall at Wells & Mendip Museum
Non-members of the Society are very welcome (£2.00)
Revd Dr Mark Hutchinson
1 Dec 2023
Mark is a member of the Society and has stood at the speaker’s rostrum before. This time he is talking about the intense rivalry between the Bishop of Bath and Wells’ men and the Abbot Bishop of Glastonbury’s men between 1173 and 1493.
'The Mendip Hospital and its Patients - the Victorian/Edwardian history of the Somerset and Bath County Pauper Asylum 1848 to 1923'
2 Feb 2024
Clare Blackmore is Vice Chair of the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery, a three acre plot of land off the Bath Road in Wells, which is the last resting place of some 3,000 souls who were patients at the Asylum, later the Wells Mental Hospital and latterly the Mendip Hospital, which closed in 1991. The talk will tell some of their stories and the ethos of their treatment and care.
'A Visible History of King’s Castle Wood' (following the AGM of the Society)
8 Mar 2024
Between 1987 and 2022 David was the voluntary warden for the Somerset Wildlife Trust’s King’s Castle Wood. Although mainly interested in the wildlife found there, he became more aware of its history as his involvement grew. Even today, much of the history remains visible to any visitor to the reserve.
'Don’t forget the Animals'
5 Apr 2024
After 40 years practicing as a Veterinary Surgeon Steve graduated in archaeology and brought the two disciplines together in Zooarchaeology – the study of animals in an archaeological context. His talk aims to introduce the subject, and what it tells us of the human community. So often animal remains are dismissed as not interesting; he hopes to prove otherwise! If anyone likes to bring a bone for him to look at, he could maybe fit that in at the end of his talk.
'Leigh Down Stone Circles'
A visit led by the owner, Nic Colton
2 May 2024
Booking forms and details for this visit will be available nearer the date. The tour takes about 3 hours and participants will be asked to bring a picnic.
'The Stones of Wells'
A walking tour of the city led by Doug Robinson
6 Jun 2024
A look at the diversity and origins of some ancient building materials in the city. Booking forms and details will be available nearer the date.
'Excavate at Villa Rustica'
A visit led by Andrew Buchanan
16 Jul 2024