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History of Wells – playing our part

The hotel has been part of the history of Wells since at least the early 15th century. (We are investigating references to the hotel’s existence in the 1300s!)

In 1422 the hotel was mentioned in an article by Tony Scrase on the inns of Wells. Scrase quotes from T.S. Holmes, who refers to the Swan in very favourable terms.

Once a major posting house, the building has played host to many famous people. Wells Civic Society recently played an integral part in helping to install a blue plaque outside the hotel which commemorates some of the famous people who have stayed here. These include Henry VII, Sir Winston Churchill and Anne of Denmark. 

History of Wells – late 1800’s

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the proprietor of the hotel, Mr F Brand George, wrote several editions of the Swan Hotel Visitors’ Guide To Wells. It’s a fascinating read for anyone interested in the history of Wells and provides a real insight into life at the hotel all those years ago.

Mr George refers fondly to the days of the stagecoach and recounts how vehicles used to arrive and change horses at the Swan. Apparently the driver of the ‘Velocity’ – which ran from Taunton through Bridgwater, Glastonbury and Wells en route to Bath and ultimately London – used to earn the gratitude of the passengers on board by prolonging the refreshment stops!

The advent of the steam locomotive put an end to the long distance coaching trade, but instead of viewing this as a setback the hotel ran its own conveyance to pick up passengers from three local stations.

The guide also refers to the removal of two buildings opposite the hotel in 1864. Thankfully, the coffee house and bakery were never replaced, so guests can still enjoy a great view of Wells Cathedral. What a story that enriches the history of Wells!

In recent years the hotel featured prominently in the box office smash hit, Hot Fuzz. The history of Wells continues….

History of Wells – Independently owned hotel

This independently owned hotel has moved with the times and investment has been plentiful. At the turn of the current century the Star Hotel was purchased and transformed into our Coach House. This building is separate to the main hotel and contains 15 bedrooms. Other areas in and around the hotel have also undergone major renovation. These include our Walled Garden Café, Swan Mews, Swan Terrace, the Cathedral Suite, and most recently, The Courtyard.

The oldest parts of the building retain their ambiance and character, while offering guests modern amenities in a beautiful setting.

History of the hotel in the Wells Journal (7 May 2015)
History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 1
History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 2
History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 3
History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 4
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History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 6
History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 7
History of the hotel by Wells Journal Page 8

History of Wells – Our Best Western connection

Being a member of Best Western  often leads people to believe that the hotel is simply part of a large chain. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

While there are over 280 hotels in the UK that are Best Western members, each one is independently owned and run. So, in the case of the BEST WESTERN PLUS Swan hotel, our experienced management team, in conjunction with the local owner, take all the decisions, large and small.

Remaining a member of Best Western isn’t easy, but a feat that has been achieved by the hotel for forty years. This makes the hotel the oldest Best Western member. Every year the hotel has to pass a thorough inspection by the Best Western Quality Assessment team. It is also judged by The AA and VisitBritain to ensure high quality and comfort levels are maintained.

In 2012 the hotel achieved BEST WESTERN PLUS status. This award is in recognition of the extra style, comfort and service which the hotel offers. In the same year our Cathedral Suite won, ‘Most Impressive Guest Room’ in the global Best Western Fan Awards.

We hope that you will come and enjoy the hotel and discover for yourself the amazing history of Wells.