Skip to: main navigation | main content | sitemap | accessibility page


Swans of Wells

Wells and Mendip Museum have launched a unique SOS appeal to Save Our Swan.

The majestic Swans of Wells on the Bishop’s Palace Moat are a source of pride and identity to the city and are known all over the world for their unique ability to ring the bell at the gatehouse to be fed.

The first swan to learn this skill was taught by Miss Emily Eden in the late 1850s. She was the daughter of the Bishop of Bath and Wells, The Right Reverend Lord Auckland.

The original swan is preserved and on display in Wells Museum but having been in its present case for over 150 years, it is in much need of conservation.

swans of wells in case

However the skill to preserve this unique exhibit is expensive and is going to cost £2,000. The museum is hoping that the citizens and visitors to Wells will help to raise the money.

The local community is being approached for donations and to date the response has been very positive. The hotel , Wells Chamber of Commerce and Wells Civic Society are all only too happy to support the campaign.

Rosie Martin Chief Executive of the Bishop’s Place Trust said;

“We are delighted that the museum is taking steps to conserve this unusual piece of history. The Swans of Wells hold a special place in the hearts of the people of Wells and our visitors.”

Andrew Fawcett Chair of the Trustees of the museum is very proud to head up the campaign;

“Our Swan is part of an entirely unique piece of English history and desperately needs conservation so that it can take centre stage in a new exhibition that we are planning about the secular history of Wells. The Swan is the symbol of Wells and many thousands of people each year come to watch the Swans of Wells ring the bell for food. The museum wants to be able to feature the original swan that Miss Eden taught over 150 years ago.”

swans of wells black and white

As a matter of courtesy the trustees have written to Her Majesty the Queen as keeper of the country’s swans to inform her of the SOS campaign and ask for her support.

If you would like to contribute to the conservation of the swan, Wells and Mendip Museum would be delighted to receive donations.

E mail

Tel: 01749 673477