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Under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), The University of Exeter and Wells Cathedral have agreed to co-operate with each other in order to explore and establish a closer relationship that will enable both organisations to develop mutually beneficial work.

Wells Cathedral, located in Somerset, was the first Gothic Cathedral to be built in England and is famous for its unique architecture. Home to a thriving spiritual, musical and historical community that stretches back nearly 850 years, the Cathedral has an international reputation and is the recipient of several tourism awards, having recently achieved a Silver Eco Church Award. Described as the ‘most poetic’ of the English cathedrals, Wells was the first to be built in the Gothic style. The iconic West Front with its 300 medieval carvings and the 14th century Scissor Arches are highlights of the Cathedral’s architecture. 

The newly signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Wells Cathedral and the University of Exeter, will develop research and impact initiatives and identify areas of mutual interest, including research and development and business planning. The partnership will explore opportunities for the use of digital technologies in conservation, analysis and interpretation of the Cathedral’s manuscripts, early printed books, archives and holdings. Opportunities for student work placements and volunteering will also be a goal of the MoU, in addition to the enhancement of the University’s education portfolio.

In response to the MoU signing, Professor Neil Gow, who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Impact at the University of Exeter, said: “It is great to see that Wells is embarking on a major project to open its ancient buildings more fully to the public and to enhance the visitor experience for diverse audiences. With the University of Exeter’s long-standing expertise in history and our recent ground-breaking development of digital applications for the cultural heritage sector, this promises to be a very productive and exciting partnership.”

The Very Reverend Dr John Davies at Wells Cathedral told us: “I am delighted that Wells Cathedral and Exeter University have formalised a working partnership through this Memorandum of Understanding. This is a wonderful opportunity to share knowledge and experience whilst creating opportunities for the respective communities we serve to grow. We hope that this partnership will provide great benefit for the South West.” 

To find out more about Wells Cathedral, see: and for heritage news at the University of Exeter, see: