Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip District of Somerset, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2011 census was only 10,536, it has had city status since medieval times, because of the presence of Wells Cathedral. Often described as England's smallest city, it is second only to the City of London in area and population, though not part of a larger urban agglomeration.
The name Wells comes from three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. A small Roman settlement surrounded them, which grew in importance and size under the Anglo-Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church there in 704. The community became a trading centre based on cloth making and Wells is notable for its 17th century involvement in both the English Civil War and Monmouth Rebellion. In the 19th century, transport infrastructure improved with stations on three different railway lines. However, since 1964 the city has been without a railway link.
The civil parish of Wells was formed in 1933 upon the merger of Wells St. Cuthbert In and Wells St Andrew (the latter being the historic liberty of the cathedral, the bishop's palace, etc., amounting to just 52 acres (21 ha)). Wells is the successor parish for Wells "Municipal Borough", which existed from the creation of municipal boroughs in 1835 to their abolition in 1974. The parish has held the city status of Wells since 1 April 1974 (previously held by the municipal borough) and the member of the City Council who chairs the council holds the historic office of Mayor of Wells, typically for one year.
For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Wells, Somerset.