A minster existed in Wells by the third quarter of the 8th cent., perhaps as early as 705. About 909 this church became the cathedral of the newly created diocese of the Somerset people. After the see was removed to Bath (between 1088 and 1091), the establishment at Wells fell into neglect, but Bp. Robert of Lewes (1136–66) refounded the chapter and endowed the deanery and 22 prebends. The present cathedral was begun c.1180 and the main structure consecrated in 1239. The 13th-cent. west front has 293 medieval figures and reliefs. The most striking interior feature is the inverted arches (14th cent.), by which the piers of the tower are strengthened. See also Bath and Wells.