A new pair of swans has been welcomed to the famous moat at The Bishop’s Palace in Wells, continuing hundreds of years of tradition.
Tourists and locals had been disappointed since October 2018 when Wynn, the brave widow who outlived her lifelong mate Bryn, and raised her final brood at the palace, took flight along with her cygnets and left the moat.
Wynn did return briefly at the beginning of this year, probably in order to check that Bryn hadn’t returned, and then flew off again in search of a swan community to enjoy her old age.
Staff at the palace said they were very keen to find a new pair of swans, in order to keep up the centuries-old tradition of bell-ringing swans on the moat, but wanted to make sure that Wynn had definitely left her home before introducing any new swans. The tradition was begun by the daughter of Lord Auckland, who was bishop at the palace in the 1800s.
The new pair of swans were introduced to the palace by the Newport-based Swan Rescue South Wales, and the charity thought that the palace moat would be the perfect home for this particular pair.
Previously residing in Droitwich, the pair were living in a home which had turned out not to be suitable for their needs – the palace moat, with its large expanse of water and plentiful supply of food, should be an ideal location. It is thought that they are a breeding pair so palace staff are hopeful that they may see fluffy cygnets on the moat again in due course.
Moira Anderson, whose role includes looking after the swans, said: “I am so looking forward to getting to know this lovely pair of swans and helping them to get comfortable in their new home.
“I will be teaching them to use the famous Swan Bell and ask the public to bear with us whilst training is taking place!”
The Bishop’s Palace is taking the opportunity to add an extra Swan Bell on the other side of the medieval gatehouse so that visitors can have better visibility of the historic tradition, as the original bell can be obscured by trees at certain times of the year.
The swans were officially welcomed to the moat by Bishop Ruth of Taunton, who said a special swan blessing as they were released onto the water.