New names of Bishop’s Palace swans announced

The Bishop’s Palace in Wells has announced the result of a recent swan-naming competition to find names for their new pair of swans.

The new swans arrived at the palace on 9 May, having been rehomed by the charity Swan Rescue South Wales.

They were blessed by The Right Reverend Ruth Worsley, Bishop of Taunton, before being released into the moat.

The palace had invited the public to send in their suggestions for swan names via social media, email and in person, and nearly 500 entries were received in total.

The names chosen are Gabriel and Grace.

A Bishop’s Palace spokesperson said: “Gabriel was suggested by several people and has echoes of the angel Gabriel which fits in nicely with the comparison often made by palace visitors between angel wings and swans wings, also depicted in the beautiful stained-glass sculptures in the gardens by the Bishop’s Palace artist-in-residence Edgar Phillips.

“The name Grace, which was an extremely popular suggestion, could remind people of the title style used for royalty, some bishops and archbishops; or of the state of Christian grace, or indeed, just the graceful movements of these lovely swans.”

“The new pair began their training last week on how to ring the famous gatehouse bell for food, and it was with great delight that last Thursday saw Grace, the female swan, first ring the bell.

“Gabriel has been slightly more wary and currently seems content to let his lady wife ring for food!”

The centuries-old tradition of bell-ringing swans on the moat was begun by the daughter of Lord Auckland, who was Bishop at the palace in the 1800s.

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