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The first church was established here in 705 by King Ine of Wessex, at the urging of Saint Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne, and some interior features date from this time. Parts of the present structure date to the 10th century, but much of the building was constructed in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and dedicated in 1239. The diocese was split in the 10th century and the first Bishop of Wells was Athelm (circa 909), who crowned King Athelstan and later became Archbishop of Canterbury.
By the reign of Henry VIII the cathedral and peripheral buildings were complete, but the instability of the country -- especially the church -- over the following years led to decline and vandalism of the cathedral. During the civil war dean Dr. Walter Ralegh, nephew of Sir Walter, was imprisoned and later died in the cathedral.
Following the restoration of Charles II to the throne the cathedral was less neglected, but it wasn't until the Victorian era that the cathedral was properly renovated, including the removal of the exterior whitewash that had covered the cathedral since mediaeval times.