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Wells is a cathedral city and civil parish in the Mendip district of Somerset, England, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills. Although the population recorded in the 2001 census is 10,406, it has had city status since 1205. It is the second smallest English city in terms of area and population after the City of London although, unlike the latter, Wells is not part of a larger metropolitan conurbation, and is consequently described in some sources as being England's smallest city.
The name Wells derives from the three wells dedicated to Saint Andrew, one in the market place and two within the grounds of the Bishop's Palace and cathedral. There was a small Roman settlement around the wells, but its importance grew under the Saxons when King Ine of Wessex founded a minster church in 704, around which the settlement grew. Wells became a trading centre and involved in cloth making before its involvement in both the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion during the 17th century. In the 19th century, transport infrastructure improved with stations on three different railway lines.