Somerset

New bell-ringing swans move into The Bishop's Palace

New bell-ringing swans at The Bishop's Palace Image copyright The Bishop's Palace
Image caption 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

A new pair of bell-ringing swans has taken up residence on the moat at The Bishop's Palace in Wells.

Swans have been trained to ring a bell on the gatehouse when they want to be fed, in a tradition dating back to the 1850s.

The moat had been "swan-less" since October after male swan Brynn died and female Wynn, left with her cygnets.

Moira Anderson, from the palace, said the new pair were chosen because they are very "food orientated".

Wynn and Brynn had lived at the palace since 2013 but following the death of her lifelong mate, it is thought Wynn joined swans living on the Somerset Levels.

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Media captionSwans, who live on the moat at The Bishop's Palace, are trained to ring a bell for food

"Wynn left us in October when the last of her cygnets left," said Ms Anderson.

"She popped back in January, probably just to check if Bryn had come back, and decided he wasn't there and off she went again."

After making sure "Wynn had definitely left her home", the palace introduced the pair to the moat.

Image copyright The Bishop's Palace
Image caption It is thought Wynn (pictured above) left the palace to live with a family of swans on the Somerset Levels

"They came from Swan Rescue South Wales, they contacted me last Sunday and said we have found the perfect pair," said Ms Anderson.

"I will be teaching them to use the famous swan bell and ask the public to bear with us whilst training is taking place.

"It takes lots of food but the swans were given to us because they are very food orientated, so hopefully we've got that bit under control."

Palace records from the 1850s show Bishop Eden's daughter Maria taught a pair of swans to ring a bell when they wanted to be fed.

In 2006, the Queen sent a gift of a family of swans to the Bishop of Bath and Wells to mark the 800th anniversary of the palace.

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