A Buckinghamshire field trip-Gorrick’s spring and St Rumbold’s Well

Whilst recently in Buckinghamshire, I was able to visit two noted sites in the county. Buckingham’s St. Rumbold’s Well is sadly dry but a pilgrimage to the site is well worth it. It was easily found using Rattue’s descriptions and is surrounded by a metal railings with a symbol of the saint on it. Restored in 2002 the well consists of a stone chamber and as Rattue (2003) notes a depression nearby could have been a bath. I found the well still in fair condition but had suffered with some recent vandalism and fires had been lit in the chamber and some walling had fallen down.

Gorrick’s spring is an interesting site and perhaps the best of the county’s holy well. The water flows from a rather worn lion’s head beneath a stone arch under the steps, and pours into a stone lined chamber repaired with concrete slabs. It is reached by a series of steps from the layby and beside the spring is a narrow and as Rattue (2003) states an uncomfortable seat. It is unclear where the name comes from but a local legend tells how a witch’s pupil gave the sight back to a Gypsy tinker. A rhyme states:

“When Gorrick’s Spring flows fast and clear, Stoop down and drink, for health is here, If Gorrick’s Spring shuld e’er run dry, Beware, for pestilience is nigh.”

An author named Bartley (1928) mentioned by Rattue (2003) notes:

‘ the monks of old….deemed the delicious waters of this wayside spring as sacred, possessing healing properties for all humans. Daily the holy Friar would hie to the mossy bank and reach the water with his ancient pitcher, and bear it homeward to his suffering flock”

As Rattue (2003) notes it appears unlikely that a friar would have visited the site. Buckinghamshire is not perhaps an obvious county for those interested in holy wells but a long visit does repay as long as a copy of James Rattue’s book is taken with you.

About pixyledpublications

Currently researching calendar customs and folklore of Nottinghamshire

Posted on January 12, 2012, in Buckinghamshire, Folklore, Hermits, Royal, Saints, Well hunting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: