A mark on the current O/S map SJ 688 217 in blue writing is all I knew of this well. What could it be? A boggy morass or something more substantial? The map showed it located beside the road suggesting easy access for a visit and so I decided to investigate the site. First clue was a footpath sign but this did not go to the well, a few paces ahead a small copse appeared on the left with an inviting opening and a path descending downwards. From here one could hear water and see something in the near distance. Soon the holy well was clearly visible a very large brick lined walled structure with a gravel bottom. The water appeared remarkably clear and ran under the path into a concrete channel and into a pool below to form a brook. The water was remarkable clear and the sound of its considerable flow very therapeutic. Despite the sound of thunder around the small copse appeared to be isolated from the outside world.
“came down the Mite Lane with pack mules and carried water back from the well.”
A local tradition associates the spring with the monks of Dodecote. Anne Furness (1983) in Furness, Anne, 1983, ‘Wells and paths’ in Earthlines magazine notes that they: How true this story is unknown especially as there does not appear to be any fabric which could date from this time. The monks in question would be associated with a property given by Buildwas Abbey. The earliest record is the house-name Holy Well from 1796 and the well itself appears on the 1881 O/S map. Certainly the present structure was established fairly recently and probably for farming use especially as the large volume of water would be more than sufficient for the small community. Perhaps the strangest fact is that the village is so far away from this considerable source. Furness (1983) was told that
“there used to be grooves cut into the rock so that buckets could be put under the spring to catch the water”
Sadly despite was is a considerable spring the correspondent added:
“We used to draw water from the spring until 10 years ago, when the health authorities failed it.”
Yet, this ancient spring still flows vigorously and copiously whatever its history, a delightfully peaceful oasis a few steps from the road, and worth a small detour to visit.