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St Christopher's Well, Denton, Lincs, February 2020

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HughieD

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People's Republic of South Yorkshire.
1. The History
On the north bank of a large pond, St Christopher's Well is a man-made grotto is known locally as the 'wishing well'. Measuring 4m in diameter and 2m high, the grotto is fashioned out of volcanic tuffa and lined with cemented rubble stone, inset with ammonites and coloured stones. At the back is a circular well and overflow channel which flows out to the entrance into the pond. Set above the well in the wall of the cave is a three verse poem, reportedly by Huius Nympha Loci and dated 1823 (in Roman numerals), inscribed into a stone, including the words: “Approach you then with cautious steps, to where the streamlet creeps, or Ah! Too rudely you may wake, some guardian nymph that sleeps.”

First mention of a spring date back to the 1700s when the site was simply called spring wells, according to a book of furlongs in 1784. Howett (1801) refers to the site as both a medicinal and holy well. More recent notes of its history date back 1926-27 from the site’s owner, Welby. He states that a two-storey teahouse was in situ, consisting of an inner arch over the spring and an upper arch with two tall sash windows, glazed with large panes with a sloping roof on all four sides meeting a ridge. Local children called it “The Fairy Well” as apparently after a drink of its waters “your first wish is sure to come true”. Here’s a small engraving from when the tea house was still there:

49579306658_efd6b78ab3_n.jpgSt C's well by HughieDW, on Flickr

The tea house didn’t last long, and was succeeded by a small summer house, constructed in the 1840s. Although no signs of this remain Welby’s account tell of a tall, wooden, open-fronted construction with small, unglazed side windows. This was removed in 1850 and the present grotto constructed. Funnily enough early sources do not refer to it as St Christopher’s Well, suggesting this name came along later, perhaps when the spring was transformed into an estate folly. Grade II listed in September 1979, and despite the folklore that its waters have medicinal properties, this little grotto is largely forgotten about.

2. The Explore
Was wondering whether to report on this place as it is very bijou. But sometimes good things come in small packages and it’s a lovely, very peaceful little spot. Plus, there is a bit of history about the place. It can be a bit of a challenge to find if you haven’t got it pinned properly. The nearby boat house is also Grade II listed but deeper into the estate so gave that one a miss.

3. The Pictures

Stumbled across these badly worn gravestones on my way there:

49577439208_8e3a580332_b.jpgimg5681 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Wonder if they were for pets as this ground is unlikely to be consecrated:
49577944691_80f7e7c74a_b.jpgimg5680 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49577440118_017a94755d_b.jpgimg5679 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking across the lake. Note the boat house in the distance:

49577942526_0313f96571_b.jpgimg5683 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49577943531_85800be2d1_b.jpgimg5682 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Here it is:

49577418023_3ee2756f6d_b.jpgChris's Well 07 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49577925376_486f261ca3_b.jpgChris's Well 02 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Looking inside:

49577940596_a7bbd0d022_b.jpgimg5687 by HughieDW, on Flickr

The well itself:

49577923956_46b012aba7_b.jpgChris's Well 04 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Close-up of the poem:

49578164532_6c2dd92e28_b.jpgimg5693 by HughieDW, on Flickr

Inside the dome has various minerals encrusted in it:

49577934131_21ec35cd42_b.jpgimg5703 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And ammonites:

49577430448_991e8c6ff8_b.jpgimg5701 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49578165947_2c4f8e70f8_b.jpgimg5691 by HughieDW, on Flickr

49578151092_b1bb2a2251_b.jpgChris's Well 06 by HughieDW, on Flickr

And finally, looking back out towards the lake:

49577924416_bec90d06da_b.jpgChris's Well 01 by HughieDW, on Flickr
 

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