Tag Archives: Holy Well

St. Patrick’s Well, Dublin, Under Threat ?

The construction of the cross- city Luas line will destroy a holy well associated with St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and the introduction of frogs to Ireland, a historian has claimed.

Gary Branigan, author of Ancient & Holy Wells of Dublin, said the line would pass over St Patrick’s Well as it makes its way past Trinity College. The underground well would be destroyed in the process, he said.

The Railway Procurement Agency said it was aware of the well, which is a recorded monument, but said it would not be affected by the Luas works.

“Few pedestrians walking along modern-day Nassau Street will be aware that beneath their feet lies a hidden and ancient site of pilgrimage associated with none other than St Patrick himself,” Mr Branigan said.

“Nassau Street itself was called Patrick’s Well Lane until it was renamed in the 18th century after the accession to the throne of William III, ruler of the house of Orange-Nassau.”

Mr Branigan has called on Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to review the route in order to preserve the well.

However the aagency said the well’s location had been incorrectly mapped and was actually under the north side of Nassau Street at the junction with Dawson Street and would not be under the new line.

“Appropriate constraints to protect the well during construction have also been included in the works contracts,” a spokeswoman said, “such as the requirement for continuous monitoring of vibration levels from construction activities in the area and the setting of appropriate vibration limits to ensure that no damage will occur to the well”.

In 1729 the well ran dry, inspiring Jonathan Swift to write a satirical poem.

Legend has it that frogs were introduced to Ireland by a Protestant who, “to show his zeal against popery”, brought frog spawn from Liverpool and deposited it in the well.

Source – Irish Times, 25 July 2013

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Carter’s Well, Low Fell, Gateshead

 

Nowadays, Carter’s Well is a Cast iron pump with a spring handle and domed cap (not working) located on Durham Road, Low Fell, now a suburb of Gateshead, Tyne & Wear  (NZ25756005).

At least, that’s its current public face – there was, and apparently still is, more to it.

Once a mere spring “oozing out of a hillside“, where in summer people had to watch all night and take water up with a saucer, the water supply to the well was substantially improved when a drift was excavated in this direction from Sheriff Hill Colliery  and water was found in old coal workings.

Thomas Wilson, chairman of the local committee at the time, described the well in his poem “Pitman’s Pay” –

 “No other spring wiv it can vie;
it is a tap that ne’er runds dry –
a cellar where a rich supply suits every rank and station.
And it awd age myekes tipple fine,
wors mun, aw think, be quite devine;
for it’s a batch of Adams wine we gat at the Creation”.

 

 

Carter’s Well was Low Fell’s main source of water until the Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company supplied the village with a water supply in the late nineteenth century. Gateshead Council closed the well in 1895 having found a sample to be contaminated with foreign bodies.

 

More photos, information (and bad poetry !) regarding this well at http://holywells.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=259

 

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Spanish Sunday (Palm Sunday) Customs

Spanish Sunday is an old name for Palm Sunday in the English Midland counties, and in parts of the West riding of Yorkshire.

It’s derived from a children’s custom that flourished there as recently as the first two decades of the 20th century, and of which traces may still remain in a few districts.

A sweet drink was made for the festival from broken pieces of Spanish liquorice, peppermint or lemon sweets, brown sugar, and well-water. The solid ingredients were put into glass bottles on the previous evening, and a little water was added to make a thick, rich sediment.

On Palm Sunday morning, the children went to some local holy or wishing-well, walked round it once (or in some places three times) and then filled the  bottles with its water. Almost every region had some particular spring  which was visited for this purpose, and to it children came from surrounding parishes in quite considerable numbers.

When the bottles were filled, they were vigorously shaken, and as soon as the sweet sediment was sufficiently dissolved to flavour the water, the ‘Spanish’ drink was ready to use.

For more on this subject, view the thread dedicated to it on the Holy Wells & Water Lore Forum –  here.

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St. Mary’s Well, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne

More photos of St Mary’s Well at Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne…

 

The dimensions and shape of the site make it difficult to get a decent photograph of…but we try.

More photos, site history, etc at this thread on the Holy Wells & Water Lore Forum –  http://holywells.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=74&p=1

 

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St. Mary’s Well, Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne

 

A quick visit to St Mary’s Well in Jesmond, Newcastle Upon Tyne, a couple of days ago saw an interesting development – remains of candles at the well, what was possibly an incense burner and a ribbon tied to an overhanging branch.

The nearby ruins of St Mary’s Chapel are always decorated with candles, fresh flowers, Roman Catholic iconography, etc, but this is the first time I’ve noted evidence of worship at the well.

More photos, the story of this well, etc can be found at the Holy Wells & Water Lore forum –

http://holywells.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=74&p=1

 

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Galilee Well, Durham City

Uh-oh… here comes another of those County Durham wells with no apparent history despite, in this case, it being built into the wall of Durham Cathedral itself.

 

Peering between the bars of the grill, there is some water down there in the stone-lined chamber, along with leaves and the inevitable debris of  modern human life – sweet wrappers, bits of polystyrene, etc. These will all be of great interest to some archaeologist in a few centuries time, but dont really add much to the contemporary asthetic. The water presumably runs in from the pathway during rain, and/or seeps in from the ground.

 

Full article and follow-up posts –

http://holywells.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=72

 

 

 

 

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Lady Well, Hempsted, Gloucester

 

 

The well house of the Lady Well at Hempstead, Gloucester, is the image adopted as the logo of the Holy Wells & Water Lore forumhttp://holywells.boardhost.com

 

The well house is supposed to have been  built for the Manor of Hempsted in late C14, held by the former Augustinian Priory of Llanthony Secunda, and is supposed to have  been known as Lady Well, Lady’s Well, or Our Lady’s Well since at least the late 18th century.

 One tradition claims that the Virgin Mary, set foot here, and that the spring arose to quench her thirst. On the other hand, an alternative story is that the well was dedicated to Saint Anne, the supposed mother of the Virgin Mary.

 

 

For the full article and more images –

http://holywells.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=35

 

 

 

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