Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – SE 0655 4413
Also Known as:
- Peggy Mawson’s Well
- Peggy’s Well
From Riddlesden, take the road up to the moorland and Rivock Edge. When you reach the top (Silsden Road), turn left. Go on for about 600 yards till you reach the lovely tree-hidden old cottages of Holden Gate, on your right. Stop — and walk down the footpath opposite from here. As the wall goes down, you’ll notice a stream in the next field to your left, emerging from a clump of large rocks. That’s it! (there’s a footpath in the next field from the roadside)
Archaeology & History
Shown on the first OS-map as ‘Peggy Mawson’s Well,’ little else seems to known of this place; though it obviously got its name after the local lady, Peggy Mawson. I can find no further information about this lady, nor why the site was named after her. Any help here would be hugely appreciated!
Sadly the waters from beneath the rocks have been channeled into a couple of pipes and the well no longer runs. All that’s left is a small boggy region just in front of the boulders. You have to walk about 100 yards further down the field where the water emerges from a modern pipe. It doesn’t taste as nice as it originally did when coming straight from the ground, but it’s still quite drinkable (certainly beats any of the chlorinated stuff* that customers are forced to pay for, whether we want it or not – and most people don’t want it).
This site has acquired modern folklore, but sadly no early traditions have been found. Whelan & Taylor (1989) thought that Peggy Well’s “dedication suggests a connection with St. Margaret,” which unfortunately isn’t the case. Several years later another writer, Val Shepherd (1994), spun the speculation even further, not checking the historical background to the site, and thought that “the well’s name may be derived from the water spirit, ‘Peg,’ who gave her name to other wells.” Sadly neither idea holds any sway.
- Shepherd, Val, Historic Wells in and Around Bradford, HOAP: Loughborough 1994.
- Whelan, Edna & Taylor, Ian, Yorkshire Holy Wells and Sacred Springs, Northern Lights: Pocklington 1989.
* Anyone know about this: surely because the water companies chlorinate and add other undesirable toxins into our tap water, what we’re actually drinking is a very weak solution and not actually water. Isn’t that a trading standards violation?
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian