Dissenters Well, Kelbrook, Earby, Lancashire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SD 92104 43179

Getting Here

From Kelbrook village head south past Old Stone Trough then continue as far as the lane goes. Then head eastwards for about 1 mile on footpaths to a building called Laycocks. From here continue east along footpaths for another 1 mile or so until you reach Copy House (now called Hawres Farm). Go to the back of the farm where you will see in the wall a cross-incised boundary stone. At the side there is a square-shaped holy well. (You may need to ask permission at the farm).

Archaeology & History

Dissenters Well & Cross (image courtesy ‘QDanT’)

The so-called Dissenters’ Well is a rectangular feature in the ground next to the wall.  It is said locally to date from the 17th-18th century, but is most probably an ancient moorland spring.  The well was in use from the 17th century by Quakers, Baptists, Methodists and possibly Roman Catholics, at a time when there was much animosity towards non-Conformists.  Legislation was passed stopping all illegal gatherings to be held within a 5 mile radius of any church – thus leading to religious gatherings in bleak, remote places on the moorland above towns and villages.  In 1812 an Act of Parliament against non-Conformists was repealed and dissenters were given equality regarding where they could worship. The water in the well no doubt had some medicinal qualities or, was a source of spiritual up-lift at the time.

By the well there is 3 foot high pointed boundary stone or waymarker known as ‘Tom’s Cross’ and it has a thin incised cross carved onto it.  The stone is partly embedded in the wall.  It probably marks the old boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire.  I don’t know who Tom was though he may have been the person who set up the stone. The age of the stone is not known.

The Bleara Lowe tumulus and its nearby prehistoric companion can be found upon the hilltop a mile north of here.


  1. Oldland, Fay, The Story Of Foulridge, Pendle Heritage Centre Ltd, 1990.

Copyright ©  Ray Spencer 2011

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3 thoughts on “Dissenters Well, Kelbrook, Earby, Lancashire”

  1. Over 1 mile out with the Grid Ref. given, the proper one is SD 92104 43179 because I’ve been there, feel free to use forum holy wells photo’s
    cheers Danny

    1. Hi Danny – Many thanks for the updated grid-ref & image. Much appreciated!
      All the best – Paul

  2. Hi Paul it seems a long uphill start from Kelbrook , unless you like walking ? I’ve put another map on the forum, showing area and it’s Harwes Farm.
    cheers Danny

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