Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – SD 92104 43179
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
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 In 1812 an Act of Parliament against non-Conformists was repealed and dissenters were given equality regarding where they could worship.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.
- Oldland, Fay, The Story Of Foulridge, Pendle Heritage Centre Ltd, 1990.
Copyright © Ray Spencer 2011