Fag Well, Finsbury, London

Healing Well (lost):  OS Grid Reference – TQ 315 817

Also Known as:

  1. Fagge’s Well

Archaeology & History

First described in local church records from around 1190 AD (Webb 1921) as Fageswelle; then again a few years later in early crime records of the region (Hardy & Page, 1892) as Fackeswell, there were a number of other references to this lost water source, which could once be found near the Skinners Well and the more famous Clerks Well, Finsbury.  Gover, Mawer & Stenton (1942) believed the site owed its title to some long-forgotten local name, though could give no specifics. (i.e., they didn’t know!)  The old dialect word ‘fag’, relating to old grass is as good a meaning as any!

The site was described by John Stow in his Survey of London, 1603, saying it was “near unto Smithfield by Charterhouse, lately dammed up.”  In Mr Foord’s (1910) excellent work on the subject, he told that,

“In 1197 certain lands are described as lying between the garden of the Hospitallers and Smithfield Bar, “super rivulum de Fackeswell,” and other lands as between that brook and ‘Chikennelane’… This fixes the position of Faggeswell Brook as approximately at the boundary of the City.”

Further information about this site would be much appreciated.  The grid-reference for this site is an approximation.


  1. Foord, Alfred Stanley, Springs, Streams and Spas of London: History and Association, T. Fisher Unwin: London 1910.
  2. Gover, J.E.B., Mawer, Allen & Stenton, F.M., The Place-Names of Middlesex, Cambridge University Press 1942.
  3. Hardy, W.J. & Page, W. (eds), A Calendar of Feet of Fines for London and Middlesex, 1197-1569 – volume 1, Hardy & Page: London 1892.
  4. Sunderland, Septimus, Old London Spas, Baths and Wells, John Bale: London 1915.
  5. Webb, E.A. (ed.), The Records of St. Bartholomew’s Priory, and of the Church and Parish of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield – volume 1, Humphrey Milford: Oxford 1921.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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