Healing Wells: OS Grid Reference – TQ 590 850
Archaeology & History
Although nothing is made of this site in Reaney’s Place-Names of Essex (1935), in Mr Wilson’s (1881) great history book of this region he told that an early spelling of the village was Wokyndon Septemfontium, or Setfontayna and also Seetfountaynes, indicating it as a “site of seven springs of water.” Amidst a quite different and plain derivation of Ockendon being little other than ‘Wocca’s Hill,’ Reaney (1935) does mention how the village “was also named after Ralph de Septem Fontibus,” which is certainly “Ralph of the Seven Springs,” but says nothing more about it, as if to quaintly pass it by. There is a similar local notary of the Baldwin family from the village who, in 1320, styled himself as ‘Badewinus de Wokyndon Setfontans’ relating again to Seven Springs. However, no precise geographical position can be shown where such waters arose and no field-name surveys exist to substantiate the whereabouts of the site. In the fine synopsis on mineral wells by Christy & Thresh (1910) they also cite these early literary accounts, but are unable to provide a location. Does anyone know more?
- Christy M. & Thresh, M., A History of the Mineral Waters and Medicinal Springs of the County of Essex, Essex Field Club: Stratford & London 1910.
- Reaney, Paul, The Place-Names of Essex, Cambridge University Press 1935.
- Wilson, T.L., History and Topography of Upminster, Wilson & Whitworth: Romford 1881.
This site entry is dedicated to Sarah Hunt, once of North Ockendon, wherever she may be…
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian