Holy Well (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – SE 3060 3373
Archaeology & History
Deep in the industrial centre of Leeds, not far from the main bus station, could once be found one of Yorkshire’s many ‘Lady Wells’. The great historian and antiquarian Ralph Thoresby (1715) was the first to write of this great spring, which is now lost beneath the concrete buildings near Quarry Hill. He described it as,
“a noted spring…to this day called Lady Well and the adjoining way, Lady Lane.”
In 1806 Edward Baines of Leeds described this spring of “soft, pure water,” also telling it to be on Lady Lane, saying that
“At the bottom of this street is a spring of excellent water, called Lady-Well, which affords a copious supply of that necessary article to this populous part of town.”
This Lady Well was also included in Andrea Smith’s (1982) survey, who noted that less than two hundred yards northwest of was The Chantry of Our Lady. This church has medieval foundations and its dedication would be derived from the healing waters here; plus, Smith notes, in West Yorkshire, “the number of churches dedicated to Our Lady is only two and these are both classed as ancient.”
- Baines, Edward, The Leeds Guide, E. Baines: Leeds 1806.
- Smith, Andrea N., “Holy Wells in and around Bradford, Leeds and Pontefract,” in Wakefield Historical Society Journal, volume 9, 1982.
- Thoresby, Ralph, Ducatus Leodiensis, London 1715.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian