Balk Well, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – SE 19616 23695

Getting Here

The Ferner at the Balk Well

Along Halifax Road (A649), get to the Shears Inn and then take the footpath at the back of the pub that runs down the side of the fields and alongside the allotments.  Less than 150 yards down, just through the stile into the edge of the field on your left, you’ll see the side-edge of a large flat stone in the grasses.  Check it out!

Archaeology & History

Along with the Attack Well and Tree Root Well, this was one of three springs close to each other that gave local villagers their water supply in bygone times.  When we visited here at the height of a long warm spell in the summer of 2023, there was still was a small amount of clear water trickling beneath the long flat slab of stone — although it was somewhat clogged-up with vegetation.  It wouldn’t take much work to completely clean this out and use the fresh drinking water once again.

The well gained its name from its position in the land, with balk, being “a portion of a field left unploughed”, or “a strip of ground left untilled” and variants thereof.

References:

  1. Wright, Joseph, The English Dialect Dictionary – volume 1, Henry Frowde: London 1898.

Acknowledgements: Huge thanks to the great Gary Ferner, for use of his photo and the day’s venture!

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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