St Margaret’s Well, Hasbury, Worcestershire

Holy Well (destroyed?):  OS Grid Reference – SO 9609 8284

Archaeology & History

The site on the 1904 map

Shown on the 1904 OS-map, beneath the aptly-named St Margaret’s Hill on its northern side, we can see where the holy well of St Margaret used to be, not too long ago.  Although it seems to have fallen pray to industrial destruction, there are a number of old references to the site, mainly gathered together in Jeremy Harte’s (2008) magnum opus on the subject.  It was also mentioned in a survey by the British Geological Society (Richardson 1930) where we were told that it was,

“in the private grounds of a house recently erected, and is a spring issuing from the Halesowen Sandstone at the junction of two faults (shown west of the ‘H’ of Hasbury on the new series Geological Map, Sheet 168) about 100 yds SW of the point where Blackberry Lane joins Hagley Road.  It is referred to, as a well of good cold unmineralised water, by T. Nash in 1781.”

And it was Mr Nash who gave us the earliest description of the place, saying:

“In the hamlet or township of Hasbury is an ancient holy well, called St Margaret’s Well, which formerly had much good stonework about it; but that was wholly removed in the year 1747.  One of these stones contained some curious sculpture, the figure of a man in a posture of hasty walking, and in the next compartment that of another man leaning on crutches… This place is called Margaret’s Hill and the water of the well supplies a small brook, which runs below the Grange, and falls into a piece of water at the end of the town, called Cornbow Pool.”

It’s more than probable that the old carvings he described—of one man on crutches and the other of a figure walking speedily—represents one of the main curative allegations that these waters possessed.  Cases of people walking on crutches to sacred wells, drinking the waters, then walking away without them (and in many cases leaving their crutches at the well-side as testament to its properties) are commonplace.  And, aptly enough, the curative elements of this ancient site have been maintained in modern times with the medical centre of St Margaret’s Well Surgery being built by this very spot!

References:

  1. Harte, Jeremy, English Holy Wells – volume 2, HOAP: Wymeswold 2008.
  2. Nash, T.R., Collections for the History of Worcestershire – volume 1, John White: London 1781.
  3. Richardson, L.R., Wells and Springs of Worcestershire, HMSO: London 1930.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Holy Well, Kislingbury, Northamptonshire

Holy Well (lost):  OS Grid Reference – SP 698 575

Archaeology & History

Hollowell Farm on 1885 map

A mile south of Kislingbury village, just by the roadside is the old Hill Farm.  In times gone by—as the early OS-maps show—a trackway led from here, westwards, for just a few hundred yards, until it reached the old farm of Hollowell Hill, all trace of which has long since gone.  The farm owed its name to the existence of a holy well mentioned briefly in 14th century records in the Cartulary of St. Andrews, Northampton, where it was described as Halywellhille, or the Holy Well on a hill.  All trace of it seems to have been lost.  A ‘Spring’ that is shown on the 1885 map, a few hundred yards south of the old farm, seems to be the closest contender, but it seems more likely that the well was adjacent to, or beneath the farm-building.

References:

  1. Gover, J.E.B., Mawer, A. & Stenton, F.M., The Place-Names of Northamptonshire, Cambridge University Press 1975.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Market Cross, Hastings, Sussex

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – TQ 828 099

Also Known as

  1. North End’s Cross

Archaeology & History

This long-lost stone cross should not be confused with the more recent one, erected by one Mr H. C. Richards in 1901 to commemorate some malarky about Edward VII.  The one in this profile was much older than that, although both of them were erected close to each other.  The older cross was found, said T.H. Cole (1884), “at the head of the Town, near All Saints’ Church.” Also known as the North End’s Cross, the old market was held here and close by were the gallows, the whipping post and the stocks.

References:

  1. Cole, Thomas H., The Antiquities of Hastings and the Battlefield, Hastings St Leonards Phil. Society 1884.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Market Cross, Aynho, Northamptonshire

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SP 514 332

Archaeology & History

In John Bridges’ (1791) account of the parish of Aynho, he made mention of an old market cross that stood in the village, but even in his day it had been removed and so we know little about it.    Chris Markham (1901) included it in his inventory of crosses, but could find no additional details to those provided by Mr Bridges.  He told us:

“In the seventeenth year of Edward II (1323-4) John de Clavering was lord of the manor of Eynho, and obtained the King’s charter for a weekly mercate, or market, to be held every Tuesday, and a yearly fair on the vigil and day of St. Michael and two days following.  This market was continued until the twentieth year of James I (1622-3), when Richard Cartwright obtained a new charter for holding the market and fair, with the addition of another yearly fair on the Monday and Tuesday after Pentecost.  Bridges, however, writing about 1700, says that the market had been discontinued for some sixty years, and that the market cross had been then long since taken down. Since then the fairs have also sunk into desuetude.”

References:

  1. Bridges, John, The History and Antiquities of Northamptonshire – volume 1, T. Payne: Oxford 1791.
  2. Markham, Christopher A., The Stone Crosses of the County of Northampton, Simpkin Marshall: London 1901.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Village Cross, Leighterton, Gloucestershire

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – ST 824 910

Archaeology & History

Charles Pooley (1868) gave a somewhat vague description of this site, telling that, “there is authority for believing that at one time a Cross was set up in the village.”  I can find no other reference to this monument which, I presume, has been destroyed.  (the grid reference cited is an approximation near the centre of the village, where village crosses were usually located)

References:

  1. Pooley, Charles, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, Longmans Green: London 1868.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

St Pancras’ Well, Marshfield, Gloucestershire

Holy Well (lost):  OS Grid Reference – ST 766 743

Archaeology & History

In R.C. Skyring Walker’s (1928) fine survey of Gloucestershire’s holy wells, he lamented the passing of this site, telling how

“it is sad to relate that this well has totally disappeared and its precise site is unknown.”

Since those words, the situation regarding its whereabouts has not been resolved.  First mentioned in Samuel Rudder’s (1779) work, the main clue we’ve got regarding its whereabouts is his description of the adjoining hamlets and village tithes:

“Westonton, formerly called Old Marshfield, or Little Marshfield.  It has been a distinct parish, called St Pancras, according to Sir Robert Atkins, and a well in this hamlet still bears the name of that saint.”

‘Well’ on 1886 OS-map

Westonton is the old farmhouse of Westend Town less than a mile northwest of Marshfield where, on early Ordnance Survey maps, a Well is shown.  To the north of this is Springs Farm.  This latter name probably has no bearing on St Pancras’ Well; but the location cited by Rudder of the well being in Westend Town gives us a damn good indicator as to where local historians should dig for this forgotten sacred site.

The Well was described in T.D. Fosbroke’s (1807) work, but only in passing.  St Pancras’s festival date is April 3. (the grid reference cited for this well is an approximation)

References:

  1. Fosbroke, Thomas D., Abstracts of Records and Manuscripts Respecting the County of Gloucester – volume 2, J. Harris: Cirencester 1807.
  2. Rudder, Samuel, A New History of Gloucestershire, S. Rudder: Cirencester 1779.
  3. Smith, A.H., The Place-Names of Gloucestershire – volume 3, Cambridge University Press 1964.
  4. Walters, R.C. S., The Ancient Wells, Springs and Holy Wells of Gloucestershire, St Stephens Press: Bristol 1928.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Slaughter’s Well, Lechlade-on Thames, Gloucestershire

Healing Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SU 215 995

Archaeology & History

Not listed in the field-name surveys of the town, the name Slaughter Well was obviously a folk-name given to it by local people.  The place was mentioned in an unpublished manuscript that Adin Williams’ (1888) managed to lay his hands on, where it was mentioned in relation to the missing pyramidal Market Cross.  Its waters were “said to be medicinal.”  The name of the well was said to derive from a battle here between Oliver Cromwell’s men and the Royalists.  At this place,

“an officer was shot, and this incident gave the name ‘Slaughter’ to the well.”

References:

  1. Williams, Adin, Lechlade: Being the History of the Town, Manor and Estates, The Priory and the Church, E.W. Savory: Cirencester 1888.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

High Cross, Elkstone, Gloucestershire

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SO 9674 1321

Archaeology & History

High Cross on 1883 map

First shown on a 1775 map of the region, this long-lost site is preserved in several place-names near the old crossroads a half-mile north of Elkstone village.  It is mentioned, albeit briefly in Charles Pooley (1868) county survey, where he told that, “in former times a very handsome and lofty High Cross stood in this parish.”  However, there’s the possibility that the name ‘High’ cross may here derive simply from a cross located at a high point in the landscape.

An old ‘Guide Post’ marked on the early Ordnance Survey map at the same spot has been suggested by Danny Sullivan—and not without good reason—to be a prehistoric standing stone.  He may be right.

References:

  1. Pooley, Charles, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, Longmans Green: London 1868.
  2. Sullivan, D.P., Old Stones of the Cotswolds and the Forest of Dean, Reardon: Cheltenham 1999.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Churchyard Cross, St Briavel’s, Gloucestershire

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SO 559 047

Archaeology & History

At the church of St. Mary at the northern end of the village, Charles Pooley’s (1868) county survey told that,

“There was formerly a Cross in the churchyard near the south porch, but it was removed in the year 1830, when the new tower was built.”

It would seem there is no longer any trace of the monument.

References:

  1. Pooley, Charles, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, Longmans Green: London 1868.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Market Cross, Lechlade, Gloucestershire

Cross (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SU 214 995

Archaeology & History

In days of olde, Charles Pooley (1868) told us that “an old cross formerly stood in the Market-place” in the centre of the town where the old crossroads meet—as was customary for crosses and maypoles—just outside the church of St. Lawrence.  Pyramidal in form, it was mentioned in an old manuscript cited by Adin Williams (1888), which told us,

“Leland saith that in his days there was a Piramid of Stone at ye west end of ye Church, whose foundations are to be seen near Slaughter’s Well, which is said to be medicinal water.”

And although we don’t know when the cross was erected, we know when it was destroyed.  Williams again tells us:

“About 1770, Sir Jacob Wheate pulled down this cross.  He is said to have taken the stones to the house he was building.”

References:

  1. Pooley, Charles, Notes on the Old Crosses of Gloucestershire, Longmans Green: London 1868.
  2. Williams, Adin, Lechlade: Being the History of the Town, Manor and Estates, The Priory and the Church, E.W. Savory: Cirencester 1888.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian