Sacred Well: OS Grid Reference – ST 53243 68625
Go up the nicely-named Wildcountry Lane at the staggered crossroads on the edge of Barrow Gurney for about a half-mile, watching out for the dip in the road where it crosses the stream. Walk up the stream here for a coupla hundred yards, keeping your eyes peeled for the small spring on your left just past where a footpath crosses the stream.
Archaeology & History
Little of historical nature is known of this site, found in the dip near the stream, though it was much frequented in bygone centuries as a curative place for sore eyes.
Although named after the little people, Phil Quinn (1999) wrote that,
“even the oldest villager cannot remember how the fairies became connected with this well. All that is told is that the people would go to the well to bathe their eyes, for the water was believed to be good in the treatment of all eye complaints. A local woman remembers that her father, who worked the land in this neighbourhood, would always drink from the well using a cup which was never taken away or used for any other purpose.”
It is likely that the fairy association here derived from the proximity of a nearby prehistoric tomb, cairn or similar archaeological remain. The aptly-named Barrow Wood immediately east and other ‘barrow’ place-names nearby would add weight to this notion. (faerie-lore has widespread associations with prehistoric tombs and similar relics)
- Quinn, Phil, The Holy Wells of Bath and Bristol Region, Logaston: Almeley 1999.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian