Sweet Willy Well, Wrose, Shipley, West Yorkshire

Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – SE 16561 36440

Also Known as:

  1. Lin Well
  2. Silver Stream
  3. Sugar Stream

Getting Here

Sweet Willy Well, Eccleshill
Sweet Willy Well, Eccleshill

Whether you’re coming here from Wrose or Eccleshill, go along Wrose Road and turn down Livingstone Road at the traffic lights. Down here, when the road splits, head to your right until you meet with those stupid road-block marks (where you can only get one car through). Just here, walk down the slope and path on your right, and before you hit the bottom of the slope, walk down the small valley for about 20 yards until you see the small stream appear from beneath some overgrown man-made stone lintels. That’s it!

Archaeology & History

When I was a kid I used to play down this tiny valley when the waters here still had small fish swimming away (we used to call them ‘tiddlers’). The fish seem to have gone, but there are still waterboatmen on the surface, indicating that we still have fresh water here – and on my most recent visit, I cautiously tasted the waters and found them OK (the prevalence of broken bottles and beer cans from locals doesn’t inspire you to drink here though).

Initially located on the local boundary line between Eccleshill and Wrose, the waters used to be found running into a trough about 100 yards further up the small valley, but this has been lost and housing now covers its original site.  You can see how the stream has cut the valley further upstream, but now it bubbles up from beneath the rocks shown in the photo.  Bradford historian Robert Allen (1927) described the site in his survey as originally being between North Spring and South Spring Wood.

Although the name Sweet Willy Well remains a mystery, one of its other titles — the Lin Well — relates to the presence of linnets that used to be found in great numbers here.  The ‘Sugar Stream’ name is one we knew it as locally as children, due to the once sweet taste of the waters.  It is likely to have had medicinal properties, but these have been forgotten.  No archaeological survey has ever been done of this site.


  1. Allen, Robert C. (ed.), The History Of Bolton In Bradford-Dale; with Notes on Bradford, Eccleshill, Idle, Undercliffe, Feather Bros: Bradford 1927.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian