In Calverton, take Renals Way off the main street and follow it around until you reach the end and a copse. Take the left hand path. When the footbridge is reached the spring head is encountered.
Archaeology & History
Also known as the Keen Well, fortunately it still survives. It arises between some sandstone blocks forming a small cave where a strong spring flows and fills a small pool with some rough stones around it. The pool does not appear very deep although is it overgrown in parts. A footbridge crosses over the springhead, meaning that one has to peer under it to see the spring. The area surrounding Renals Way and Dark Lane is ear-marked for development and I hope that this spring can survive this stage of its history.
Bob Morrell (1988) in his Holy Wells of Nottinghamshire notes a site (although he does not name it), which was attended by pilgrims near and far, and had the tradition that ‘kings’ after hunting in Sherwood Forest would visit it ‘to quaff the nectar’.
In the well chamber it looks a natural spring
Close view of the spring head
Morrell (1988) fails to state whether it still existed, but the site in question would appear to be the Keen Well. It’s name being possibly derived from King’s Well. According to Mr. Peck of the local history museum, this was supposed to have used by ‘Old Saxon Kings’ to bathe their eyes as a protection against failing sight. One of the medieval kings and his attendants are also reputed to have stopped here whilst travelling to the North.
R.W. Morrell (1988) Nottinghamshire Holy Wells
R.B. Parish (2008) Holy wells and healing springs of Nottinghamshire
From Keighley town centre, take the main road to Oakworth (B6143) and you’ll see it right by the main roadside, about a mile up on the left-hand side upon a small grassy area in Exley Head, just past the turning up to Wheathead.
Archaeology & History
The upright stone monolith, or cross, which would once have stood here has long since disappeared. All we are left with today is the large cross-base by the roadside: roughly squared, with a large hollow at the centre in which the upright stone cross originally stood erect! In the past, a number of archaeologists and historians have speculated that the Exley Head Cross dated from as early as the 9th up till the 15th century. We may never find out for certain, though it’s likely a post-Domesday medieval relic. It’s position at the roadside gives it the category of being a ‘Wayside Cross’ and it is likely one in a deliberate sequence that were placed along the ancient route from above Keighley, to Oakworth and over the border into Lancashire, near Wycoller and beyond.
Quite why it was placed here is something we may never know: though it is close by an old crossroads and could have replaced an earlier heathen site, but I’ve found no records to indicate this. Its position in the landscape would also have been more impressive before the housing was here, previously giving a wide open view of the Aire Valley below. I’d be grateful for any more info on this site.
Brigg, J.J. & Villy, F., “Three Ancient Crosses near Keighley,” in Bradford Antiquary, New Series 6, 1921.