St. Mary’s Well, Wallingwells, Nottinghamshire

Holy Well:  OS Grid Reference – SK 572 840

Archaeology & History

Old photo of St Mary's Well

Old photo of St Mary’s Well

First mentioned in Pipe Rolls and referred to by the founder of Wallingwells Benedictine Priory (founded around 1150 CE) as ‘juxta fonts et rivum fontium’, the site Wallingwell or originally Waldon-by-the-Wells, may be significant.  The name refers to ‘bubbling wells’, but whether these wells were dedicated appears to be unknown, although it does seem likely.  Indeed, an anonymous article from the Worksop Guardian dated 1929 on the Wallingwell Estate, shows the well arising under a rough stone work arch beside the site of a lake.  Close by, appears to be a grotto of a similar construction. The article states that the grotto was built 250 years (from 1929 this suggests a date of 1679 which appears a little too early for this folly, a date in the 18th century being more likely). This was done by Thomas White using stone from petrified springs in Derbyshire. No reference is made of the well, but one assumes that it was built at the same time, but whether White was constructing a folly around an existing traditional site again is unknown.

Baker (2000) refers to the castle folly but fails to reference these sites suggesting that it had vanished. However, grotto and well still exist in the overgrown and forlorn garden to the back of the house.  The grotto is well-preserved, although signs of ruination are evident and the urn within has gone.

The internal brickwork

The internal brickwork

The overgrown well

The overgrown well

St. Mary’s Well is the most ruined. The archway appears to have fallen or been knocked down but the channel or basin the spring flows into still exists. Observation underneath a flattened stone covering the channel show that the spring flows from a pipe further up and under a series of neat brick arches. It is clear that the well structure was never accessible as it abutts onto the Lake, but was designed to be seen from the other side of the Lake. This view now is difficult due to the considerable plant growth obscuring the sites. It is good to see that the well still exists and hopefully the garden could be restored.

Extracted from R. B. Parish (2009) Holy Wells and Healing Springs of Nottinghamshire


  1. Holy & Healing Wells

© R.B. Parish, The Northern Antiquarian

Swinston Hill, Dinnington, South Yorkshire

Settlement:  OS Grid Reference – SK 5395 8460

Archaeology & History

Bronze Torc found at site
Details drawn by R.Sheppard

In August, 1984, a Mr James Rickett was out with his metal-detector, scanning the Swinston woodland area south of Dinnington, when he was fortunate to locate a superb, ornamental ‘Celtic’-design bronze torc, thought to be of Romano-British origin, and believed to have been made in either the 1st or 2nd century AD.  Following Mr Rickett’s discovery, a small team from the Sheffield City Museum and the South Yorkshire Archaeoloogy Unit got off their backsides and did a survey of the region where the torc had been found —and they weren’t to be disappointed!

An initial assumption based on place-name evidences led them to believe that a settlement of the Saxon period may once have been here; but their investigations

“located the earthworks of a sub-rectangular enclosure, 40m by 25m, and possible fields about 140m south of the discovery site (South Yorkshire SMR record no.PI3021).  The enclosure is sub-divided into a smaller and a larger compound with no surface evidence for ditches associated with the stony banks, which enclose a total area of about 0.1 hectares.  In both size and shape it compares closely with the class of very numerous small ditched enclosures… The origins of some may lie in the late Iron Age, but fieldwork and excavation have produced predominantly Romano-British material. Other local metal detector finds, some from this enclosure, include first- to fourth-century Romano-British material.”


  1. Beswick, Pauline, Megaw, M.R., Megaw, J.V.S. & Northover, Peter, “A Decorated Late Iron Age Torc from Dinnington, South Yorkshire,” in The Antiquaries Journal, 70:1, 1990.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian