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Well Dressing

Page history last edited by Ann Vipond 4 years, 5 months ago

Well Dressing


The ancient custom known as Well Dressing is peculiar to England, and Derbyshire and Staffordshire in particular.


When did well dressing begin and why did it begin in Derbyshire?


Well dressing is actually a bit of a mystery. Perhaps we can look to the location of Derbyshire as a reason why the custom developed here and nowhere else. Derbyshire is a very beautiful but remote county, even nowadays with modern road infrastructure. The Derbyshire hills and dales make it difficult to pass easily from place to place. If the practice of well dressing dates back to the Celts, then perhaps the remoteness of the Derbyshire dales prevented the succeeding RomanSaxon, Danish and Norman invaders from imposing their customs on the local people.

The early Christians were not happy with the custom of dressing wells - they considered it water worship and promptly put an end to it!

But the tradition refused to die. Tissington was the first village to re-introduce well dressing in 1349, after the village managed to escape a terrible outbreak of the Black Death that swept through England at this time. Many villages began to dress the new water taps when piped water first came to the villages.


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Kemsing Well Dressing 2014


Information supplied by Elizabeth

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