A Royal Silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II., that will be familiar to many. But not I think in this unusual floral style.
It is part of the annual Well Dressing Celebrations in the village of Tissington, in the Peak District of Derbyshire… This is Hall Well in the centre of the village… Like other Wells in the village, this year’s Platinum Jubilee occasion is recognized
Last Thursday, the 26th May was Ascension Day, the day when these village wells are blessed. It also marks the start of the Well Dressing season for this ancient Derbyshire custom across the county..
Well Dressing is believed to have pagan origins, when folk gave thanks for the wells that gave them pure water. Later, following the Black Death Plague, that vital importance of clean fresh water once again came to the fore.
Blessing the Wells, was adopted by the Christian Churches, probably keen to eradicate pagan links .
There are 5 Wells in Tissington, each is ‘dressed’ with display boards. They are first covered in clay, then teams of creative locals produce some fantastic pieces of art …. just with flower petals, seeds, eggshells and other hedgerow greenery (natural products only)
Hands Well ……..and the miniature Childrens Well above.
Below is the Town Well. Based on a global climate theme. Note the skilful use of eggshells to represent the Icebergs, whilst sheep’s wool, scavenged from the hedges is used for the Polar Bear
Yew Tree Well presents a creative and very colourful King Tut
The final well is the Coffin Well. The well, is itself coffin shaped….. it is also suggested that this is where in days gone bye, that Coffins that had been carried for many miles across the countryside, paused before burial at St. Mary’s, Tissington’s Church.
As for the purity of the water, Tissington and its surround are built upon Limestone. Rainwater if filtered through this porous rock. Not far from here, across Derbyshire, are various Spa’s developed by the Victorians, keen to exploit the health benefits of this source of natural pure water. for drinking and bathing.
Saint Mary’s and the village is also well worth an explore, even when the Dressings have been removed. Those skilled artists can again start t think of next year’s themes.
Another weekend nearly over. A new week ahead… so whatever lies in store for all of us….
Please Remember ….
Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other
(C) David Oakes 2022