Ladywell - Wiltshire Holy Wells - At the Sign of the Black Cat
Ladywell, Edington

The monks' well at Edington Priory

Ladywell lies tucked close into a wooded fold in the land. The well-house is built of dressed stone, with a squared-off doorway out of which flows a vigorous stream. The roof is steeply pitched, much overgrown with ivy, and the simple cell-like building nestles into the slope at right-angles. Inside the well-house the roof is braced with stone struts. The water wells up in the back right-hand corner, pouring out over a natural-looking outcrop of stone some 2-3 feet high. A long stone trough is built against the left wall, and the water flows into this as well as over the gravelly floor and out through the entrance. Old pipes in and above the trough show that the water has long been pumped away from the spring. There is much graffiti scratched on the walls and over the doorway: "Alf Oram" "D. Wordley 1948"; "1917" etc. There is also a curious scratch of what looks like a spade handle protruding from a bucket - but which may have a more earthy fertility significance!

Ladywell stands on land belonging to a local farmer, W.J. Gale, who pumps water from the spring up to the hills on the edge of Salisbury Plain, to fill his cattle troughs. No matter what the weather, the force of the water never varies.

The well is not generally known in Edington, and those who know it tend to call it by the name Pevsner notes, Monks' Well. But in Bratton nearby old residents know it as Ladywell. There once was a row of cottages on the road above the well, but these were all burned down in a fire: the firemen were all out having a good time and so nobody came to fight the fire - even with such an excellent supply of water nearby.

 

Location

ST 924530 OS 1:25 000 Sheet 1200.

Approach Edington on road leading from Westbury and Bratton. Park in the layby on the right just before the village begins. Walk carefully along the road past a cottage on the right and a road on the left. Old white iron railings run alongside the road on the left, and at the end of these is the entrance to the path down to Ladywell. This is a right-of-way over private land: please make sure you stay on the path in case you are challenged by the landowners. Ladywell lies at the end of the path on the right - you will hear the water before you see either the stream or the well.

Oral Sources

Ladywell is a holy well. Jean Morrison & Kathleen White, Bratton Historical Society, December 1995.

Cottages burned down. Kathleen White, as above.

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Wiltshire Holy Wells

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At the Sign of the Black Cat