Our usual Wednesday outing, cut short by a prior appointment of my photography colleague (and his insistence on visiting a bicycle shop), amounted to exploring a small nature reserve on the perimeter of a private wood. Nothing much to speak of, or photograph come to that. But experience has taught me there is invariably something that will intrigue – if not from a photography point of view.
And so was the case here, at Picking Gill Nature Reserve, in the appearance of this rather sorry looking hole in the ground. Lined with worked stone, water was flowing from a pipe further back in the bank over the lip of the basin formed by the stone, forming a small beck which followed the contour of the slope down into a small lake in the private wood.
I’ve done a little research since arriving back home and it turns out this is probably known as Wine Wife Well. How old it is, or rather, how long it has been known as such I don’t know, but it is one of what seem to be known as holy or folk wells, scattered round the countryside of Britain.
There are many natural springs around, why some should be known as holy wells/folk wells I don’t know – but it seems as if I will have to add something else to my list of things to look out for when I go out on my church/landscape photography trips.
I hope you have a tick list of what to look for 🙂
🙂 – it becoming increasingly like the memory game – “I pack my bag and in it I put” – I think a tick list may very well be the order of the day!
Fascinating! Where exactly is this located? Are there any old timers who might know more about this and why it was considered “holy?”
The well is on the outskirts of a village called Sawley in North Yorkshire, England – about 20 miles from where I live.
It seems there may be a couple of wells much closer – it looks like another of those slippery slidey slope subjects, the more you find out the more have to know! 😉
I’m not sure if this one is ‘holy’ – I would expect the name to reference a saint. However, a little research shows I may have a couple of ‘holy’ wells closer to home. It seems many of these springs tend to lack the care that we might expect and have become overgrown or lost..
Somehow I didn’t think it would be a tale about you giving your wife lots of wine. Great to discover unexpected historical things – you live in a perfect country for that.
just wanted to say congratulations on your one year of blogging, but the comment section for that post has been closed…so I’ll leave it here! stopped by from Leanne Cole’s blog…
My original reason for that post was to thank people for being so kind in supporting me in my first year – but in hindsight it appeared to be a post soliciting praise, which I felt embarrassed about.
Leanne has a great multi-faceted blog.
Sounds intriguing. I love exploring!
Exploring is one of the joys I take from my landscape/architectural photography – there always seems to be something that rears it’s head, even on the most lack lustre days.
I’d like to think that there is a story or folk tale behind the name.
“The name Wine Wife is unusual and its meaning something of a puzzle. The term Ale-wife is on record and refers back to a time when the women of a household used to brew beer (the staple drink in Middle Ages, being safer to drink than the water!) The name later referred to a women who ran an inn or tavern – the equivalent of our modern ‘land lady’.” – quote from http://www.halikeld.f9.co.uk/holywells/north/wife2.htm – may also be associated with ‘Old Wife’,