|Yorkshire Holy Wells|
Alkelda's Well (site of) - Middleham
On a visit to this well back in 1988 we
walked through the churchyard and across open fields to reach the site. A small wooden sign on the
tree by the well read 'St Alkelda's Well', but this was the only
real indication of the significance of this spot. Originally the water
from a spring behind the wall flowed through a gap in the walling and into a
trough below, but apparently the water stopped flowing after a school was built in the fields
to the south of the well.
A build up of 'petrified' moss and vegetation
can still be
seen below the opening where the water used to flow out and this indicates that the
spring water had a high mineral content. Such wells and spa's were often
regarded as having healing properties, and this is confirmed for St
Alkelda's Well by R.C. Hope (1) who noted that........
The connection with the nearby St Alkelda's church also makes it likely that the water from the well was used in church services and baptisms etc.
William Grainge (3), writing in the mid
1800's, described the well water as rising in the fields behind the
church and piped to a trough by the road. This field road is the modern footpath that passes the well today and
the few stones remaining on the site suggest a trough once stood by
the wall to catch the water (perhaps the broken trough pictured below?).
|Access - The well (site of) is on a public footpath that
runs from the west side of the church.
Condition - Neglected, - now just a hole in a dry stone wall.