Yorkshire Holy Wells



Holy Wells - Lastingham
This group of village wells have changed little since our visit in 1988. The 3 saints are connected with the founding of a celtic monastery at Lastingham in 657AD, but how long these particular wells have been connected with the celtic saints is not clear. The Rev. F.H. Weston (1) writing in 1914, states that St. Cedd's well, with its ancient looking well house, was infact a modern constuction reusing stone from Rosedale abbey, which might suggest a 19th century lord of the manor or local minister may have been promoting Lastingham's early christian heritage. 

St Chad's Well
The arched recess in this wall houses a hand operated pump, which is positioned above a chamber in which the water collects. There was water in the chamber in June 1999, but unfortunately the pump had no handle.
R.C. Hope (2) mentions the conversion of Wulfhere, king of Mercia, whose story was portrayed in the medieval stained glass windows at Peterborough cathedral. The story, in verse form starts....

"The hart brought Wulfade to a well
That was beside seynt Chaddy's cell"

(However this verse is likley to refer to the St Chad's at Stowe near Lichfield)

St Cedd's Well

This grand well structure is located by the main road through the village, at some time a domestic tap has been piped into the well house, but this supply is now shut off. Originally it appears as if the water flowed down a pipe (from a spring?) in the banking behind the well and then flowed out of the mouth of the lions head mounted on the front panel of the well house.

St Ovin's Well

This arched recess looks as if it may have had a door at one time and the water could have collected in a trough at the bottom, if this was the case then it has been filled in and today there is no water. (Is it possible that the overflow from St Chad's well 'up the hill' supplied this well house?)


(1)Rev. F.H. Weston. History of Lastingham. 1914.
(2)R.C. Hope. The Legendary lore of the Holy wells of England. 1893.

Access - The wells are all by the roadside in the village.
Condition - Good, but a well house without water is a sad sight and a shame.