The fourth damp and misty morning in a row. So when the skies clear …
Dingledow is the name given on the Ordnance Survey 1856 map to these fields to the north of Great Ayton. Keeping alive a lost name.
Francis Grose wrote in 1773 :
BETWEEN the towns of Aten and Newton, near the foot of Rosberrye Toppinge, there is a well dedicated to St. Oswald. The neighbours have an opinion, that a shirt, or shift, taken off a sick person, and thrown into that well, will shew whether the person will recover, or die: for if it floated, it denoted the recovery of the party; if it sunk, there remained no hope of their life: and, to reward the Saint for his intelligence, they tear off a rag of the shirt, and leave it hanging on the briars thereabouts; ‘where,’ says the writer, ‘I have seen such numbers, as might have ‘made a fayre rheme in a paper myll.’
Grose, and later Rev. George Young in his “History of Whitby” (1817), are describing a custom that is still seen in Scotland where they are known as “Clootie Wells“.
From the description I reckon St. Oswald’s well to be in the wood on the bottom left of the photo. Chapel Well is shown on the 1856 map. Today there is no hint of any water, just a depression. Of course in the intervening centuries the wood has been bisected by the railway and extensive whinstone quarrying had taken place on Cliff Rigg. These would have affected the hydrology.
The exact location of this spring high on the summit of Roseberry Topping and intrigued me for years. It’s marked on the Ordnance Survey map as very near the rock outcrop on the bottom right of the photo. Yet it’s barely damp and hardly the spring where the young Prince Oswy drowned having been taken to the highest hill in the kingdom by his mother to escape a prophecy that he would drown on his second birthday. But I guess the mining activities and rockfalls could have altered the water table.
Below is Roseberry Common with Guisborough in the distance.
The last day of my assignment in Buxton and the last day of the town’s well dressing festival.
Well dressing is a traditional summer festival in the limestone country of the Derbyshire dales and most probably has pagan origins. Buxton is well known as a spa time (the Roman name for it was Aquae Arnemetiae which translates as the spa of the goddess of the grove) and its waters are said to have great medicinal powers including the relief of haemorrhoids, gout and menstruation.
St. Ann’s Well is located in the centre of Buxton and has been impressively decorated using thousands of flower petals inside a wood frame which has been placed in front of and hiding the stone carved drinking fountain; the continuous spout of water being diverted for the occasion. The water is sold as Buxton Water by Nestlé.
So if you suffer from haemorrhoids or just want to try the taste of Buxton water, pop down to your local Tesco and hand over your £1 and you can buy a bottle of the stuff.