Taddington Well Dressing and Flower Festival 2015

Taddington Well Dressing and Flower Festival is taking place 22nd August- 28th August 2015. The Well in Blackwell will be blessed at 10am on Saturday by the vicar and then he moves on to Taddington. We will have leaflets regarding other things going on in the shop.

This year they are claying and decorating the boards in our shed, so visitors can come and see this happening.

The origin of well dressing is difficult to establish and much disputed. Some claim that it goes back to the Celts who arrived in Britain in 400 BC. Certainly it was a Celtic practice to worship the local water gods and the Celts were responsible for other local ceremonies which have survived into the modern age such as garland festivals, corn dollies and maypole dancing. But whether wells and springs were decorated with flowers in the Iron Age is impossible to prove.

Others claim that it derives from the time of the Black Death or great plague of 1348-1349 which ravaged the country killing up to half the population. Where the death toll was less severe, it was sometimes erroneously believed that salvation had come from the purity of the local water supply for which thanksgiving and celebration ought to be offered.

What is more certain is that the first undisputed record of well dressing was at Tissington in 1615 after the five wells of the village had continued to flow even at the end of the severe drought of that year which had lasted for over 4 months. Many other villages on the limestone plateau of the High Peak took up the practice thereafter. Before the arrival of a piped public water supply, the White Peak was entirely dependant on spring water and reliable springs were rare because the abundant rainfall tended to seep through the porous limestone into underground channels without emerging above ground before reaching the rivers.

Taddington has two wells, High Well just above the village and Blackwell Well adjacent to Blackwell Crossroads. The wells emerge from water that has flowed along the lava flows over the limestone from a volcano which used to be sited at Millers Dale.

Below are some pictures from last year…