Bride's Well






Figure 1
Figure 2


Fig. 1 is from Philip Rahtz (1974). The known "Saint Bride's Well," which was venerated around 100 years ago or so, was filled in and marked with the Beckery Stone (top left). The stone was later moved to the middle of the field to avoid being covered by the building up of the bank but this made tilling difficult so it was moved back to where (we think) is in line with the buried site. This "Bride's Well" was a surrogate for the old, lost original well (which may, or may not, have existed) and was actually a sluice at the end of a drainage ditch (rhyne) where it emptied into the River Brue. There was a hawthorn (probably native, rather than a "holy thorn"), which grew along side it, that people adorned with clooties. 

Rahtz makes no comment about the "spring" or how he determined its position but this appears to be his location for the original well.


Fig. 2 is from John Goodchild (c.1900) and shows the sluice-well and thorn tree (marked "thorn") by the river. It also shows his landscape effigy - the "Beckery Salmon" which he claimed to be gleaned from a local, oral, folk tradition. He referred to the original well as the "Eye of the Salmon" which is on the ridge as drawn. Saint Brighid's Chapel, now completely buried on the summit, is marked as "Bride's Hill" but was also referred to, by Goodchild, as "the Salmon's Back." Another legend is that King Arthur's knights "...rode the Salmon's back" to Gloucester - perhaps a reference to some kind of teleportation. As the ridge extends down to the river, it is perplexing why Goodchild did not draw the salmon with it's nose at the bottom of it. Had he have done so, the "eye" would be about where Rahtz places the well. Perhaps Rahtz drew his Area Plan from Goodchild's written description. 



The Beckery Stone - designed and erected by Wellesley Tudor-Pole