Having posted last week about the Village of Eyam in Derbyshire, cancelling its commemorative annual church service this year because of the corvid 19 virus I discovered another effect of the virus on traditional events which normally occur at this time.
Well Dressing is a tradition centred on the communities of the Derbyshire Peak District which usually takes place between May and the end of September. Different towns and villages decorate their wells at varying dates within that time period. Its origins are unsure, some suggest that it has Christian origins and began as a thanks for salvation during the period of the black death plague during the 1300s. There is evidence of the village of Tissington’s taking place during that period. However, most believe that the ceremony has a pagan origin, connected to worship of gods of springs and wells. Some people believe that the origins are Celtic and predate the Roman occupation of Britain, surviving the subsequent Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman influxes Since at least the middle-ages decorations usually follow Christian themes, sometimes linked to local or national events. The displays are made out of flowers and other natural materials.
Originating in the Derbyshire hills and a few communities in neighbouring Staffordshire the tradition has spread over the years and nowadays, some other areas of the county including the City of Derby itself also decorate a well.
Unfortunately, this year, many of the well dressing dedication ceremonies have been cancelled.
Suzanne from ’Lets go Peak District’ (Youtube)
Peak District Videos (Youtube)