Brackenfield and Middleton-By-Youlgrave - Well Dressings
w/e 25 May 2003
During the summer of 2003, a tradition almost unique
to Derbyshire, will be continued at many villages throughout
the county. At the last count you will be able to see well dressings
at 76 locations between May and September, most of them within
the county boundary. So what is "Well Dressing"? Click here to open
a window to read a leaflet about the tradition. The first well
dressings of the season took place at the beginning of May and
this Bank Holiday weekend there were dressings on view at five
more locations. We visited two of them and passed close to a
The first was at the small village of Brackenfield close to Ogston
Reservoir. This view of a dressed well at Nether Farm is typical
of the Derbyshire countryside in summer. To see a large version
(133kb) of the above picture click
here. To see a large version of a well dressing you'd best
come to Derbyshire!
The theme for all the well dressings in Brackenfield this year
was "The Environment" and the contribution outside
the Parish Church showed an otter with the message "Do not
pollute our waterways".
As part of the well dressing celebrations, the Church also had
a flower festival within its walls. Here the theme was "Opera
and Ballet". Beautiful flower displays adorned all of the
church (top left) with "The Nutcracker" being the theme
near the altar (bottom left) and "The Mikado" near
the lectern (right).
The Methodist Church also had a flower festival where "God's
Gifts" was the theme. From music to technology, all aspects
of God's gifts to man were illustrated and every nook and cranny
of the small church was filled with flowers.
Outside, the environment theme was well illustrated around the
village. "Fish got to swim and birds got to fly", "Save
our woodlands" and "The earth is for everyone"
were the messages on the three dressings shown above. Surprisingly
the pump on the village green was not dressed but did have a
plaque that read: "This former working well was reopened
to celebrate millennium 2000. The well supplied water for many
years but fell into disuse when the mains supply reached this
part of the village. Opened by Gladwyn Turbutt, High Sheriff
of Derbyshire 1998-99 on the 25th September 1999".
The piece de resistance though overlooked the green where, alongside
a signpost pointing to the other wells, a large panel depicted
a friendly looking bull peering over a style - testament indeed
to the craftsmanship and artistic talent of Derbyshire folk and
just two more of God's gifts to be thankful for.
The other village we visited was as far west of Matlock as Brackenfield
is to the east. Here at Middleton-By-Youlgrave, there was only
one well dressed but with bunting across the streets, a variety
of market stalls, a barbecue, bouncy castle and a host of other
entertainments for both children and adults, the weekend was
certainly going with a swing and everyone was taking the first
part of the message on the well dressing to heart. "Live
as if you'll die tomorrow, farm as if you'll live forever".