Tissington - Well Dressings
w/e 27 May 2007
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

As the information board in the village says, Tissington is the home of well dressing in Derbyshire. Several theories about the origin of the tradition are proffered; one that it was adopted as a thanksgiving by the Christian religion from pagan beginnings following the Black Death of 1350 when pure water from the wells kept the population healthy while all around, neighbouring settlements were succumbing to the disease. Another is that it dates from a great drought in 1615 when the water from Tissington's wells never failed. The truth is probably a combination of all the theories but no-one disputes the fact that the decoration of wells began in Tissington and even though the tradition has now spilled over into some neighbouring counties, it is still an almost exclusive Derbyshire happening.

Crowds of people descend on the village each Ascension Day when, following a church service, the congregation visits each well to sing a hymn and witness the blessing of the waters by the Vicar. There were still a goodly number of people in Tissington the following Tuesday when all these images were captured but as another of those guide books says, "The trouble with Tissington is that it is too perfect, and to avoid the crowds you'll have to visit mid-week."

To visit Tissington at any time is a worthwhile experience - yet another book describes it "the most beautiful village in the Peak District" - but the bonus at the end of May is that you also get to see the decorated wells. And that is what we'll do now starting at Hands Well in the north of the village and working round in an anti-clockwise direction.
1 Hands Well

We'll begin our look at Tissington's decorated wells at Hands Well which is at the junction of Rakes Lane and Chapel Lane.
2 Children's Well

A much smaller display on Rakes Lane at the Children's Well depicts St George and the dragon.
3 Hall Well

This grand display appropriately called Hall Well is also on Rakes' Lane opposite Tissington Hall.
4 Yew Tree Well

Around the corner in The Avenue is the Yew Tree Well and this picture shows that not all the visitors to Tissington reach the village by coach or car.
5 Town Well

The Town Well continues the Tissington tradition as the majority of the wells have a Biblical theme. Other towns and villages in the county that have well dressing ceremonies often have Biblical themes too but also have more contemporary designs.
6 Coffin Well

The final well is in a garden off Chapel Lane and goes by the name of Coffin Well, so called I believe because of the shape of the water receptacle.

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