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Hilda's Well

Sacred Well

<b>Hilda's Well</b>Posted by fitzcoraldoImage © fitzcoraldo
This site is of disputed antiquity. If you have any information that could help clarify this site's authenticity, please post below or leave a post in the forum.
Nearest Town:Loftus (8km W)
OS Ref (GB):   NZ791171 / Sheet: 94
Latitude:54° 32' 33.85" N
Longitude:   0° 46' 37.82" W

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<b>Hilda's Well</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo <b>Hilda's Well</b>Posted by fitzcoraldo

Fieldnotes

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Visited 1.8.15

Directions:
On the A174. Church and holy well is signposted.

The well is easy enough to find at the back of the church. I wooden handrail assists the pilgrim down the grass slope. The restored well has a stone trough next to it which had a large collection of old rusting coins in it. Judging by the amount of coins in the bottom of the well this place gets a lot of visitors.
The water did look clear but I didn't risk it.
This is a very peaceful spot with only the sound of a wood pigeon for company. It is nice here.
Unfortunately the church was locked so I couldn't have a look inside.
Well (excuse the pun) worth a visit if you happen to be visiting the nearby lovely fishing village of Staithes.
Posted by CARL
2nd August 2015ce

Saint Hildas well is situated in the church yard of Saint Hilda in the village of Hinderwell which is said to be a corruption of Hilda's Well.
The village was recorded in the Domesday book as Hindrevvelle.
The well is supposedly where Hilda stopped to chill a while whilst travelling to become Abbess of Whitby.
It's a pretty well and was restored in 1912. The water looks very clear.
It is "dressed" by the local children once a year.
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
13th April 2002ce

Folklore

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"Then Whitby's nuns exulting told,
How to their house three barons bold
must menial service do;
They told how in their convent-cell
A saxon princess once did dwell,
The lovely Edelfled;
And how of thousand snakes, each one
Was changed into a coil of stone
When holy Hilda pray'd -
Themselves, within their holy round,
Their stony folds had often found."

Marmion, canto ii
Sir Walter Scott.

Ord comments on this
" Sir Walter like all true antiquarians, had large faith. "These miracles" he says, "are much insisted on by all ancient writers who have occasion to mention Whitby or Saint Hilda. The relics of the snakes which infested the precincts of the convent, and were at the abbess's prayer not only beheaded but petrified, are still found about the rocks and are termed by protestant fossilists Ammonitae"

The History and Antiquities of Cleveland
J.W. Ord
1846
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
7th October 2002ce

Miscellaneous

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"The custom of giving names to wells and fountains is of remote antiquity, being common alike to earliest idolaters, to Jews and to Christians. In papal times, if a well had an awful situation, as at Rosebury; if it's waters were clear, and medicinal, as at Hilda's-well, it was the custom to dedicate it to some saint by name. To such an extent did this species of idolatry prevail, that it was forbidden in the canons of king Edgar A.D. 960, also in the canons of St. Anselm A.D. 1102. Notwithstanding, it prevailed without intermission till the Reformation, when many innocent customs and harmless superstitions were wholly extirpated because they savoured of popery."
The History and Antiquities of Cleveland
J. W. Ord
1846
Republished by Patrick & Shotton
1972
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
6th September 2002ce