Events and Customs in the Penistone Area

St. Mary's Well
You will be pleased to know! It is said that there used to be a well at this Bridge End site even around 1392. Water from the well was used by the White Hart inn before tap water was introduced and the well was used when making beer. In the old days, water was not always fit to drink and most people, including children, would drink beer or watered down beer. That is probably why southern beer tastes watered down, their tap water is not as fresh as ours.

Penistone and District Society restored the well in 1993. Then someone had the bright idea of importing the old Derbyshire well dressing tradition into our county in 1994 and combined it with a church parade. It became an annual event in Penistone - and the only well dressing in Yorkshire. It ran until what was possibly the last one in 2008. There was no well dressing in 2009.

20012003, a fine bouquet?2004 'Well' Dressing
2005 and looking well
20082008

The Displays
Each year, a floral plaque is erected by the well and smaller flowered plaques designed and made by local children and displayed across the road. A parade of church people arrives at the site and the vicar employs his spiritual powers to bless the well, for reasons best known to himself and the Almighty. The ceremony has a small but loyal following from church-goers and the children from local junior schools enjoy being involved.

The event is normally supported by Thurlstone Brass Band, who in 2005 did a rousing medley of well-known Yorkshire tunes (in the absence of any well-known Derbyshire tunes). Morris dancers added more energy to that occasion, as tipplers observed from 'the bridge' (the White Hart being closed at the time). In 2007, a troupe of young dancers from St. John's Junior School entertained the crowd in the White Heart car park, with the help of the delightful Rachel Stamper from Thurgoland Musical Dance and Drama.

Trough 2004 school displays 2005
2005 Work of the young 'uns 2003
Thurlstone Brass Band Morris Dancers at the White Hart
The crowd 2007 2007 board Sprogs 2007
Father David and the mayor, 2007 Plaques 2007 Plaques 2007

Derbyshire's Proud Tradition
Well Dressing has long been a proud tradition of our neighbouring county of Derbyshire and is otherwise unheard of in Yorkshire. Many older locals took the expected sceptical view of this harmless activity. Something like "Let them get on with it, it's nowt to do with us" - or - "T' comers-in don't know what county we're in". Now see how well-dressing is done in its native county.


Back Top Home Richard John Needham: 'The seven ages of man: spills, drills, thrills, bills, ills, pills and wills.'