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Derbyshire Heritage: well dressings

Well dressings are a ritual quite particular to Derbyshire, although a few happening in Staffordshire and Yorkshire too. Well dressings involve the creation of artwork, often Christian in theme, using petals and other living plants pressed into clay.

The origins of the well dressing ritual are still a little mysterious, but it is thought that the remoteness of Derbyshire prevented the many different invaders of Britain over the centuries from imposing their own customs upon the local people, which is why it isn't found in other regions of the country. When the Christians eventually took over they looked on well dressing as a kind of water worship, and tried to stop it. However, it was re-introduced in 1349, Tissington being the first village to bring it back. After this, villages begun to dress the new water taps when piped water was introduced, and you can still see these beautiful creations around the county when the villages dress their wells and springs from early May until September.

Click here to read about well dressings in 2011.

 

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