Religious Place In Jesmond Dene, Tyne And Wear
A small well linked to the nearby St. Mary's Chapel.
Just a short walk from St. Mary's Chapel, in the middle of a busy Newcastle suburb lies St. Mary's Well. It's very ease to walk past the small gate in a woody area, so check the map below for where it exactly is. Depending on the weather and time of day the well can flip between serene, to mysterious to slightly creepy.
Although the chapel dates back to the 12th century, the well itself is much later and from the 17th-century. It is thought that there may have been a well of greater antiquity associated with St Mary's Chapel, which was a place of pilgrimage in the medieval period.
Be careful walking down the steps to the well as it can be a little slippery. The well itself is simple and unassuming. It consists of a pool of water with a stone arch above it, in which the word “GRATIA” once part of the inscription “Ave Maria gratia plena,” can still be seen.
There are usually a range of offerings around the well including small statues, coins, hand-written notes, flowers and crosses.
Holy wells are water sources with specifically Christian associations. The custom of venerating springs and wells as sacred sites is also known to have characterised pre-Christian religions in Britain and, although Christian wells have been identified from as early as the 6th century AD, it is clear that some holy wells originated as earlier sacred sites. The cult of holy wells continued throughout the medieval period.
Its condemnation at the time of the Reformation (c.1540) ended new foundations but local reverence and folklore customs at existing holy wells often continued, in some cases to the present day. The holy wells sometimes functioned as sites for baptism but they were also revered for less tangible reasons, some of which may have had origins in pre- Christian customs, such as folklore beliefs in the healing powers of the water and its capacity to effect a desired outcome for future events.
Associated rituals often evolved, usually requiring the donation of an object or coin to retain the 'sympathy' of the well for the person seeking its benefits. At their simplest, holy wells may be unelaborated natural springs with associated religious traditions. Structural additions may include lined well shafts or conduit heads on springs, often with a tank to gather the water at the surface.
The roofing of walled enclosures to protect the water source and define the sacred area created well houses which may be simple, unadorned small structures closely encompassing the water source, or larger buildings, decorated in the prevailing architectural style and facilitating access with features such as steps to the water source and open areas with stone benching where visitors might shelter.
At their most elaborate, chapels, and sometimes churches, may have been built over the well or adjacent well house. The number of holy wells is not known but estimates suggest at least 600 nationally. They provide important information on the nature of religious beliefs and practices and on the relationship between religion and the landscape during the medieval period.
St Mary's Well is a well preserved example of this class of monument.
Source - historicengland
Get 3 points if you have visited this place. Already visited by 19 VIPs.
Login to the VIP area to add places to your bucket list, mark them as visited and more importantly see where you rank on the league table.
What three words
Lat / Long
Show Place On Google Maps
From the parking, it's just a short 2 min walk up a small wooded path. Use the map to find the exact location.
What three words
Lat / Long
Park outside St Mary's Chapel and you can walk to it from here.
Contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
The banqueting hall where Lord Armstrong would entertain his guests.
A ruined chapel that was once a popular place for pilgrimages.
A ruined watermill dating from back to 1739 in Jesmond Dene.
Beautiful ruins of small monastery founded by White Canons set above a bend in the River Tees near Barnard Castle.
A ruined Priory on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, widely considered to be the birthplace of Christianity in England.
A stunning 900 year old cathedral built on a peninsula formed by the River Wear.
We post all our new places daily on our Facebook Groups page, so join the group today and be notified when we add a new place.