Well Dressing

Well Dressing PosterLast Saturday, 1st July, a village near where I live in Staffordshire held its biannual Well Dressing. This custom was revived in 2012. The second local event was held a year later in 2013 and since then it has been held with a two-year gap, in 2015 and again this year.

The custom of well dressing is believed to have its roots in pagan times when the local community would decorate and bless the wells to give thanks to the gods for clean water. Some people believe that, rather than being a pagan custom it stems from the time of the Black Death (1348) when people would give thanks, again for clean water.

Originally the ceremony was confined to one or two villages in Derbyshire Peak District in the 19th century, having been introduced in Buxton in 1840 but it has since spread to  other villages, mostly in the neighbouring counties of Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and Cheshire but it has also spread to a few villages in Shropshire and Worcestershire, as well as the village of Kemsing in Kent where it was introduced in 2011.

The Croxton event near my home celebrates a different theme on each occasion. This year it was ‘Supporting the Community’. There is a trail of about 5 wells which have been refurbished in recent years and are dressed by different organisations within the community. The main well is blessed by the vicar of the local church, linking it to Christianity for modern consumption, and there are other events and activities available on the day to celebrate the occasion, as you can see from the poster.

First Croxton Well DressingThe  dressings are created on a board, usually a pallet filled in with clay, making them very heavy, and the are ‘coloured in’ with petals – hence the alternative name ‘well flowering’. Here is a photo of the very first Croxton well dressing (2012) at the main well and sponsored by the local Women’s Institute who are very active in encouraging the tradition to continue.

I did not manage to go along on the day but hope to follow the trail before the boards finally fade. There is a walking and cycling route established to view them so perhaps it will be out on the bike.

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Feathers

Sparrow flutters in the tree,
cherry blossom petals
float down like feathers.

Wet and Windy

Wet and windy weather.
Cherry blossoms cling
to swaying branches.
Petals shaken free
fall like springtime snow.

April Breezes

April breezes blow.
How soon the cherry blossom fades,
the petals swirl and fall
upon the ground like snow.

Floating

Cherry blossom petals
floating in the bird bath
like little pink fishes.

Moulting Bird

Magnolia Petal
The breeze strengthens.
Magnolia blossoms tremble.
Petals shake free and fall
like feathers from a moulting bird.

Rapid Thaw

Rapid thaw.
Snow melt flowing down the hill,
chuckling like a mountain stream
along the gutter and down the drain.

* * *

Early flowering primrose
shakes off her snowy duvet,
plumps up her pretty petals;
Spring is on the way.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Two stones today – the thaw has come so quickly I can’t keep up! The first one should really have been an extra yesterday afternoon. Today, apart from lingering in a few isolated patches, the snow has melted away.

Faded Beauty

In faded beauty
Magnolia petals fall
sighing for summer.

Petals

Petals, like snowflakes,
fall from the cherry tree and
settle on the lawn.

Tulips

Red Tulips
Red
tulips reach
towards the sky,
petals raised, drinking in
sunshine.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(Another attempt at the Dutch 11 word Elfje!)

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