St Helen’s Well, Eshton MYD3955 (c) YDNPA 2023
Probably an 18th or 19th century well on an old site. The well is one of many in Yorkshire dedicated to St Helen, the British born mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine. There may have been a chapel-of-ease nearby in the Medieval period since a commission relating to the Manor of Flasby was held in 1420 “in capella beate Elene de Eshton”. An adjacent field is called ‘Chapel Field’. The well consists of a curved stone sill over which the water flows at times of flood from a natural spring. Along the sill there were once carved stone heads under the level of the water. Some of the stonework is reputed to have come from the tower of Gargrave parish church when parts fell off two years after its restoration in 1853, The well was threatened in 1969 when the Water Board proposed sinking a bore hole nearby but the plans were eventually refused. There was apparently a tradition of drinking water from the well with sugar added on Sunday evenings in the late 19th century.
Gill, Harry M (1988) The History of Gargrave. The Ecclesiastical Parish of Gargrave Vol 2. Sheffield: Sheffield City Polytechnic
Wheelan, Edna (1986) ‘Holy Wells in Yorkshire – 3’. www.bath.ac.uk/lispring/sourcearchive/front.htm Date accessed 20/7/04
Location From A65 in Gargrave, take Eshton Road (signed to Malham). After Eshton Hall, take first right signed Winterburn. Well is half a mile from junction on left hand bend. View over stone wall.
Public Transport Details Nearest town/village: Eshton. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.
Accessibility Well surrounded by wall and iron fence.