The Schorne Well
The Schorne Well is an ancient water source that has been a North Marston tourist attraction for many centuries. In 2004/2005, the well was restored to its current fine form. Below are some pictures celebrating that renewal, and on the right Alison Finnemore's poem captures the history of the Well.
The History of John Schorne's Well
My well is seven centuries old.
The water, still, is clear and cold.
I found it in a year of drought
When Marston folk, to drink, had nowt.
It happened, as I chanced to pass,
I struck my staff upon the grass
Clear water gushed out at my feet!
"A miracle! And on our street,"
Cried all the thirsty people there.
They drank, then offered up a prayer.
Pilgrims came from far and near
To cure their ills with water clear,
And worship at my Holy shrine,
Up in St. Mary's Church so fine.
The well, at over five feet square,
Was always open to the air.
Over the top a building stood
Built with stone and bricks and wood.
Four stone steps inside descending
For drawing water without bending.
(All these features in plan marked out,
By your feet, or thereabout.)
The depth was almost seven feet -
Oh, what a pity it was so deep!
In July 1861 disaster came
When Catherine Watson (also known as Jane)
Slipped and fell into the water
Watched in horror by her daughter.
Little Sarah, aged just three,
Called for her sister desperately.
Her older sister came running round
Sadly to find their mother drowned.
"Accidental drowning," Mr Parrott, the coroner, said,
"For safety's sake, secure that shed."
A barred door and lock were at once applied
And a pump placed on the north-east side.
The building fell into disrepair
And by 1900 was no longer there.
Only the pump still stood with pride
A stone (with ring) marked the well beside.
In '70 and '90 the well was improved
But its former glory remained subdued.
Everything stayed as before
Until one day in 2004.
In October work did start
Using all the craftsman's art.
With axe and adze and English oak
A frame was made (it was bespoke).
Tudor bricks with lime and sand,
Old peg tiles, cut by hand,
Old York stone and blue brick
(Some were thin and some were thick.)
For the pump, a new oak case,
Re-erected in centre place.
A stone trough, re-cycled, too,
Holds the water pumped by you.
In 2005 the work was done
Relief was felt by everyone.
My historic well, was, in simple way,
Opened and blessed on 21st May.
Now my well is, as of old,
A thing of beauty to behold
If my image you would see
Look behind you, for there I be.
I hold a boot beneath my arm
Into which, the Devil, I did charm.
And now that he's imprisoned there
Peace dwells in the village and elsewhere.
There was a service of blessing and re-dedication of the renovated Schorne Well on the 21st May 2005, and the next three pictures were taken at that service.
The SAVE award
The well restoration won a SAVE award from the District Council, who had this to say:
"Starting in Oct 2004, Mike Finnemore designed, part-restored and initially financed this historic village feature. The well restoration was initiated after a visit to the village by Japanese tourists, who on seeing a rather uninspiring well, promptly put away their cameras and got back on the tour bus!
"The Parish Council, led by a Restoration Committee, is recognised for the careful re-introduction of an old well, long forgotten by many within the community. Materials included recycled stone and tiles from the village, and the restoration is to feature as part of Aylesbury Vale's Design Awards 2OO5.
"SAVE is keen to recognise not only the work for the Parish within its local community as historically important, but in using local recycled materials the restoration becomes an environmentally sensitive addition to the village."