Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006102
Date first listed: 17-Jan-1969
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Staffordshire Moorlands (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SK 00568 54029
Holy well known as Egg Well, 200m NNW of Roost Hill Farm.
Reasons for Designation
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 and early post-medieval period.
The holy well known as Egg Well is a good survival of this class of monument and stands as a local landmark which represents the religious beliefs associated with the healing powers of water and the sacredness of natural springs as well as a source of water for the local area during the medieval and early post-medieval periods.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 3 July 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a well with a rectangular stone built surround situated on the north western slope of Roost Hill. Built over the site of a natural spring, an oval shaped hole filled with water is set centrally into a rectangular stone floor measuring approximately 2m by 1.5m. Surrounding it is a roughly coursed and squared stone built rectangular structure of approximately 1m depth with double steps at each internal corner leading down to the well floor. The stone structure includes a carved Latin inscription which is believed to refer to the healing properties of the water. It also includes the carved monogrammed initials of William Stanley who was the owner of Ashenhurst Hall between 1744 and 1752 which once stood 330m WNW of the monument. The well structure is likely to date to the mid 18th century but may have earlier origins. The monument is also a Grade II Listed Building (274215).
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ST 178
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
Pastscape: 305789, HER: DST5813 & NMR: SK05SW10
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing