Calverley Town Wells

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Grid Reference: SE 2090 3690

Location In the memorial garden at the Junction of Town Gate and Town Wells Drive.

Although the first surviving mention of the Town Wells at Calverley dates to the 17th century, the present structure probably dates to a refurbishment of 1836. There are four gritstone troughs of equal size with a deeper one at the end into which the water should flow, though the supply now seems dry.

Victorian photographs of the site show the troughs standing above ground level and backed by a low wall. This gives them a similar appearance to the Town Wells at Guiseley. At the time the wells stood in an open area known as The Green. However, the wells became disused and in the 1930s it was decided to make the area into a small public garden. This was surrounded by railings which had a pattern of alternating circles and crosses. Inevitably, the site became known locally as the OXO wells.

Dave Weldrake

July 2012

For more about wells in Calverley click here

To learn more about the historic wells of West Yorkshire click here.

To view details of my talk on the historic wells of West Yorkshire click here.

4 comments on “Calverley Town Wells

  1. Many thanks for the excellent photographs of Calverley’s Town Well’s Garden where, as a child, I would play with friends in the well water, also had picnics there with Mother and friends. Sad to hear that they are drying up. The was also a Horse Trough Well further up Carr Road around the junction of Rodley Lane and Calverley Lane(Right hand side of the road), Nearby there were a number of very large homes, owned by Mill owners and the like. I was told as a child that the rich men’s horses drank from this particular well, I wonder if it is still in existence?

    • daveweldrake says:

      Thanks for the comment Terry

      The trough at the junction of Calverley Lane and Rodley Lane is still there, although it is now used as a flower bed rather than a drinking tough. At least it’s still in its original place. So many have been moved and now stand as garden ornaments devoid of their original context.

      Tombling Well in Calverley Woods is still also there but I don’t know of any others that still survive in the district. I have also come across a reference to a spa well at Calverley. This might be the Chalybeate spring shown on the Ordnance Survey map as situated between Rodley Lane and Calverley Lane but I have been unable to find out any details about it.

      • M Chappellow says:

        My family have lived in calverley for generations ,
        The chalybeate well or waters were first discovered around 1830 whilst digging a coal pit by the sutcliffe family who dug numerous coal pits in the shell lane area of Calverley , there was a bit of a dispute as the sutcliffes wanted a cut out of it as they found it but so did the Thornhills who owned the land as well as the farmer j Thornton who rented the land then as the actual source of the water ran under Glebe land which is where roughly the calverley arms hotel is which was then owned by the Vicar or church they wanted a cut out of any money generated ,the story goes that after digging 37 yards into the hillside they came upon a water source that tasted like crab apples .
        After about 6 months someone drank the water & died that was the end of that ,
        All that’s left now is a damp patch in the middle of the field ,
        There was also another well in the next field up just in the dip on Farsley lane where the millennium way foot path is think that one was called Coates well .
        We used to have an old map with the springs & wells of the village .

      • daveweldrake says:

        Thanks for that. Once again it’s very useful information but I’m afraid that it leaves me puzzled. I first came across a reference to a spa at Calverley in a book by Augustus Bozzi Granville called the Spas of England. It’s in several volumes but irritatingly, the one which describes the north of England doesn’t seem to have been digitized and I don’t seem to be able to find the notes I made from the book. What follows therefore is being argued from memory (and is therefore likely to be inaccurate.)

        The problem for me is that Granville was writing in the early 1800s which is too early for the date suggested by M Chapellow and presumably Granville went to Calverley because he‘d been told it was a good place to go. This wouldn’t seem to fit with the idea that the well was only open for a short while before someone died from drinking the water.

        Perhaps I’ve got the wrong well. I only picked the one in the fields near Rodley Lane because it’s marked as a chalybeate spring on the O. S. maps. This is what led me to think it might be Granville’s well. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps there’s another candidate in the vicinity.

        I’ve done more research since I originally wrote this and I realize that I was mistaken and M. Chappellow is right. For full details, click here.

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