01 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

Well Dressing

As an expat, I’m fascinated by local traditions. I think that one of the best ways to understand the culture of a country is to attend small events in picturesque villages. I’ve been to a duck race in Lymm and I enjoyed myself a lot.
Yesterday hubby and I went to see the Well Dressing at Stoney Middleton. As I have a lot of pictures, I’ve decided to split them and to make 2 posts. The first one is about the well dressing and another post will follow tomorrow about the village. This tradition is unique to the Peak District and Derbyshire.

This tradition started hundreds of years ago, but only from 1936 the wells were dressed like this in Stoney Middleton. Even though at the beginnings it was a pagan tradition, it was adopted by the Christian Church and now the pictures have a biblical theme. The pictures are made of small stones, flower petals, shells, all inserted into wet clay.

01 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
This is the main picture, near the Church. It was made to commemorate the battle of Agincourt, 600 years ago. The local Church was built by Joan Eyre in gratitude for the return of her husband from the battle.

02 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

03 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

04 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
The school children made this one, as a self-portrait. It’s amazing they are involved in this kind of activities.

05 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
This is my favourite picture, it gives a sense of tranquility and it’s beautiful. It had a quote, something like: every sunrise is a new beginning. Didn’t take a picture of the quote and I can’t remember it precisely.

06 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

07 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

08 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

09 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

These three were the wells. Now, let’s talk about the celebrations. We’ve been to the local pub and I don’t want to get into details, but let’s say is better to avoid that place. We’ve ended up buying cakes from the Church bake sale. As it was an important charitable endeavor, we bought 2 cakes, the fact that they were delicious was just a coincidence.

10 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
I liked the collage with the wells thru the years, they were as pretty and detailed as the one from this year.

11 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
The celebrations started with the band playing a few religious songs.

12 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
The priest made a blessing for the well and told us the story of the Church.

13  Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
After the blessing, there was maypole dancing. I’ve seen one before, at a Victorian May Day. It is a fun thing to watch, although they tend to be a little long. We took advantage to make a short trip to the cakes stalls.

14 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire
The celebrations ended with a Morris dance. It was the first time I’ve seen a Morris dance and it was lovely. They performed dances from different regions using sticks and handkerchiefs.

15 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

16 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

17 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

18 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

19 Well dressing Stoney Middleton Derbyshire

It was great to attend this event, lovely to see how close is the local community, to see traditional dances and eat home baked British cakes at a Church bake sale. We also had a lovely walk around the village and we seen a few interesting things.

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