Gawton’s Well and Druid’s Grove
Map Ref: SJ898555
Latitude: 53.096604N Longitude: 2.153777W
Gawton's Well, sometimes spelt Gorton is a well / spring within Greenway Bank Country Park. The well itself is situated within a grove of trees called The Druid’s Grove.
The site of the well is within an area that may date back to the dark ages and may even be pre-historic. Around the well are lots of stones that may have been part of some ancient structure. There is also a nearby stone called Gawton’s Stone that was as legend has it the home of a hermit (named Gawton?)
The story of the Hermit:
Gawton / Gorton was one of the servants of Knypersley Hall when he became ill with the plague. Due to everyone thinking they would fall ill he was forced to leave. He left and went to live in a cave (Gawton’s Stone) near Knypersley pool.
Nearby was a spring which is known as Gawton’s Well which is where he bathed every day. He also used the spring for his drinking water. The spring was believed to have the power to heal skin diseases by the locals and apparently cured Gawton of the plague.
Even though he was now healed he continued to stay at the cave and lived there till his death.
The hermit, who legend has it, had some kind of disease (maybe the plague) made his home in Gawton Stone, and drank water from the well. It is the water from the well that cured him of his illness and made the well famous for healing in the area. At a later date the locals used stone from the area to turn the well site into a type of baths so that the local people could make use of the healing power of the spring.
The sacred Druid’s Grove around the well is made up of yew trees and is classed by many as one of the best examples of an ancient sacred grove in the country.
This is a very sacred and quiet sanctuary, but unfortunately has not been kept well. It is now very dilapidated and in need of care.
|All photographs by Robert Worrall
Compiled and written by Robert Worrall (Curator, Biddulph Museum)
Sources and Credits:
The Staffordshire Past Track
Photographs by Robert Worrall (Biddulph Museum)
Various local residents for myths about the stone
Greenway Bank Country Park Information