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 Post subject: St Ruffin's Well (Tamworth)
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:56 am 
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Location: South Cheshire, England
The entry on Pastscape strongly suggests the holy well remains within the main fabric of the castle (grid ref SK20620392); however, the castle staff dug in a book, knowing nothing of the holy well when I enquired. The book shows a holy well on the lower terraces in what would have been the bailey of the castle. What survives there today does not resemble the picture in the book; indeed, one wonders if the issue of water, or any structure survives, in spite of there being a commemorative plaque amongst raised flower beds on the south west exterior of the Ankerside Shopping Centre, on the lowest level near the river. This is consistent with the location displayed on the DEFRA MAGIC Map at SK 207 038. The well is attributed to St Ruffin, brother of St Wulfhad, both murdered by their father, King Wulfhere, in 665 AD owing to their conversion to Christ. Their grave, set up by their mother, gave the name to the town of Stone. Another St Ruffin's Well is purportedly situated to the south east of Stone.

Pictures here: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=17152

Cheers

Tim


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:53 pm 
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Not often I am at a loss for words, but I really do not know what to say. Firstly I cannot think of another instance of a Holy Well within a castles ramparts, unless an IA hillfort can be so termed, or a BA hillfort for that matter. Utilitarian yes of course. Also, St Ruffin is a very unusual, in my experience anyway, dedication.

I hate to sound like a broken record but the only way you will know if there was a Well here for sure is to get an NMR which will record all the activity here, it being a castle once upon a time, if i understand the situation correctly. I am surprised that this is not recorded more throughly on Pastscape, if it has its own entry this NMR data should be more clearly cited. I should point out that I have seen a few Wells now, commerated in a plaque, erected after the site itself was destroyed, often during modern construction work. I.e. plaque and surviving site often do not go together. What was the pastscape number?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:06 pm 
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Hi Rik

see here

http://www.pastscape.org/hob.aspx?hob_id=309973

cheers

Tim


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:25 pm 
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LOL the old and the new clash, one index its Saxon, the other its Early Medieval which now means just about anything from Post Roman to Norman. I should add I like the EH defintiion of Well used on the Index:

HOLY WELL A well or spring, possessing religious or otherwise ritualistic significance, around which a structure, such as a niche, wall or shelter, has been constructed. In the case of the water source being a natural spring, double-index with SPRING.

Pretty good, concise cuts to the nub of the site types but is not wholly inclusive But still well done EH.

to the Saxon Well, yes indeed it is listed as there, on NMR SK 20 SW 19. However, going through some of the NMR data held by pastscape I would observe the following:

A Well is recorded in the 1994 excavation and watching brief, possibly the Well that is the source of this thread, at PEEL ARMS HOTEL Site code: TAMCM.1994.10. this was recorded as work on the outer bailey ditch of Tamworth Castle, refuse pits, 18th/19th century walls and a well, but it is very very suspicious that this program was funded by Hinton Properties Ltd. I would surmise this was a rescue excavation of a site earmarked for development, i.e. the Well was destroyed, yet the NMR does indeed infer it still exists. the best source of investigation then appears the PEEL ARMS HOTEL report: the full not R version, which is listed as

Transactions of the South Staffordshire Archaeological and Historical Society Vol 34/1995 (1992-93)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 9:46 pm 
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Peel Arms Hotel formerly known as the Old King's Arms
http://www.digital-photographic-images. ... mworth.htm

The thing is, the reference given by EH is a few hundred feet out; it points to a 'normal' well within the castle motte, which is still there today but out of bounds to public view; the holy well site, and is shown on high scale MAGIC map is much to the SE of the castle, next to the shopping centre, as noted.

There is a Peel Hotel still listed in Tamworth, but at present I can't any pages about it to load up.

Off to bed soon, cheers,

Tim


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:23 am 
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This is the funny thing, if the Saxon Well is indeed different, then a thought that must come to mind is where did the NMR entry come from. It, the NMR must cite a source as it were, even field notes. The strange thing is only one well is cited in the NMR source list, and only one in the site records, which makes me wonder how there can be a second well, cited in the NMR text summary which does not show anywhere else. I guess only the full NMR would reveal this. :?

Also the location, if indeed there is one well inthe NMR lets say, and the location as recorded in relation to the dig notes is correct, then no useful well would ever be located in a bailey moat, and I would suggest this would only happen if there was a pre-existing site such as a Saxon Well. A Well in the Motte for water would make sense and indeed would be expected. However, for the Motte Well to show up in a bailey examination would be one huge dig and I doubt this would be funded by a property developer, simply becasue they would most likely not be able to erect an housing estate over substantial castle remains in 1994. So then this leaves a quandry why does the Motte Well not show up in the listings of NMR sites for the castle. Or conversely, why does the Well in the Bailey Moat excavation not show up. It might be that the Motte Well was not considered suitably important to record seperately which a Well of a different phase would be. That I am afraid is a question for the NMR compiler, or EH in otherwords.


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 Post subject: Re: St Ruffin's Well (Tamworth)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:19 pm 
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Reading the previous posts (although a few years old now) there seems to be some confusion over the mentions of the wells in Tamworth, so being this way inclined and having lived in Tamworth on and off over the last 30 years I can perhaps shed a little bit of light on this. The Saxon Holy Well detailed in the pastscape description of Tamworth castle SK 2074 0388 is indeed within the castle ramparts and was underneath the commemorative plaque (until the council filled it in in 1992) - it is not the same well as that within the castle itself which is a monstrous sized well and is obviously the old water supply for the castle.
The well mentioned as at The Peel Hotel was discovered when Tamworth Borough Council sold the hotel (Georgian grade II listed) to a property developer to convert into a Wilko store, during development archaeological remains were discovered which included another well dating from Saxon times (not a holy well). Another Saxon well was discovered several years back in Bolebridge Street (the other side of the town centre) when restoration work was undertaken on some of the shops and it is my understanding that another saxon well exists under buildings next door to the vicarage on Church Street (previously the brine baths).
Tamworth Council does not seem to be keen on recording sites (possibly due to its propensity for destroying them - Victorian Gothic Railway Station, gone - large area of wattle and daub buildings in town centre, gone).
I run a Druid Grove in the town and we are now campaigning for the reinstatement of St Ruffins Well (I posted a photo from the 60's on Megalithic Portal recently) - an important site for us, I'll keep folks posted on our progress.


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