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Tissington Well Dressings are back!

May 26, 2022
May 26, 2022 - Tissington Well Dressings are back!
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A favourite #LoveLocal event of ours is Tissington Well Dressings, an ancient tradition to give thanks for the pure, clear water, the essence of life. After a two year break due the pandemic it's wonderful to see this ancient tradition return.

Tissington Well Dressings - Hands well

How long have Tissington Well Dressings been celebrated?

The dressing or decorating of water wells as a thanksgiving is an ancient art peculiar to the Peak District, which goes so far back in time that no one is exactly sure of the origins!

Some believe that the tradition began in Tissington village just after the Black Death of 1348. At this time the villagers were lucky to be spared from the plague, and their immunity was attributed to the purity of the water.

Town Well at Tissington

Another theory is that the custom started later in 1615, after severe droughts throughout the area led to loss of cattle and crops, except at Tissington, where water flowed freely from the 5 wells in the village. We will never know for sure, but suffice to say well dressing has been going on for hundreds of years with the traditional techniques being passed down the generations!

Decorating the wells

Each well is decorated with an intricate and colourful display of flowers and natural materials. The process starts several weeks before Ascension Day when the wooden frames are constructed and placed in the village pond to soak. Each board is pulled out from the pond and covered with clay, mixed with water and salt.

A design is sketched on paper, and then traced into the clay. The outline of the design is created with cones from alder trees and coffee beans before the detail is filled in with natural materials. Colourful flower petals and mosses bring the designs to life with wool, twigs, beans, seeds, and stones added to create texture. This is done during the previous three days to Ascension Day.

Children's well at Tissington village

Although originally a pagan tradition it was later adopted by the Church and many of the wells are decorated with a biblical theme. In more recent times designs often celebrate a national event. This year Tissington Hall Well celebrates the Queen's Jubilee.

Hall Well at Tissington

It's not just a thanksgiving but a marvellous way of bringing the whole village community together as everyone contributes in some way to this annual event, digging clay, picking flowers, decorating the boards or erecting the dressings at the wells throughout the village. All ages get involved and children sometime create smaller designs to raise money.

peace for Ukraine well dressing

Blessing the wells

The celebrations start on Ascension Day (celebrated on the 40th day of Easter, which is always a Thursday) with a Church service at St. Mary’s Church followed by a procession through the village blessing each well. The Well Dressings are displayed for a week and they are "well" worth a visit!

Town Well at Tissington

If you missed the well dressings at Tissington there are other well dressings in the Peak District later in the summer, including Ashford in the Water, Youlgrave, Bakewell and Wirksworth.

Things to do in Tissington Village

There is plenty of activity in Tissington throughout Well Dressing week. Why not pop into Edward and Vintage Sweet Shop for some flavoursome fudge, pick up a plant from Tissington Nursery, which is housed in the estate's walled kitchen gardens? Or treat yourself to a beautiful hurricane candle, or some unique Dovedale ceramics from On A Wick and A Prayer candle workshop, or stop off for an ice cream at Herbert's Tea Rooms, or get creative at Tissington Craft Corner.

During well dressing week Roger Allen, the watercolour artist who lives here at Hoe Grange, also exhibits his paintings, so pop in and say hello!
Yew Tree Well at Tissington

If you're not local to Derbyshire you probably haven't heard of well dressings, but quirky events such as well dressing is what makes the Peak District a #uniquedistrict. The well dressings are on from today Thursday 26th May to Wednesday 1st June, and are 'well' worth a visit!

What's your favourite well design? This year I loved the Highland cows at the Coffin Well.


Coffin well at Tissington

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      Second visit to the accessible holiday cabins at Hoe Grange. David and Felicity were as helpful and friendly as ever. We had a welcome pack of freshly baked bread, butter,... read more

    Charlotte M

      We stayed in Skylark, one of the two glamping pods available at Hoe Grange in February 2020.

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  •   Stayed last week, from 6th to 13th September in the log cabin called Hipley. This was amazing, it was our first visit but certainly not our last. Gold standard disability... read more


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    Absolutely superb!
    We have just returned from a family weekend staying in Daisybank cabin and the Skylark pod.
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      We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

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      We spent four nights at Hoe Grange and had a lovely time. The location is fantastic and right next to the High Peak Trail. The cabin was very clean and... read more


      A beautiful place to stay! Amazingly run family business! Everyone were very welcoming, friendly and cozy! The skylark pod we stayed in was very clean, cozy and well equipped! The... read more

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      Another great holiday at Hoe Grange - such a great place for us all to holiday as a family - this time with a baby, a 3 yr old, a... read more


      Lovely place to holiday near to interesting locations and easy access to the High Peak trail and Carsington Water. Part of a working farm with fresh produce to enjoy during... read more

    Angie B
  •   It's been three years since we last visited but once we arrived it certainly didn't feel like it!
    We stayed in Hipley again which had had a refurbished wet... read more


      We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    David H

      What a lovely weekend away! We stayed in the lovely gypsy caravan, which was a wonderful and really unique experience. We took along our two horses, who also had a... read more

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      Arrived and was shown to our pod, fantastic location and the pod was very good indeed plus we had home made bread and milk and tea and coffee. A... read more


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