Monday, 30 January 2012

Excavation - Hopes to unearth 'magical' lost well (Nottingham)

PLANS to excavate a site of "great historical importance" in St Ann's have been welcomed by residents.

The old St Ann's Well, believed to be beneath the site of the demolished Gardeners Pub in The Wells Road, was a spring once thought to have magical healing powers and which lent its name to the St Ann's area.

There are 17th century records of an annual Easter procession to the well made by the Mayor of Nottingham, aldermen and local officials, accompanied by musicians.

Thurcroft Ltd, a private building company, has been granted planning permission to build nine houses on the site with the condition that, before building work begins, an archeological dig will take place.

Christine Taylor, 70, of nearby Kildare Road, welcomed the idea of unearthing possible remnants of the medieval well.

She said: "It would be nice if they found remains of the well because it is special. But I hope it doesn't mean lots of works traffic and noisy diggers."

An historical study of the site was carried out last year by an archeological team at the University of Leicester.

They found the well gradually took on more of a secular appeal over the years, becoming "a sort of pleasure ground and public house for the amusement of the local population" by the 19th century. The University of Leicester team will be conducting the dig this year.

Resident Richard Pearson, of Belleview Court, recently wrote to Channel 4 asking them to excavate the site.
He said: "I think it would be appropriate for Channel 4 to participate in an archaeological dig of the site, or come along and make a TV programme – it's perfect material for the Time Team.

"There are a number of mysteries to be solved about the well.

"For example it would be good to locate the actual site of St Ann's Well to uncover any artifacts that may have been thrown into the waters as gifts to St Ann."

Wells Road resident Caroline Tracey, 66, also thought it would be "impressive" if remains of the so-called magical well were uncovered.

She said: "It would be nice because it might become an impressive site of national importance.
"But if it is too noisy and disruptive or it goes on for too long I think people living nearby would get annoyed."

A Nottingham City Council spokesman said: "As part of planning permission for the site the developers are to organise an archaeological field evaluation to establish the presence or not of remains of St Ann's Well and associated buildings.

"And the developers will also be talking with the city council about a suitable memorial to highlight the significance of the site."

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