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HER Number:MDV4800
Name:Fice's or Fitz's Holy Well, Okehampton Hamlets


Holy well, Fice's or Fitze's Well on the west side of the road is believed to date from the 16th century and closely associated with the adjoining Fitz's or Fice's Cross


Grid Reference:SX 591 937
Map Sheet:SX59SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX59SE4
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 440852
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX59SE/1/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 94339

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOLY WELL (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD (Between) to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Fice's Well' shown on 19th century map as a point to the north-east of a 'Stone Cross'.

Anonymous, 1889, History of Okehampton, 74 (Monograph). SDV217952.

Small spring called Fitz Well. Has a rude cross lying in its ooze. It was the custom for young people to visit it on easter morning.

Radford, G. H., 1890, Lady Howard of Fitzford, 69 (Article in Serial). SDV336103.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Fice's Well' shown on early 20th century map.

Pearse Chope, R., 1936, Devonshire Calendar Customs, 244 (Article in Serial). SDV344838.

A small spring called Fitze Well on the ridge of Okehampton Park, has a rude cross lying in its ooze (see SX 59 SE 3). It was custom for young people to visit it on the morning of Easter-day.

Ordnance Survey, 1963-1996, 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric (Cartographic). SDV350058.

(SX 59189377) Fice's Well (NR) (1965 edition).

Linehan, C. D., 1966, Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, 127 (Article in Serial). SDV307246.

Fitz well beside the road from the town. Some authorities mention a legend that the stone cross standing beside it was brought from Halstock Chapel which lay about one mile to the east.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1974, SX59SE4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV256080.

(15/10/1974) Fitz Well is a flowing spring which is enclosed by four granite slabs. These slabs, of unknown antiquity form a 1.4m square trough and two other slabs partially cover this. Published survey 1:2500 correct.
The origin of the name on the Ordnance Survey map (1965 edition) is unknown and is possibly an error.

Wessex Archaeology, 2001, Okehampton Camp Devon. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment and Earthwork Survey, 11-12, Plate 3, Appendix 1 (Report - Survey). SDV360511.

Fitz's well is a spring that has been surrounded and capped by granite slabs. It is believed to date from the 16th century. The structure is a Grade II Listed Building.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1007021 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

The Holy Well known as Fice’s or Fitz Well survives comparatively well despite still being in use as a water supply for a local house and following restoration work to ensure the capping stones did not fall into the well itself.
Wayside crosses were erected during the Medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking settlements, or on routes which might have a more specifically religious function including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of Medieval routeways, settlement patterns and the development of sculptural traditions.
The wayside cross at Fice’s Well is of ancient date. Despite not being in its original position, its present location beside the holy well attests to the historic importance and affection in which the cross was held during turbulent times. The restoration of the cross, although denuding it of some of its original height has been done well, whilst also serving as a protection from damage by passing traffic and from grazing animals using it as a rubbing post.
Taken together, both affirm the changing values placed on elements steeped in Christian idolatry during times of religious change, uprising and uncertainty.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 October 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a stone built holy well with an adjacent stone cross, situated on the summit of a north facing ridge forming part of East Hill, overlooking the valley of the West Okement River.
The well building is constructed from rubble built walls topped by granite slabs to form the roof. Internally, and more recently a concrete raft has been inserted to ensure stability of the slab roof. The well within this superstructure is thought to be up to 1.2 metres deep. West of the well stands a cross of simple design hewn from a single piece of granite. One of the arms is partially missing. The cross is 0.8 metres high and 0.5 metres wide at the arms. It has an incised cross on one face and is set into a rough stone platform. It was reputedly brought to its current site from St. Michael’s Chapel in Halstock when the latter was destroyed during the Reformation. The well is used as a water supply to a nearby house.
The well and cross are listed Grade II. .

Sources / Further Reading

SDV217952Monograph: Anonymous. 1889. History of Okehampton. 74.
SDV256080Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1974. SX59SE4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV307246Article in Serial: Linehan, C. D.. 1966. Deserted Sites and Rabbit-Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon. Medieval Archaeology. 10. Digital. 127.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #115056 ]
SDV336103Article in Serial: Radford, G. H.. 1890. Lady Howard of Fitzford. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 22. Unknown. 69.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV344838Article in Serial: Pearse Chope, R.. 1936. Devonshire Calendar Customs. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 68. A5 Hardback. 244.
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV360511Report - Survey: Wessex Archaeology. 2001. Okehampton Camp Devon. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment and Earthwork Survey. Wessex Archaeology Report. 50171. A4 Comb Bound. 11-12, Plate 3, Appendix 1.
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1007021.

Associated Monuments

MDV6933Related to: Chapel of St. Michael of Halstock (Building)
MDV4799Related to: Stone Cross adjoining Fitz (or Fice's) Well, Okehampton Hamlets (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV3474 - Earthwork survey of Okehampton Castle and Park
  • EDV8007 - Okehampton Camp Devon: Archaeological Desk-based Assessment and Earthwork Survey (Ref: 50171.01)

Date Last Edited:Nov 25 2021 4:14PM