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HER Number:MDV799
Name:Lady Well, St. Mary's Churchyard, Pilton


A holy well in the north-east corner of the churchyard. Possibly medieval in date and associated with the priory.


Grid Reference:SS 556 342
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishPILTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/108
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE8

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOLY WELL (Early Medieval to XVIII - 1066 AD to 1800 AD (Between))

Full description

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

Lady Well marked on 1880s-1890s 25 inch Ordnance Survey map, adjacent to a Chamois Leather Manufactory.

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

Lady Well marked on 1904-1906 25 inch Ordnance Survey map. Comparison with earlier mapping shows the chamois leather manufactory to have gone and St. Mary's churchyard to have been extended so that the well is now in the north-weast corner of the churchyard.

Brown, T., 1960, Holy and Notable Wells of Devon. Part IV, 102 (Article in Serial). SDV54685.

Lady Well, a holy well in north-east corner of churchyard. A dripping well. Water diverted from nearby spring into a sink in wall, with gabled front of a building still visible. Church is dedicated to st. Mary.

Grinsell, L. V., 1970, The Archaeology of Exmoor, 212 (Monograph). SDV1641.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Lady Well. St. Mary's Churchyard. Holy well. Probably medieval, but the superstructure looks no older than 17th century; restored 1984. Consists of a small oblong trough of water, filled from a source that cannot be seen from outside. Stone barrel-vault above it. Superstructure consists of a stone rubble wall with some red brick. At its base is a semicircular chamfered opening with dressed stone voussoirs; this gives access to the well and is closed by a 20th century grille. Above it is a slate plaque in a chamfered stone frame with rounded top corner. The plaque is inscribed: 'The Ancient LADYWELL restored Anno Domini MCMLXXXIV. I. KERR. Mason.' Date listed: 29th September 1999.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SS53SE8 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV62136.

Site visit 21st September 1953. Stone well in which is set a stone lined round headed recess. The flooring is composed of rubble and earth. Local beliefs are that a well existed here at one time, but there is now no sign of water. Possibly the well of the priory.
Site visit 3rd March 1976. The well recess is surmounted by a 'framed' inset but plain tablet. The water is piped underground and can be heard flowing strongly.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1641Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. A5 Hardback. 212.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #106701 ]
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV54685Article in Serial: Brown, T.. 1960. Holy and Notable Wells of Devon. Part IV. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 92. A5 Hardback. 102.
SDV62136Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SS53SE8. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.

Associated Monuments

MDV800Related to: Pilton Priory, Barnstaple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jul 14 2021 10:42AM