A lady standing next to the ‘Lady Well’ at Speen. The earliest reference of the well dates to the 18th century, although it is likely much older and may have been a sacred site in pre-Christian times. Traditionally the water is said to have healing properties, particularly for eye diseases. Although the present housing of the well looks ancient, it is 19th century and carries a plaque commemorating its restoration in 1902. Springs and other water sources were regarded as sacred by both the Celts and the Romans who often built shrines over them and made offerings to honour the resident deity. The largest and best known is the temple of Sulis at Bath, but there were many others throughout the country. The ‘Lady Well’ has not attracted any elaborate well-dressing ceremonies such as take place in some parts of northern England, but a thanksgiving service is held there annually. A ‘white lady’ is said to haunt the vicinity of the well, although she has not been seen in recent years.
Further information about this site is available on the HER: www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MWB10661&resourceID=1030
HER – The Historic Environment Record (HER) is a register of all known archaeological and historical sites in the unitary authority of West Berkshire.
Period: Late 19th century – Early 20th century