About this image
Buxton is one of many locations in Derbyshire, where thermal springs issue up from deep within the ground. (At present, the well of St Anne, opposite the Crescent, is the only place where it is possible to see and drink freely of these waters within the town. The visitor will discover that the water is warm and has a particular taste, especially when compared to water from a household tap. This flows at a temperature of 28C all year round.) These springs are present where the local limestone rock meets the Gritstone, and the water is forced up and along fissures until it arrives at the surface. As with many springs throughout the UK, the ancient peoples formed settlements where there was a constant fresh water supply. Some of Buxton's earliest settlers made use of either the water made available by these springs, or they used the water from the river Wye which flows through the town. These early peoples began to worship their water gods by decorating these springs with flowers. This ancient custom, widespread throughout Derbyshire, has continued to the present day, this is known as Wells Dressing, although its true origins are shrouded deep in mystery. These Well dressings, or Tableaux, are crafted from various shaped boards that have a covering of clay pressed onto them. This clay is used for making up the picture that will depict a scene from history, a religious theme, views of local churches or a well-known cathedral. Some wells are decorated by children and depict their favourite interests. Each picture is made up from thousands of flower petals, seeds, nuts, leaves and other items gathered from nature, and pressed into the clay individually by hand, while it is damp, to form the chosen design.