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Well dressing, 'Town Well', Tissington, 1990
About this image
This well reads 'Water was made Wine.
Well dressing was revived in Tissington in the 17th century by Mary Twigg. It started as garlands of flowers being hung at wells as a thanksgiving because the wells did not run dry in the severe drought of 1615. It grew to become far more elaborate with each well having up to twenty people, mainly from the village, building large frames used to hold a picture composed of natural materials such as flower petals, moss, lichens, bark, and wool. The six wells in Tissington are the first in the year to be dressed. This occurs in May on Ascension day. They always have a religious theme and only once have two wells been decorated with a similar design. On Ascension day a procession visits all the wells, starting at the Hall Well. When the throng reach each well, the well is blessed by the Bishop of Derby.