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Eggington Parish Wells

Between the wars Bedfordshire Historical Record Society published three volumes in a series called Survey of Ancient Buildings. Volume II was devoted to wells. It was compiled bu the indefatigable J. Steele Elliott who did a lot of work on Bedfordshire's built heritage, and was published in 1933.

The entry for Eggington reads as follows: "Formerly a fairly good spring called the Town Well, now enclosed and not accessible, was much used by the people. Another to the east was known as Billingswell, a name which dates at least as far back as the XVIth century; its deep hollow remains, though the water is now carried underground. Hartwell, now Ardells, on the west side, has degenerated to a field-pond; its water is also concealed though the deep trench of its bed is still there; Hartwell Close occurs in the Enclosure Award of 1840 [A61].A fourth spring, now very indefinite but forming the only well-marked stream in the village itself, runs thence to Leedon, and was known as Salt Well, taking its name from the ancient road called Saltstrete Way, which still accompanies the runnel for a mile or so. Another (now concealed) spring on the north side of Haydon Hill, west of the village, was called Granny Willows, but in an XVIIIth century will the name is Crannowes Willows. It was carried underground within memory  when the old south-lands up the hill were straightened. All these springs gave name to the ancient furlongs near them. In spite of the numerous springs with names, this village has always suffered in dry seasons for lack of good water. Mr. F. Gurney informs me that at one time a supply of water for his house, known as "Claridges", was contrived by hollowed elm-tree pipes from what is called the moat at the top of the orchard, which is merely a long narrow pond fed only by rainfall. The pipes were found and destroyed before his residence there".

The Bedfordshire Historic Environment Record [HER] contains information on the county’s historic buildings and landscapes and summaries of each entry can now be found online as part of the Heritage Gateway website. It, too refers to Frederick Gurney's work noting that he stated that just east of the stocks (nearly opposite the Wesleyan chapel) is the old town well. It was very deep indeed but was covered over and partly filled in at about the time when the stocks were destroyed, due to some of the stone lining falling in and spoiling the water. This, presumably, happened before 1882 because the 1st edition Ordnance Survey 25 inches to the mile map of that date shows no well.