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Smiling sun Lynne supports ancient 'Well Dressing' custom!

Lynne from Langley Mill, Derbyshire, UK uses her creative skills to help her local community carry on a local tradition that dates back many centuries!


The 'Well Dressing' ceremony that takes place annually in the town of Ripley is believed to date back to times of the plague, when thanks was given to the Heavens for the fresh water that came from the Derbyshire hills.

Lynne told us, "Themes for the wells around Derbyshire vary, and can be religious or topical. The well at Ripley was first found when work was done excavating a site for the new town hall. The well was in the middle of the town square, but has been redirected and comes out of the wall of the town hall.

"The theme for this year's 'dressing' is transport and the different types that are available in Derbyshire. The different plates show ballooning, horse riding, a train, a tram, a rowing boat, a skateboard, a foot path, a lollipop person (who helps children cross the road safely), 'Thomas the Tank Engine', buses, a canal boat, cyclists, a hang glider, and even a rollercoaster ride!

Ripley Well Dressing

"The boards that form the surrounds were soaked in the River Derwent to keep the work damp. The pictures are set into damp clay that was donated to Ripley by the Denby Pottery. The clay was supplied in a big lump and it is broken up, water added then 'puddled'. This involves several people taking off their shoes and socks and walking on the clay in a tin bath, a bit like treading grapes for wine.

"All the pictures are made from natural things, there are stones, pepper corns leaves and thousands of flower petals. The whole thing took a week of intensive work to complete and was blessed by the local vicar on Saturday 21 June 2003. The pictures are available for a week and then the petals start to deteriorate."

The picture of the bandstand was completed by Lynne and the ladies of Carousel Craft Group, a group in Langley Mill for disabled people.

Lynne said, "We felt very honoured to be asked to do a panel and enjoyed doing it, but I think once a year is enough as it is very intensive work!"


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