The Parish Well
Situated in the centre of the village of Hampstead Norreys is the lovely Grade II listed Parish Well. It is complete
with a triple-throw hand-cranked pump mechanism for withdrawing water and is enclosed in an Oak four sided
structure with tiled roof.
The well was gifted to the parish in 1903 by Harry Weber
Esq. who lived at Hawkridge, near
Frilsham. Mr Weber owned Manor Farm, Hampstead Norreys, from 1902 until
Parishioners would come, with their buckets, to fetch water from
the well before mains water was piped to the village. It could also be pumped into a trough, beside the well,
for watering animals or routed through a delivery pipe into people’s containers for carrying
The well was not very deep and so the water volume and quality
were not great. In the 1930’s, an additional single cranked borehole pump, driven straight down into the
water table, was installed further along Church Street to the north of the well. This was used to supply
water to villagers’ right up to when mains water arrived in the early 1950’s.
The arrival of mains water meant that the Parish Well was no longer being used on a regular basis
and, sadly, it became quite neglected and fell into a state of significant
disrepair. The floor began to crumble and disintegrate around the
well opening and the pump mechanism and wellhead seized up due to rust and
The protective superstructure of the well was in fairly good
condition with the roof having recently been retiled; however, significant amounts of work were required to
the woodwork which was in very poor condition with whole sections having rotted away.
The foundation wall supporting the oak structure was also at risk of
Hampstead Norreys Parish Well is a Grade II Listed Building and so it was essential that all work complied with the
guidelines set out by the local Conservation Office. In the first instance a survey was undertaken to assess the state of
the well’s superstructure and working parts.
of Works’ was then produced, to ensure the renovation work was carried out in accordance with the designated
conservation regulations. Once confirmation had been received, from the Conservation Office, that the works listed in the schedule did not constitute any significant change and therefore ‘Listed Building’ consent
was not required the
project moved forward
into the next stage
was to obtain quotations
who were experienced
in working on Listed
Renovation work started on the Parish Well in September 2013. The first task was to rebuild the foundation wall on which the structure is mounted. This wall
lies in the old riverbed and when the water level is high the area is prone to
flooding. This had had an adverse effect on the
brickwork, over many years, resulting in much of the mortar having been washed away
leaving the wall substantially weakened and liable to
the foundation wall
The pump mechanism was then hoisted clear of the floor so that
the old concrete could be broken out and the debris cleared.
A new reinforced concrete slab was laid
with the well opening being left exposed.
An iron grating was fitted across the
aperture to enable the well chamber to be visible.
The pump mechanism was removed from site in order that it could be sand
blasted, removing all the rust and corrosion. Once this has been completed the whole was primed and
finished with two coats of a suitable
A large number of
timbers in the oak
were rotten or had
unstable. It was
necessary for whole areas
the frame to be
and new but traditionally
seasoned oak spliced
The frame was then reconstructed using traditional
woodworking methods, such as mortise and tenon joints so no screws or nails were used.
42 decorative spiked finials, which edged the top
of the oak frame, were badly affected by rust and corrosion so it wasn't possible for any to be
reused. Fortunately, there was, one spike, which was still intact, so the blacksmith was able to
use this as a pattern when recasting the replacement finials.
Sometime in the past, probably when the roof was retiled the guttering had, unfortunately
been replaced with plastic piping. This was, obviously, not in keeping with a Grade II Listed Building and research showed
that the guttering would have originally been cast iron.All the old plastic piping was removed and replaced with cast iron and an overflow pipe was
extended over the Well Garden enabling excess
water to be distributed away from the Parish Structure, thus avoiding any future problems with water ingress
into the walls and timber.
The renovation work was completed in November 2013 with the
two newly refurbished plaques, commemorating the donation of the well in 1903 and the village
‘ Best Kept Village’ competition, being returned to their original places.