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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 1909. 

 

Well

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 home. 

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.

 HN Well
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 corrosion.

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 collapsing.
 

The Project

 Objectives
 

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.


A ’Schedule 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 which  was to obtain quotations  from suitable tradesmen   who were experienced  in working on Listed Buildings.

 

 Renovation


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 collapse. 

 

 

Well Restoration 

Well Restoration 

 Re-building the foundation wall

 Well Restoration

Well Restoration 

Well Restoration 

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.

 

 Well RTestoration

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
matt-black paint

Well Restoration 

 


A large number of the
 

timbers in the oak frame 

were rotten or had become 

loose and unstable.  It was 

necessary for whole areas of 

the frame to be dismantled 

and new but traditionally seasoned oak spliced in. 

Well Restoration 

 

 

The frame was then reconstructed using traditional woodworking methods, such as mortise and tenon joints so no screws or nails were used. 

 

 

Well Restoration

 

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.

Well Restoration 


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.

 

Well Restoration

  Well Restoration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.