Friday, 23 August 2013

Chadkirk Well-Dressing Festival

On 28 July we visited the 17th annual well-dressing festival at Chadkirk Chapel and Country Estate. I've never attended one of these before or seen a dressed well but I love anything to do with old traditions so off to Chadkirk we went.

Well dressing was also once known as well flowering and you can see why: all of the pictures are created from petals, leaves, bark, feathers and other natural objects. It is particularly associated with Derbyshire and Staffordshire but has now been adopted in other areas, like at this one in Cheshire.

The chapel itself dates from the 16th century though, as with most buildings, it has been renovated and parts rebuilt over the years.

The new East Window was unveiled as part of the celebrations. The central motif is based on the design of an Anglo-Saxon preaching cross: I thought its simplicity suited the building perfectly. Did you notice that the window was also used in the design of the well dressing?

I also admired the crucifix and candlesticks designed by Ben Coode-Adams. The crucifix is based on an illuminated manuscript in the Durham gospels of AD732 and the candlesticks represent the two soldiers who stood by the cross.

He also designed the wooden panels at the other end of the chapel. This one shows the consecration of St Chad as Bishop of York.

Before we left the chapel we enjoyed a performance of bell-ringing.

Outside in the walled garden there were lots of lovely stalls to tempt us.

I was particularly taken with the lovely stained glass creations of Sarah Brelsford and this bird and heart decoration just had to come home with us.

Out on the lawn, it was time for the morris dancers to entertain us. You might notice the man in the background wearing a very fetching plastic poncho. We were also wearing one by this point as protection against the very heavy showers which rushed over between the hot sunshine for most of the day.

Later there was a birds of prey demonstration. I think this beauty is a merlin.

At the demonstrator's stand afterwards, Chickpea couldn't stop smiling when she was allowed to hold the little owl.

We found a bird of a different kind at the edge of the wood.

And this little mouse was carved into the trunk below the woodpecker.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Festival - it was one of those sweet, old-fashioned and very English village fete-type events and we easily spent a few hours there wandering around the stalls, watching the performances and soaking up the atmosphere. There are also woodland and canal walks too which we didn't have time to explore on our visit - another time maybe. x


I can't believe a week of my hols has gone by already. So far there's been a mixture of reading, gardening, foraging, jam-making, fabric cutting and days out - no wonder the time has flown! I'll be telling you all about it at some point though I still have a couple of other things to tell you about first.

Thank you all for visiting and your lovely comments - they really do make my day :)


  1. This looks like a lovely little festival, your photos are so pretty, I really felt I was there with you! Just beautiful. I love the little birdie and heart you bought too.
    Marianne x

  2. Oh I would have loved this festival so very much!
    Love the chapel that you showed us too, I would want to see that very much.
    Love birds of prey shows also. I held an owl last year at a wildlife festival, it was a large owl but surprisingly light on my arm.
    Don't blame you one bit about the little bird and heart in blue and white, I would not be able to resist that either.

  3. That looks a really

    That looks my cup of tea - what a great fete in a lovely looking place. xx

  4. A great post with some lovely photos. I love well dressing - it's common around me of course but this year I've managed to not see a single on yet - even though I'm surrounded by hundreds of well that are dressed each year! The season isn't quite over yet, so I may yet squeeze one in! I love those sculptures and the birds of course!

  5. Wow the wells look amazing covered in petals, those designs must've taken hours to achieve. I love the carving of the little mouse on the tree trunk.