youlgrave  welldressers


Origins of Welldressing

The village of Youlgrave has more reason than others in Derbyshire to give thanks for water by celebrating welldressing as we have our very own water supply which has never let us down. The custom must have its origin in pagan ritual, when flowers and greenery were placed beside springs and wells to placate the gods and spirits who were believed to dwell within them.

It is not recorded how long the custom has been practised in Youlgrave, but in 1829 water was first piped to the ‘Fountain’ in the centre of the village. From this time dressings have been erected as a thanksgiving for water by the villagers freed from the burden of toiling up the hillside from the river with their yokes and pails of water.

In 1869 taps were placed along the village street, loosely defining the present day sites.