The ancient custom of ‘Well Dressing’ is a village community event that is all but unique to villages in Derbyshire and The Peak District, and is still to this day celebrated by villagers’ in order to give thanks for their consent supply of drinking water.
Following in this tradition which was set down many years ago, the ‘Blessing of the Wells’ was first started in the Gee Cross Village in the 19th century as a way to give the mill workers a day out and to part with their money in the Grapes Hotel.
Today it’s more ceremonial as crowds of people visit the Well Dressing events which has become a great family event, celebrating the dressing of the wells, whilst following the brass bands that create the traditional festive atmosphere.
Last week, Hyde Rotary’s new President, Vicky Gaunt, visited The Hyde Chapel as preparations were in progress in for this year’s well dressing, where she presented the ladies of the WI with a cheque for £250.00. During her visit, Vicky saw first-hand the ladies painstakingly creating by hand the main display board, which depicts and celebrates 50 years since the first man, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon. They were both Americans, their spaceship “Apollo 11” was launched by NASA from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
Vicky commented, that she was inspired by watching these this incredible art form being kept alive by this group of dedicated volunteers, and looked forward to seeing the finished design in all its glory this coming weekend.
Vicky was told that the preparations for the event started weeks ago by the WI, with local groups and schools also participating; not only in helping create the theme, but also playing their part in this colourful family event as it moves around the village; visiting each of the 3 wells, accompanied by a traditional brass band.
You can visit and take part in this age-old custom on Sunday 14th July in the Gee Cross Village, with the dedication at 2.00pm following parade.