an ancient holy place
Many years ago at a craft fair, I was recommended the Chadkirk Festival… after researching the event I applied for a stall and now I go there each summer and take part. It’s a lovely little festival in a great setting; with traditional music, dancing displays, and all sorts of handmade stalls in the garden area next to the chapel.
Before I head home after the festival I like to visit St Chad’s well, which is just up the hill from the chapel and see the well dressing. It’s decorated with petals, leaves and other natural materials. This year its particularly beautiful.
St. Chad’s Well Dressing 2015
From the Info board at the well:
“This ancient holy well may have had its origins in Celtic times but has come to be associated with St Chad, the 7th Century Bishop of Lichfield whose missionary work in spreading the gospel may have brought him to this remote corner of his diocese.
St Chad is regarded as the patron saint of wells and springs, in the Middle Ages, a well dedicated to him at Lichfield was said to have medicinal qualities and its water to bring about miraculous cures.
Ancient Celtic sites were often associated with water in the form of sacred pools and springs, where offerings were made to the gods. As part of the process of conversion to Christianity, places, where pagan worship had taken place, were often adopted by missionaries for Christian worship, this may be the way that our well came to be associated with St Chad.”
There isn’t access to the well – you can just get a glimpse behind the well dressing – and there doesn’t appear much water in the well, all that can be seen is a little bit of water, some plants and moss (see photo above). It still feels special, situated next to ancient woodlands and Chadkirk Chapel.
Its believed that in the 7th Century Chad, who was Bishop of Lichfield from AD 669 to 672, founded a Monastic cell near to St Chad’s Well and that the present Chadkirk Chapel occupies the same site.
From the Info board at the chapel:
“Little is known of the chapel’s early history, but records show that there was a “chaplain of Chaddkyrrke” as early as 1347. For much of its medieval existence, it was a ‘chantry chapel’ where masses were said for the dead. At the Reformation the chapel was suppressed, it was disused and became derelict. In the late 17th century it was used by Puritan dissenters, but they were ejected in 1705. Following a further period of dereliction, the chapel was restored and partly rebuilt in 1747, thereafter being used by the Church of England. In 1865 a new church of Saint Chad was built a short distance to the north in Romiley. The old chapel was used only occasionally, and the church was once more falling into disrepair.
In 1971 the chapel was declared redundant and was sold to Bredbury and Romiley Urban District Council for community use. Following further restoration in 1973 and local government reorganisation it passed to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and over the years more restoration of the chapel has taken place.
Burials – Most of the recorded burials in the Chapel and the surrounding Chapel yard date from the 18th and 19th centuries, but there are probably many older burials that were not recorded. The most privileged position for burial was with the church and close to the altar; only the wealthier families could afford these favoured plots.”
The name Chadkirk means the ‘Church of Chad’ and might be the ‘Cedde’ mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086.
Chadkirk is situated in Romiley, near to Marple in Stockport, Cheshire.
further info: friends of chadkirk blog