History of Well Dressing

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A Brief History of Well Dressing

Buxton Well Dressing is an ancient custom unique to the Peak District and Derbyshire, and is thought to date back to Roman and Celtic times, when communities would dress wells to give thanks for fresh water supplies. The tradition continues in scores of towns and villages between May and September each year, when everyone from schoolchildren to grandparents pitches in to create living art installations made from flower petals and other natural materials. The designs feature everything from biblical stories to special anniversaries, and Well Dressing festivals often coincide with carnivals and other special events.

Behind the scenes

The Art of Well Dressing requires time, patience and team work. Individual petals are pressed into the clay which has been previously applied to the boards. The scenic image slowly starts to appear. All this painstaking work takes about three days to complete by our many dedicated volunteers. The petals are applied inside St John’s Church.

Time Lapse Video courtesy of Anna Philips Photography