Old Wells in Ewell

1982/2 p4

 

Old wells in Ewell

 

Early in December 1981, before snow put a stop to such frivolous activities, the Water Board opened up the pavement by the side of 90 High Street, Ewell (Ralph Tugwoods, village jeweller) to disclose the top of a well. At some time this had been filled in but the infill had sunk over the years so that we could see the top 3 feet of the structure formed by a few courses of brickwork and, below this, shaped chalk blocks in regular courses. These blocks were clean white and appeared to be numbered in Roman numerals. The internal diameter was 4 feet 2 inches, and the whole seemed to be neatly tucked just inside the land belonging to the property, i.e. just behind the building line and close up to the NE boundary between 88 and 90 High Street, which is indicated by brickwork in the pavement: grid reference TQ 2198 6239. Early OS maps do not show a well here. The hole was filled in and covered with tarmacadam after a few hours..

 

This incident let me to look up a record I made of an old well found in 1975 during the redevelopment of land where 10–12 Longdown Lane North now stand, at grid reference TQ 2244 6100). The 1860 map shows ‘Longdown Cottage’ here, and when I saw the site first in the 1950s there was what appeared to be an old farmhouse with a part cellar, which was added to on two sides and divided into two dwellings; these were demolished in the early 1970s.

 

During excavations for the foundations, the old well was exposed. It was dry but still 34 feet deep. It had probably been partly filled in over the years since becoming disused. The top 11 feet were in dry brickwork; only the top courses were laid in mortar. Below the brickwork the well was dug direct into the chalk, which comes close to the surface here. The internal diameter was 44 inches and the centre was 10 feet inside the boundary between 8 and 10 Longdown Lane North and 36 feet behind the roadside edge of the plot. It was filled in, topped with concrete, and built over.

 

Maurice Exwood