Marsden Holy Dipping Well, Preston

I went to find Marsden Well near Preston, today. Not only does it enjoy an excellent name, but it has an interesting origin. It has probably been used since Saxon times; early Christian missionaries are likely to have baptised converts here. It measures twelve feet by five feet, so it could accommodate total bodily immersion. One of its nicknames is 'the dipping well'. It is just a few dozen yards from the banks of the Ribble; the Saxon missionaries must have deemed this natural spring a safer alternative to the mighty river. According to, the current stonework and five steps date from the 13th or 14th centuries. 

It was pretty hard to find. The walk down an ancient track to the river takes one through glades of bluebells. The riverbanks are covered in wild garlic and rhubarb, the leaves of which render searching most difficult. When I eventually identified the well (the dark patch in the photograph's foreground below) I carefully descended the uneven steps feeling for the depth of the bottom. Its muddy water didn't quite make it over my wellies, but its stench certainly made it to my nostrils. And my phone ended up in the dank water. 
Theologically, I've not held the Saxon Church in high regard. Still, one hopes this was the spot upon which those ancient folk found Christ.