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We’ve found an ancient well

Medieval spring France

We’ve found an ancient spring and medieval well.
It’s probably much older than our house! Maybe a 1,000 years old or more.
We were talking to our French neighbour and she mentioned she used to play in our garden by the small lake as a child.
She asked us if we had found the ancient well. We answered ‘Oui’, it’s just a stone with some rusty taps underneath.
‘Non! Non! C’est magnifique !’ – She replied.

This mystery needed to be solved and a challenge had been set.
We knew there were dolmens and megaliths in the fields surrounding our house.

According to ancient maps, something marked with an inverted ‘v’ was within very close proximity of our house around 1,000 years ago.

The Creuse is known as the land of 1,000 lakes. Just 500 meters from our house is a huge natural lake.
In the woods next door, was a network of natural caves and a massive sink hole with a natural spring.
The garden hadn’t been touched for at least 30 years; maybe even 40. Hazel trees and bramble had taken over.

Worse than that, the previous owner had left animal traps everywhere. He thought most had been removed but was particularly confident!

It’s illegal to use Metal Detectors in France

If an area is of archaeological or historic interest; which this well would be; then according to French law it is illegal to use Metal detectors around this well to detector to artifacts; or in our case animal traps. When we viewed the house there was a very old rusty one hanging in the barn. It was gone when we received the keys.

Trying to clear the trees and brambles to get to the back of the lake where we suspected the well might be would be time consuming.

Around the lake seemed to be some very large stones. As Autumn set in, one particularly huge stone became visible on the edge of the lake.

After five hours of sawing down naturally seeded hazel trees, that stone was reached, but no well had been found.

However, the wall continued in a circular pattern. This dry stone granite wall might well be older than the house.

It was definitely very well built with many of the stones hand carved into shape.

There also appeared to be a oxbow shaped stream coming off the end of our lake that we knew nothing about.

The area was full off discarded farm equipment, 1970’s toys and items such as barrels. But still no ancient well.

In the center of the area was a massive self-seeded hazel tree that was tipping over the ancient wall.
The plan for this area is to clear it, then create an orchard. So we are going to remove most of the hazel.

Now we know it is also knocking down an ancient wall that plan has been reinforced.
Upon removing a particularly large hazel trunk, some ivy and bramble also up-rooted revealing the root structure.

As these roots revealed we heard a ‘plop’. We were a fair distance from the lake, so had we found the ancient well?

We dragged some bits of rusty tractor to one side and there it was!
A carved entrance to an ancient well.
It was just a shame the the hazel tree had started to knock it over.

If we don’t take down the hazel tree soon then the well is obviously in danger of collapse.

Our neighbour was a professional forester. He’s going to advice us on clearing the land and planting new fruit trees.

One day, we probably need to clear the lake. 30 years ago, it used to be filled with huge carp. They’ve long gone.

Now, birds rarely visit and in summer the algae gets really thick. It’s basically a glorified swamp, but we love it!

We have our hands full.

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