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St. Helen's Well

Subject ID:
Thorp Arch
Leeds Library & Information Services
Class number:
Wetherby Collection Vol 14 Y914.281 Wet/20
St. Helen
Undated St. Helen's Well is located near part of a Roman road called Rudgate which was built to by-pass York. Here, the road which was once called St. Helen's Lane, follows the boundary between Thorp Arch and Walton through a small wood known as Chapel Wood. St. Helen's Well is a spring named for Helen, mother of the Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great. She was instrumental in encouraging the Emperor to convert to Christianity. It has been the custom for many years for local people to make votive offerings to a spirit in return for the granting of a secret wish at the 'Rag Well'. Access to the area became more difficult when a munitions factory was built there in the second world war and later, Thorp Arch Trading Estate. The well is in a recess under the roots of the wych-elm according to Bogg writing in 1901. He makes reference to a Chapel also dedicated to St. Helen which stood there in pre-reformation times.

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