HERE is the ornate well that was mentioned briefly in last week’s Hidden Henley.
Rebecca’s Well is in a substantial enclosure alongside a public footpath in woods in Crazies Hill and is decorated with biblical illustrations.
Historian Michael Bayley says that in the late 19th century the villagers had no water except from a spring in the woods known as Rebra’s Well.
The Rev Grenville Phillimore was determined to help them and raised enough money to have a proper basin fitted to the spring in 1870 so that the water would not be spoiled by the mud.
Then, because the villagers seemed to treat the spring as something to be worshipped, he had a cross erected there to claim it for his religion.
He also decided that Rebra must be a run-down form of the biblical name Rebecca, who was chosen to be Isaac’s wife when she went to the well to draw water.
Rev Phillimore added a text and verse from Chaucer for good measure and his parishioners raised another £25 to build the brick building around the spring.
Many people called the spring Phillimore’s Spring but the Rev insisted on Rebecca’s Well.
I believe the well was still being used as a domestic water supply as recently as the late Fifties.