The Wells of Heswall by Jenny McRonald
Over the years there has been much debate as to the origins of the name Heswall. Many
suggestions have been made and Heswall has had different names in the past. However, whatever
the reason for the name, we do know that Heswall or Eswelle has had many wells. Our native
sandstone is soft and easy to fracture to make wells. The village had very little running water and
the wells which were recorded were all near clusters of farms and cottages. Of the many wells that
existed in the area, few can be seen today but they were good sources of water in their time for
men and beasts alike.
The site of Penns or Prense Well can be found in Telegraph Road under the railings round the tree
outside the block of shops that includes Linghams. The cottages, which once stood where the shops
are now, shared the same name. It seems to be one of the main wells for the top village; one
wonders how far people travelled for their water.
Pipers Well at the end of Pipers Lane, to which it gave its name, was, according to an article in the
Cheshire Sheaf of 1935, situated in a spot a little to the SW of the Dungeons and about midway
between Pipers Lane and the footpath leading from Oldfield to Thurstaston.
Wallrake or Hessle Well still has a plaque on the site of this well which can still be seen in the
Wallrake in the wall of Hesslewell House, commemorating the closure of the well in 1891. In the dry
season there were 15 steps down to the water level. W H Edwards, who wrote much about Heswall
in the early 20th century, said that at certain times in the year water overflowed from the well and
streamed ran down to the then Village square, where The Wallrake meets Station Road, making a
fine pool for ducks and children to dabble in. Horses, after a days work in the fields, were sent to this
well from farms in the village on their own and would always return home still alone for their nightly
The Pin Well in Gayton is situated on the ancient route from Chester and Parkgate linking the
riverside settlements. Walking past the cobblestones on Gayton Farm Road this well can be found
between there and an entrance to the Golf Course. It was nicknamed the Pin Well as it was said
that you could make a wish while dropping a pin in the well. King William’s horses are said to have
drunk from this well on his visit to Gayton Hall.
Lightfoot Well known as Lightfoots Well, after the farmer who lived nearby in Quarry Road East, is
on the short footpath that leads from Grange Road to Irby Road about halfway along on the right
approaching from Grange Road. There were only a few farms and cottages in this area along with
the Grange, now Grange Nursing home and Highgate, another large house which stood where
Highgate Close now is. Another well nearby is indicated on the map of 1912 off Irby road where
Quarry Close now stands.
Rosebank Well was to be found in School Hill on the site of a house called Rosebank, later named
Bank House Well another well indicated on the 1912 Ordnance Survey map, is in Thurstaston Road
on the site of the then Bank House. Later this became Broomlands school which I attended. The
main part of the house was demolished and the houses built on the site are still known as
Broomlands. As with most wells it will have long been capped.
Far Well was situated in Well Lane, presumably giving the Lane its name, and was in the grounds of
the now Well House.
Information taken from the Heswall Society. Please visit their website for further information.