Mr Woodley and The Westons Well, Beedon

Mr Woodley writes to Lord Wantage’s Estate Manager, Colonel Colebrooke Carter, to find a remedy for the broken well.  Today, we take mains water for granted but back in 1908, most of Beedon took their water from wells.

The Westons Well, Beedon
The Westons Well, Beedon

August 14, 1908 – Letter from William Woodley to Col. Colebrook Carter

Dear Sir,

I trust you will excuse me writing you on the water supply of Beedon.

I gathered from your remarks on 11th instant at District Council inserting that you do not claim a right to the well at ‘Westons Farm’ on behalf of Lady Wantage.

I have know the ‘well’ the past 50 years and it has always been known at a ‘Westons’ well. The late Mr King of Beedon Farm has to my knowledge drawn water from the well day after day for his cattle, and also Mr J. Butler when farming Beedon Farm for the late Lord Wantage used to draw Water from this well when required in a dry season, and alo Mr Marriott of Ashridge.

When the 3 cottages at Purton and the 3 cottages at Westons also the other 3 cottages opposite always have had their supply of water from ‘Westons Well’ all belonging to Lady Wantage. The two cottages at College Farm has also had their supply and cattle (of there) also.

The well is on the side of the road on a strip of waste ground and so nearer the building of Westons Farm owner Lady Wantage, than it is to the buildings of College Farm, though I admit it is opposite the land of the yard of College Farm, but it is outside the bounds of the College property.

The only supply of drinking water for the cottages is the well opposite the school house there are 25 tenants of Lady Wantage (and 2 tenants at College Farm) using this one small well and it is very inconvenient for them as they are all labourers except Mr Picket and have to get their water in the evening.

In explanation of so many having to use this one well I may say the water at the Kiln Well is unfit to drink, they tell me it is clear but tastes so strong of the well rope which was in the well some 12 months before it was got out when you kindly had the new tackel put to the well some two or more months back.

I have looked at the wire rope today and I think about two thirds of the rope will last a long time yet if two new seeds are grafted on, there is a good depth of water in the well and it is the two seeds to which the buckets are attached which are rusted away. I found the two buckets ready to fall to pieces with the dry weather they are in the direct sunshine several hours each day. I covered them with…of a bag.

If you still consider the ‘Westons’ well belongs to the Parish (or to College Farm) may I ask for you kind advice as to what steps should be taken if it is a Parish Well to put the tackle in repair, ought I as Chairman of Beedon Parish Meeting to call a meeting to deal with the matter under treat(?) for, act 1894, sec 9, S.S.9.

Or is it the duty of the District Council to see to the matter and charge the cost on the Parish.

I am dear Sir

Yours faithfully

W. Woodley

August 17, 1908 – Response from Col Colebrook Carter


I am in receipt of your letter of 14th instant which absence from home has prevented me sooner replying to. I have no doubt that the information you give is correct, but is in no way affects my statement as to the ownership of the Weston’s Well. I am in communication with the Bursar of Queens College in the matter. In any case it is desirable that no further delay would arise in providing the cottagers who are dependent upon that well with a good supply of water, and I am taking steps to bring about this result with the utmost despatch. I never considered that the well belonged to the Parish, nor, do I think, I ever made any such statement.

Yours faithfully

Col. Colebrook Carter

The Westons Well, Beedon - 2015
The Westons Well, Beedon – 2015

The Westons Well survives today, albeit the well-shaft is now capped over with concrete for safety reasons (the well can be found just to the south of 4 Westons, Beedon, Newbury, RG20 8SL)

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