MSO9418 - St Leonard's Well, Dunster (Building)


A holy well with a probably 16th Century well house, on the northeast side of Grabbist. It was used to supply water to the Dunster Priory and to two public troughs in the churchyard and the High Street.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

[SS 9850 4386] St. Leonard's Well [NR]. [1] The holy well of St. Leonard is situate on the north-east side of Grabbist. A small 14th or 15th century building stands over it but the water is not now used. The well may have been the water supply for the priory and also may have filled the arched water-trough in the south wall of the churchyard. It is mentioned in deeds of 51 Edward III and 14 Henry IV. [2] The wellhouse is built into the bank on the southern side of Conduit Lane (see G.P. AO/65/125/2). The trough mentioned by Horne, as being in the wall of the churchyard, has been removed from its arched recess, at SS 9903 4362 (see G.P. AO/65/125/3). [3] Well-head over St. Leonard's Well, Grade II, Conduit Lane. Probably 16th Century origin. Rubble, rectangular on plan, cemented roof. Chamfered freestone opening on Lane with segmental head, plain wooden door. [4] St. Leonard's Well supplied water by conduit to the priory and then to two public troughs, one in the churchyard wall, and another situated formerly at the south end of the High Street. [5] Scheduled on 12 November 2003. [6] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 8. [7] The 2002 Conservation Area Character Appraisal for Dunster mentions the well-head as being within the conservation area (though it does not appear to be) and states that "this is believed to be of 16th century or earlier origin. The present structure consists of a chamfered freestone opening with segmental head adjoining the lane. It has probable associations with the former Priory." [8] The building was visited as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 3A. [10] The site was surveyed in April 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 10. [11] The priory water supply was fed, via a conduit, from St Leonard's well, which also supplied two public troughs in the settlement. The current wellhead is 16th Century in date. [12] St Leonard's Well is depicted and labelled on 2018 MasterMap data, at SS 9850 4386 on the southern side of Conduit Lane (a track). [13] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [14] Vegetation clearance was undertaken as part of the 2018-2020 monument management scheme [15].

Sources/Archives (15)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1903-1949. County Series; 3rd Edition (2nd Revision) 6 Inch Map. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Horne, E. 1923. Holy Wells of Somerset. P. 51.
  • <3> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 26 May 1965.
  • <4> Index: 4/8/1983. Twenty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. District of West Somerset (Somerset). P. 13.
  • <5> Monograph: Aston, M. and Leech, R.. 1977. Historic Towns in Somerset. Committee for Rescue Archaeology in Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset. Survey Number 2. P. 47.
  • <6> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 24/11/2003. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <7> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park. Exmoor National Park Authority.
  • <8> Report: Fisher, J.. 2002. Dunster Conservation Area Character Appraisal. Exmoor National Park Authority. p23.
  • <9> Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1958. The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset. Penguin Books. p156.
  • <10> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13. Visited by S Blaylock.
  • <11> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <12> Report: Croft, B.. 2007. Dunster Tithe Barn: Archaeological recording and excavations 2005-2007; Interim report November 2007. 2.
  • <13>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #39193 ]
  • <14> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36881, Extant 17 May 2022.
  • <15> Unpublished document: Blaylock, Shirley and Thurlow Thomas. 2021. MONUMENT MANAGEMENT SCHEME FOR EXMOOR OCTOBER 2018 – MARCH 2020.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (3A): 26/4/34
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12015
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12075
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE12
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36881
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34814
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34934



Grid reference Centred SS 2985 1439 (4m by 4m)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Jan 31 2024 4:59PM


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