an exciting discovery at Glynde Place

Posted by carlotta on Saturday February 25th, 2012 at 8:53am

As soon as I arrived at Glynde Place, one of the builders asked me if I had photographed the well yet. I had missed a week because of the school holidays, so I knew nothing about the big discovery.  The story was that they were told to take down an interior wall of one of the attached outbuildings. As one of the builders was digging, he hit something that sounded hollow and assumed it was a pipe but it was in fact a well.

I was brought into the room and with great excitement the three builders began taking off large boards that protected the opening of the well. It was a huge hole in the ground. Close to 2 meters across, it went 25 meters down till it hit 10 meters of clear moving water. The well was built of large chalk blocks. The rolling hills of the South Downs surrounding Glynde Place are made of chalk, so it was a good choice of building material. You could see one side had been worn away by years of buckets being lowered to get water. I haven’t found out yet how old the well is – or when it stopped being used, was capped and forgotten. It was probably built at the same time as the oldest part of the house, almost 450 years ago. I wonder whether anyone now would know how to build such a feat of engineering.

I was unable to fulfil my intention of fully capturing this latest discovery. My fear of heights was like a physical block stopping me from getting close enough to look down into the well. The builders kindly threw in stones (it was hard for me even to do that) and it was a long time before you could hear them finally hitting the water below. This did not help to bring me to the edge of the abyss. In the end my boss, the owner of the house, took some photos of the depths of the well while I stood safely by the door.

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