The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Ashford in the Water Well Dressing
Ashford in the Water Well Dressing

Ashford in the Water Well Dressing 1963


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Ashford in the Water Well Dressing 1963

26 mins United Kingdom

The village of Ashford in the Water is the location for this ambitious amateur production that records a custom practised in villages across the Peak District. Although suffering somewhat in the sound department, the vivid images more than make up for it: from the boards being soaked in the River Wye to the intricate task of adding thousands of petals and seeds to form the elaborate designs which, after a few short days, will again return to the waters of the river.

Well dressing is a tradition that stretches back to outbreaks of Bubonic Plague in the fourteenth century. The practise in the Derbyshire and Staffordshire Peak District is however more associated with nineteenth and twentieth century revivals. Ashford in the Water continues to provide a well dressing display as part of a Christian festival celebrated around Trinity Sunday.

The Media Archive for Central England is the public screen archive for the East and West Midlands. An independent charity and company based at the University of Lincoln, MACE acquires, catalogues, preserves and makes widely available moving image materials that inform our understanding of the diverse cultures and histories of communities between the Lincolnshire coast and the Welsh border.


Betty Rowland




Social customs




United Kingdom



Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

The map


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts

Never ask | Ask me later