Derby

Crowds flock to Tissington Well Dressings

Clergy bless the wells Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption Each well was blessed at the beginning of the Tissington Well Dressings on Thursday

An annual well dressing festival with roots believed to date back as far as the 14th Century is taking place in a Derbyshire village.

Tissington, which has a population of about 110 people, will welcome 35,000 over the course of a week for the Tissington Well Dressings.

Six wells have been decorated using clay, petals and coffee beans.

It is believed the tradition began when locals reasoned they escaped the Black Death due to the water supply's purity.

Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption The wells were decorated with the help of volunteers and children
Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption Each decoration has a theme, including the ancient game of Shrovetide Football

Sir Richard FitzHerbert, chief executive of Tissington Hall, said: "The wells never dried up in times of plague. It is done to praise the Lord, but it has a secular tone to it."

Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption People from Spain, France and New Zealand have already visited the village since the event got under way
Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption The event is religious, but has a "secular tone", according to Tissington Hall chief executive Sir Richard FitzHerbert

The themes of the tributes to the wells vary, with this year's decorations celebrating events such as the Queen's 90th birthday, the 150th year since Beatrix Potter's birth and the ancient game of Shrovetide Football.

Wells are dressed by applying clay on wooden boards, using materials like coffee beans to make an outline and placing twigs, wool and petals on to the surface for different colour effects.

Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption The origins of the event date back as far as the 14th Century, when villagers all escaped the Black Death

Sir Richard said since the event began, the village had welcomed visitors from Spain, France and New Zealand.

"It's what we're famous for and long may it continue," he said.

The event, which began on Thursday, will conclude on Wednesday.

Image copyright Sir Richard FitzHerbert
Image caption The village expects to welcome 35,000 people over the course of the event

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