Burton Dassett - SP 398515
A holy well which is all that remains of a thriving medieval market town which was depopulated on the orders of a 14th century landowner who prefered to run sheep on the land.
The well is housed in a substantial stone well house of plain design, though little is known of its use. It is recorded that, when the town was still on the site, the water was used for baptisms and that it was generally credited with healing properties, but for what for in particular is not clear.
Meon Hill has long had a reputation for dark goings on and is generally regarded by local people as not a place to go after dark. Its moment of fame came on 14th February 1945 when the elderly labourer Charles Walton was murdered by persons unknown by being pinned to the ground with a pitchfork and having his chest and throat slashed with a billhook. Despite a not inconsiderable police presence and investigation, no-one was ever charged with his murder and the case has never been formally closed.
Rumours have abounded ever since about possible suspects, ranging from various local farmers angered by alleged acts of witchcraft against them and their families to a dispute over the possession of a particular relic. The now thoroughly discredited Dr Margaret Murray claimed that the murder was a human sacrifice according to her Sacred King hypothesis but her ideas on witchcraft generally (and the survival of a witchcult in particular) have of course been discounted by virtually all investigators and writers.
The full story of the murder of Charles Walton and the subsequent police investigation can be found in The Dragon's Hoard.
Southam - SP 4161
A holy well with a pool shaped like a half moon with three "celtic heads". The water flows through the heads and emerges from their mouths into a stone trough. To find the well, go down Park Lane, just north of the church, and then head for the south west corner of the playing field. Stay on the north bank of the stream and follow the pathway past the sewage works, then over the field, keeping a straight line, and into the next field.
The present parish church, dating from 1875, is built on the site of an earlier Templar church. The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland
(1868) reports that "The Knights Templars and Hospitallers successively held possession of the manor, and Shakespeare styles it "Hungry Grafton"."
apparently on account of the poor quality of the soil in the parish.
It was at the earlier church on the site that the said William Shakespeare married Ann Whateley or Hathaway c1582 of the parish of Temple Grafton.
Shakespeare's name is associated in documents relating to the marriage with a woman or women names Ann Whateley and Ann Hathaway. It's uncertain whether two different women were involved or whether Ann was perhaps a widow and one surname was her maiden name and the other the name of her first husband.
Unfortunately there are no Templar remains, or at least if there are they're not visible.