Little John's Well (Hampole)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Coordinate 53.592061, -1.247162
Adm. div. West Riding of Yorkshire
Vicinity 1.3 km NW of Hampole
Type Monument
Interest Robin Hood name
Status Extant?
First Record 1838
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Little John's Well.
All is not well at Little John's Well, Hampole / Gerald England.
Little John's Well, 1967 / Gerald England.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-07-10. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2022-04-22. Photo: Gerald England

The now derelict Little John's Well is located on the NE side of Doncaster Road (A638), 1.3 km NW of Hampole, a little west of Barnsdale. The name is first recorded in an 1838 MS Tithe Award where it appears as "Little John's Cave & Well", while on an 1841 Ordnance Survey map the locality is indicated as "Lt. John's Well"[1] The well water used to fill a stone trough that had the name "Little John's Well" incised on the front. What remains of the masonry at the well is grade II listed, described as follows: "Remains of seat. Probably C17. Limestone slab standing upright and with recessed panel on one face with the initials 'AL' crudely inscribed beneath a carved device of a 5-petalled rose in a shield. Irregularly-shaped head"[2] In addition to the name "Little John's Well", the 6" O.S. map published in 1854, based on surveying done in 1849, includes the legend "Trough" and shows a structure which is clearly of the same shape as that shown on Gerald England's photos (see below), thus indicating that the stone structure was certainly in place by the mid-nineteenth century.[3]

The site is now dry as the water has been diverted to nearby lakes, and the inscription, clearly visible on the photo in Mitchell (1970),[4] can no longer be traced. In 2021, Little John's Well was said to be "sadly now well overgrown and vandalised [...] The stone quarry behind the well has been excavated over the years with the natural spring that fed it also drying up".[5] Near the well was the site known as Little John's Cave, but this appears to have been filled in. The locality is very close to Hazel Lane Quarry, an active limestone quarry.


MS Sources

  • 1838 Tithe Award; cf. Smith.[1] Little John's Well is not listed in the 1838 tithe award for Hampole online at the Genealogist, Piece 43, sub-piece 190, Image 288-90 (£), but it is probably incomplete as it runs to only three pages.

Printed sources



Also see


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Smith, A.H. The Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire (English Place-Name Society, vols. XXX-XXXVII) (Cambridge, 1961-63), pt. II, p. 44. The tithe award is not that for Hampole, online at the Genealogist, Piece 43, sub-piece 190, Image 288-90 (£), which is dated 1838 and appears to be complete though running to three pages only. IRHB has not found any reference to Little John's Well in the tithe awards for neighbouring townships online at The Genealogist. Evidently the tithe award in question is not at the National Archives.
  2. British Listed Buildings: Seat at Little Johns Well.
  3. See Maps section below.
  4. Mitchell, W.R. The Haunts of Robin Hood (Clapham via Lancaster, 1970), p. 4.
  5. The Villaeg Idiot: Doncaster Round-Up (YouTube).