Healing Well: OS Grid Reference – unknown
Archaeology & History
This bizarre-sounding well owed its name—if we are to accept H.A. Cadman’s (1930) version of history—to the local land-owner,
“Joseph Mortimer and it was so-called because Mortimer’s christian name was Doidy Poidy.”
But this seems unlikely. The term ‘doidy’ is a local dialect word, seemingly found only in West Yorkshire, meaning ‘an overdressed person, especially female,’ (Haigh 1928), with doidy-poidy being rhyming slang for the same thing. The english dialect magus, Joseph Wright (1900), proclaimed the same derivative, “a badly dressed woman, a dowdy.” So it may have been that this title was endowed upon Mortimer’s wife.
Cadman told that the Doidy Poidy Well was one of the “chief wells” of Gomersal, implying that its waters were good and strong. Its existence on what was known as “the old feasting grounds” may have played a part in the “public rejoicings which last for days… The feast was on the Monday on or before Lady Day.” (March 25th, around spring equinox) However, Cadman assures us that the celebrations were started “when the Gomersal Cloth Hall was opened,” telling us that “this feast or fair is not therefore an ecclesiastical one.”
The exact whereabouts of the Doidy Poidy Well remains a mystery (the map-link, above, shows an approximation from the middle of Gomersal).
- Cadman, H. Ashwell, Gomersal, Past and Present, Hunters Armley: Leeds 1930.
- Haigh, W.E., A New Glossary on the Dialect of the Huddersfield District, Oxford University Press 1928.
- Wright, Joseph (ed.), English Dialect Dictionary – volume 2, Henry Frowde: London 1900.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian