Black Jack's Well: Sparsholt's healing spring
5 February 2024
Black Jack's Well, a natural spring said to have miraculous healing properties, is located in the heart of Sparsholt Park, just a stone's throw from Sparsholt Manor House and the picturesque Holy Cross Church.
Similar to other Oxfordshire healing wells at Wychwood and Binsey, the water from this well is said to be particularly efficacious in curing eye complaints. The well now stands on private property so sadly testing the well's healing abilities will prove tricky.
Black Jack, an Oxfordshire bogeyman?
What drew my attention to this well is its name. I've previously written an article about Black Jack's Hole, a bend in the river on Port Meadow near Oxford, which had a grim reputation for drowning unwary swimmers.
Black Jack was the name of a bogeyman figure, said to lurk at the bottom of the river and pull unwary swimmers to their deaths. This was likely a story spread by concerned parents to discourage their children from swimming in what is a deceptively deep and fast-flowing section of the river in a spot popular with picnickers.
Could the well at Sparsholt Park have been named for similar reasons?
- 'The Veiled Vale' by Mike White (Two Rivers Press, 2016, ISBN: 9781909747173)