Oswald's Well – Oswestry, England - Atlas Obscura

Oswald's Well

Oswestry, England

When King Oswald was killed in battle, an eagle dropped his arm here creating a new spring.  


The market town of Oswestry, situated close to the Welsh border, is said to be named after the Anglo-Saxon King Oswald of Northumbria. Born in 604, he was crowned king of Northumbria at the age of 30. It’s believed he died only eight years later during the Battle of Maserfield in 642, where he lost to the pagan king, King Penda of Mercia. Oswald has since been venerated as a saint. 

Upon his death, his body was dismembered and according to legend, an eagle (or his pet raven) took off with one of his arms and dropped it at an ash tree. At the spot where his arm fell to the ground, a magnificent spring emerged and has bubbled at the location ever since. 

Today, visitors to the site will find a restored medieval well which was constructed around the spring. An iron statue is also at the site along with a plaque describing the tale of King Oswald. Today, it’s a quiet spot on the outside of town, belying its gruesome history.

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August 14, 2020

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