History Articles - The La'Well Tree

For six years I wrote a short history article in the monthly parish magazine, The Pelican.  One of the articles is shown in the column opposite.

Articles can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate title from the index below.

If anyone has any old photographs or parish information which they would like recorded (for present and future generations to share) then please get in touch with me.

    John Davison (Website Co-ordinator)
           Telephone: 01670 760609
      Email: jdavison26@btinternet.com

63   Dec 2011 We'll Weather the Weather
62   Nov 2011 Alan's Ackl'n Appearances
61   Oct 2011 Ackl'n Marriages 1913-14
60   Sep 2011 Old Photographs Required
59   Jul 2011 A Tower With A Tale To Tell
58   Jun 2011 A Well Kept Secret
57   May 2011 Fishy Business
56   Apr 2011 Acklington Warrior Stone
55   Mar 2011 The Church of St John
54   Feb 2011 Deep and Chrisp
53   Dec 2010 For Whom The Bell Tolls
52   Nov 2010 Which Village?
51   Oct 2010 A Pilot's Memories
50   Sep 2010 Acklington Black Poplar
49   Jul 2010 Street Names
48   Jun 2010 RAF Memorial
47   May 2010 Crowning Glory
46   Apr 2010 Badminton Club
45   Mar 2010 Murder On The Train
44   Feb 2010 Guyzance Tragedy
43   Dec 2009 Acklington Park
42   Nov 2009 Dye House (Part 2)
41   Sep 2009 Dye House (Part 1)
40   Jul 2009 History Making Heads
39   Jun 2009 Acklington Main Street
38   May 2009 James Raymond Smith
37   Apr 2009 The Age of Steam Trains
36   Mar 2009 Fred Wilson
35   Feb 2009 Guyzance School
34   Dec 2008 Acklington W.I.
33   Nov 2008 Lych Gate
32   Oct 2008 Village Hall Disaster
31   Sep 2008 Summer Crowds
30   Jul 2008 Spot The Differences
29   Jun 2008 Sunday School
28   May 2008 National Finalist
27   Apr 2008 What's in A Name
26   Mar 2008 Railway Inn
25   Feb 2008 Osprey
24   Dec 2007 The Guyzance 10
23   Nov 2007 Bowls Club
22   Oct 2007 Village Harvest
21   Sep 2007 Wedding Bliss
20   Jun 2007 The Other Acklington Artist
19   May 2007 The La'Well Tree
18   Apr 2007 The German Spy
17   Mar 2007 The Winter of 47
16   Feb 2007 Les Birkett's Memories
15   Jan 2007 Railway Station
14   Dec 2006 Jane Chapman
13   Nov 2006 Witches
12   Oct 2006 Jack Taylor
11   Sep 2006 Black Ralph
10   Aug 2006 School Photographs
09   Jul 2006 Pig Killings
08   Jun 2006 Village Hall Disaster
07   May 2006 Cricketers
06   Apr 2006 On Yer Bike
05   Apr 2006 Cricket
04   Mar 2006 Mailbag Robbery
03   Feb 2006 Storm of 1886
02   Jan 2006 Football
01   Dec 2005 Help Required

Acklington History Slot    The La’ Well Tree

May is the month when trees are bursting with life and energy.  Blossoms and fresh new leaves abound on branches everywhere.  I am very fond of trees.  Trees have always been significant in Acklington Parish and I hope they continue to be so.  This month I would like to tell you about the La’ Well Tree which at one time played an important part in the history of the parish.  Sadly this tree and the “lower well” from which it got its name are long since gone. 

Before Acklington Church was built in 1861, most people in the area went to Warkworth Church for christenings, marriages and burials.  When someone died at Acklington, those who could not walk all the way to Warkworth for the funeral would walk with the corpse as far as the Lower Well Tree.  After a suitable rest under the tree’s branches, and when all the appropriate prayers and goodbyes had been said, the cortège would head off for Warkworth while many of the mourners would trudge back to their homes and daily chores. 

Matthew Purvis wrote a poem called “The La’ Well Tree” in 1858, just a few years before his own corpse was carried past the lower well on its way to its last resting place.  There is an inscription to him on a gravestone in Warkworth churchyard.  Astonishingly he wrote the poem when he was only 16 years of age to mark the passing of the tree which had obviously meant so much to him.  And when he died (aged only 19) his body may well have been the last to be carried past the lower well as the church in Acklington was built that very year.  Life is always full of strange coincidences.  Anyhow, I will leave you with Matthew’s poem.  I am sure, if he’s looking down, he will have a quiet chuckle to himself in the knowledge that, although his life was short and his favourite tree has gone, his fine poem lives on and is being read by parishioners of Acklington and Warkworth all these years later.


The La’ Well Tree
     by Matthew Purvis

Raving the ruthless elements
For ages swiftly sped
The king of trees that’s borne the breeze
Is numbered with the dead.

No more its loved majestic form
My longing eye shall see
When homeward bound, what joy was found
When I saw the La’ Well Tree. 

Yet monitor sad of days gone by
From sin and sorrow free
When as a boy I did enjoy
My sports by the La’ Well Tree. 

Witness too of greatest grief
To thee the corpse was borne
When man, of breath deprived by death,
Was from his dear friends torn.


P.S.  I would love to know where both the lower well and the “La’Well Tree” were situated.  Is there anyone out there who knows?

                                                         John Davison (Tel: 01670 760609)