The Well Trust is made up of Trustees drawn from the Parish and the wider community, with specialist knowledge and skills that can assist with the preservation of the Maharajah’s Well and the wider environment.
The Trust’s aims are to preserve and maintain the Well, and ensure that the Well Orchard is an amenity for the village, respects the history which created it, and remains a haven for wildlife.
The current Trustees are:
- Sara O'Byrne
- Catherine Hale
- Tracey Preedy
- Karen Dougherty
- Rob Dougherty
- Graeme Whitehall
- Sylvia Miller
- Roger Clayson
History of the Trust
The Trust itself has a long history. Once the Maharajah’s Well was complete, it was necessary to find some way of funding its maintenance. The Maharajah donated more money in the form of an endowment in 1863. It was provided firstly to purchase an orchard, to be stocked with cherry trees which would generate an income, and secondly it funded the erection of a cottage for the Well Warden.
In 1866 the Regulations of the Trust were posted. The Warden was to live rent free in the cottage but receive an income of £1 per annum, rising to £2 if the Well’s income exceeded £10. In return, he was to be on duty 6 days per week, mainly to admit people to the locked Well, but also to assure the maintenance of the Well.
In 1972, the Trustees set about raising funds of £30,000 to modernise the cottage and restore the superstructure of the Well. During the restoration, the Charity Commissioners, in conjunction with the Trustees and the Parish Council, revised the Trust Deed. As a result, the Parish Council became the sole trustee in 1983, and so it remains today, with the addition of “lay” Trustees to represent the village and provide support and advice to the Trust.
The last Well Warden retired in 1999, and since then the Well cottage has been a private dwelling rented by the Trust. The only financial support comes from the rental received, not from the sale of cherries, but from the sale of an informative booklet, available on site at the Well. This gives a more detailed history of the Well and some lovely pictures from its past.
Contributions are also sometimes received from village events and well wishers.
The Well needs major refurbishment and repainting every ten years. The lastest refurbishment is being currently undertaken (during the summer of 2017). Going forward, the Trustees intend to put in a programme of more regular maintenance work to help preserve the structure.