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Well dressed: children getting ready for historic Bisley occasion


Children from Bisley Blue Coat Church of England Primary School will be dressing their village wells with flowers on Thursday, May 18 to celebrate Ascension Day and mark the historic occasion of the King’s Coronation.

This year will be the 160th that the ceremony has taken place. The tradition was started in the village in 1863 by Rev Thomas Keble, Bisley’s vicar for almost 50 years, to give thanks for the village’s clean water.

Since then the school has continued to hold the Ascension Day celebration with the help of parents and grandparents, who create the striking floral arrangements carried by the children.

Bisley Well Dressing
The procession makes its way to the well. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

The tradition has long been for the pupils to parade with two large stars, numbers and letters to show the year and the word ‘ascension’. This year we will also be adding a figure of a crown to mark the coronation of King Charles III.

The precedent for marking such special occasions was set at the end of the First World War, when the word ‘victory’ was carried. In 2022 the word Ascension was replaced with Jubilee 70 to mark the 70 th Jubilee of our late Queen.

The wells dressing event will begin with a church service, after which a procession, headed by members of the clergy, will lead youngsters through the streets to the ancient water head in Wells Road.

The Avening Silver Band will play at the wells for the final hymn of the day.
Children, staff, parents, Bisley residents and members of the public are invited to the village hall for afternoon tea at the end of the celebration.

Expected times for wells dressing: Church service at All Saints’ Church 1.30pm; procession 2pm; wells service 2.20pm; teas in the WI village hall from 2.45pm

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