Well template

(Recovered by UCL South East Archaeology)

Well TemplateThe well template is from a site at Medmerry, Selsey peninsula and was recovered during flood alleviation works carried out by the Environment Agency. The wooden template was discovered at the base of a stone lined well. The well template would have been used as a foundation for the wall and also as a way of keeping the well a regular shape. Although it is post-medieval in date it is one of very few examples of this type of structure. It is also very well-made demonstrating the skill of the carpenter.


This was formed of 4 large pieces of beech (Fagus sylvatica) timber, each measuring approximately 70 mm deep and 225 mm wide and ranging in length from 930 mm to 1280 mm. These pieces still had bark adhering to the outer edges, and appear to all have been cut from the same large beech tree. When joined together by scarf joints secured with sub-square, cross cut pegs of mature oak, the four pieces formed a circle with an interior diameter of 950 mm and an exterior diameter of 1385 mm. The flat upper and lower faces of the structure were cross sawn, likely using a pull saw. The edges of the scarf joints were also originally sawn, and then finely shaped using a square ended chisel with a blade approximately 44 mm wide. The outer and inner edges of the structure were hewn into shape using an axe, with numerous 40 x 40 mm facets visible. The sub-square peg holes in the joints appear to have been shaped using a flat or slightly curved chisel, approximately 19 mm wide. Radiocarbon analysis of sapwood from the main timber returned a date of AD 1652-1950, while one of the pegs returned a date of AD 1680-1939.