PICTURED: St Osyth's Well, Bierton, Buckinghamshire before it was restored.
Just outside Aylesbury is the village of Bierton with not so much a church, as a miniature cathedral.
The size of St James Church and its dedication (St James is the patron saint of pilgrims) indicates this was for many centuries a site of great pilgrimage. Just beside the church is St Osyth's Well - a holy well that has recently been restored by the villagers.
A booklet written in 1956 by Wilfrid Steer (The Church of St James, Bierton, by Wilfrid Steer, 1956) adds little to our knowledge. He writes: "We do not know how old it is but it is older than it looks. It is called St Osyth's Well, but again we do not know when or why it was so called. Whether or not it is a holy well we do not know but there is no reason to suppose that it is not."
Steer suggests it was attributed to St Osyth as her body (she was killed in Essex by invading Vikings) may have been rested here on the way to its final burial place. Also of interest at St James is a scratch dial on the wall by the south door. In recent years the well has been restored.
Strange Wycombe, detailing legends and folklore of Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, has been out of print for some time but a few copies of the 1991 edition are still available. See Strange Wycombe page for more details.