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Couple finds medieval well hidden beneath sofa

Illustration for article titled Couple finds medieval well hidden beneath sofa

A retired civil servant living in Plymouth, England, recently decided to figure out once and for all why there was a dip in the floor underneath his sofa. After three days of work, and much to his amazement, he discovered that the house he had been living in for the past 25 years was built on top of a 33 foot medieval well dating back to the 16th century. Donna Bowater of the Telegraph reports:

Illustration for article titled Couple finds medieval well hidden beneath sofa

Mr Steer managed to excavate it using a rope to carry out the debris with the help of a friend before discovering an old sword.

"It was hidden at a 45 degree angle and sort of just fell out. It looks like an old peasant's fighting weapon because it appears to be made up of bits of metal all knocked together," he added.

According to Mr Steer's research, the land on which his house in Mannamead Road now stands was woodland until 1895, with Drake's leat running through it.

The watercourse was built in the 16th century by Sir Francis Drake to carry water from Dartmoor to Plymouth.

He said: "I've been doing lots of research into its history but I'd like to try and find someone to date it.

"I love the well and think it's fascinating. I'd love to find out who was here before us. I've got a piece of Plymouth's history in my front room."


Looking at the inset image, I love how Steer has covered the top of the well with a glass enclosed trap door. His wife looks thrilled.

Images via Telegraph/SWNS.

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When I was apartment hunting in Paris, I was shown a ground-floor apartment in a fairly old building in Rue Royer Collard, in the Quartier Latin. In the middle of the living room was what I took to be a table, covered by a tablecloth. "Oh, that's not a table," said the agent, "that's the well." She lifted the tablecloth to reveal a sheet of plywood covering a circular stone wellhead. The well itself looked a lot like the one in the picture, only a bit darker and more menacing.

She wouldn't actually admit that the apartment was vacant because the last tenants had been snatched in their sleep by the blind fish-people who climbed up each night from the lightless lake beneath the house, but then she didn't have to. One glimpse of the well had told me everything I needed to know.