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While digging the footings for a house extension in Folly Lane, Swinton, SalfordOnline.com reader Graham Redshaw made an intriguing find.

History With Flynn
We visited Graham's house along with local historian and author, Glen Atkinson, and Brian Grimsditch from the Centre for Applied Archaeology at Salford University. 

We were amazed to dicover that Graham had found a well, also a brick cellar with a vaulted ceiling both submerged in water. 

Several artefacts including pottery, glass bottles and stoneware have also been recovered. 

It's believed the 30ft well and brick cellar may date back as far as 1750. 

Graham explained that he had prised up several Yorkshire stone slabs in the cellar of his house and was puzzled to find out that there was what appeared to be a well, he tried measuring its depth with lengths of cane lashed together and gave up at the thirty foot mark. 

Along with friend Rod O'Connor, further diggings exposed the brick outhouse which was linked to the well. 

The circular well is lined with brick, however the local council have capped the top of it for safety reasons, the stone outhouse was some twenty foot long and ten foot high again made from brick, which would have been made locally. 

Glen Atkinson said it was a remarkable discovery and told us that the well was a pump tree model, which basically is a hollowed out tree log which is then fitted with a piston and leather valve. 

To obtain the water you pumped the lever and around three gallons would rise to the surface through the hollowed out tree trunk, and you would hoist the water to the surface in a bucket. 

By looking at old maps that Graham had obtained from Salford Local History Library, we were able to see that there were originally a small cluster of houses on the site of the house, this lead to Glen to have a, gut feeling that is it was private rather than communal, as the pump mechanism would have been quite expensive apart from cost of digging the well itself which suggests industrial or high status dwelling, or both.. 

Brian Grimsditch noted that there was some local industry in the area at that time and the well could have been used to provide the owner of the house with water for possibly use in silk manufacturing or weaving. 

Both agreed that it would have been ideal if the well could be pumped dry so that further investigation could take place. 

More research is needed to find out what stood on the site of this house way back in the mid-18th century; it does look like that there was some small industry going in the are at the time, even though the land was mainly agricultural. 

Can anybody else help Graham find out the origins of the well and what purpose it served? 

This article first appeared on SalfordOnline on the 3rd September 2012, it is reproduced here under the watchful gaze of local knower of that historical stuff and all round nice bloke Tony Flynn.
Video by the distinguished gent that is Mr Thomas Rodgers.
*We are saddened to inform that since making this video Brian Grimsditch has sadly passed away, out thoughts as always are with his family and friends.

Tony Flynn

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