The Frog Well

“By the side of the Roman road between Ruckley and Acton Burnell, and half-way down the Causeway Bank, there rises out of a ferny, flowery bank a most beautiful spring, which drips into a deep rocky basin, partly natural, of great grey slabs of stone, placed there by the hand of man. Behind it rises the ancient Causeway Wood, with its yews and hollies, its ash and mountain-ash trees. The spring is never known to fail, even in the driest seasons. Its waters, say the folk, are always cold in summer and warm in winter and, needless to add, they are good for sore eyes. Here the Devil and his imps appear in the form of frogs. Three frogs are always seen together; these are the imps; the largest frog, being Satan himself, remains at the bottom and shows himself but seldom.” (

I visited what seems like a good candidate for the Frog Well, though the true identity of it seems to be uncertain. This was a spring beside the causeway road, and though very obsucred by greenery, fallen branches and a modern drain, there was still discernible some form of ancient stone masonry around it. There is no longer a visible pool, but it appeared as though it had been heavily altered in order to channel the water along the roadside, and there may still be a pool where the water now flows under a rusted drain cover. The Devil, or the archaic genius loci in frog form, who gave the well its character, may well still lurk beneath; but his existence may well now only be a sad, dank and lightless station. At least when folk cruelly labelled him as satanic, he was remembered if nothing else... today, who would think to pay him respect in this hidden place?

The causeway mentioned in the quote above is the ominously named 'Devil's Causeway', a stretch of ancient Roman road now covered by one of modern tarmac, but upon which one can apparently expect an encounter with the Devil himself if it is crossed at midnight. The position of the well beside the road, and even the presence of a gnarled Yew tree above, add further intrigue to the possibility that this was once a sacred site, visited by travellers to Wroxeter and beyond. From just below the location of the spring, as the land levels out, there is a fantastic view of the Wrekin ahead, whose shadow once so mythically defined this enchanted landscape.

(Note: I am still very uncertain about whether or not this is the 'true' Frog Well. There is another potential site but it is further away from the Causeway and I was not able to find it on this venture.)

#shropshire #folklore #frogwell #sacredspring #superstition #frog #devil #geniusloci