Water well built for King Henry II restored

A water well that is said to have been built by King Henry II for his mistress is being restored at Blenheim Palace.

It dates back to the 12th century - making the Oxfordshire archaeological landmark more than 850 years old.

It is believed the well was originally a bathing place that King Henry ll built for his mistress, the 'Fair' Rosamund de Clifford, adjacent to his Royal Manor sometime in the middle of the 12th century.

The well at Blenheim Palace dates back to the 12th century Credit: ITV Meridian

In the 19th and early 20th century she became a popular subject for artists from the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones and John Waterhouse.

Until recently spring water from the well, which is located close to the lake overlooking the Palace was bottled and sold to visitors.

Today the well consists of a spring of water that flows from a stone wall in to a shallow pool surrounded by flagstones which was created as part of 'Capability' Brown's landscaping of the park.

Fair Rosamond's Well is one of the most mysterious, historic and romantic locations in the country.

"It has been an inspiration for writers and artists down through the years and has been a focal point for more than eight centuries, attracting visitors from around the world.

"Over recent decades the well has become somewhat overgrown and at risk of becoming damaged.

"Our plan is to sympathetically restore the surviving well and its surrounding area and to provide people with lots more information about its rich past," he added.

– Roy Cox, Blenheim Palace's Rural Enterprises Manager