St. Vincent's Well

We know that the Enclosures Act of 1767 decreed that the chalybeate well to the south west of the Green should be protected for the use of the villagers as field boundaries changed. This well was known as St Vincent’s Well (or Veil), and also as Finches Well, although nobody knows why! It has high iron content and is spring fed from a line of similar waters in the area. People have always believed its water to be beneficial to those with eye disorders.

Northampton County Magazine – Our County Villages article 38

In Cosgrove, beyond the verge of habitations, is a spring known as Finch’s Well, to which the inhabitants, under the Inclosure award, have a right of access for the purpose of drawing water. The proper name is St Vincent’s Well, Finch’s is an old corruption.

The late Mr Beeby Thompson of Northampton writes in his “Peculiarities of Waters and Wells” (1911-1915):

“The well site is surrounded with a circle of iron railings, and is about seven feet in diameter, a gate admitting to it; the well itself is approximately circular, some three feet across and twenty inches deep. The water is constantly coming up from below and running away, partly by pipes to feed some drinking troughs, and partly in an open trench ending in pipes and drains.

The quantity of water is not large at ordinary times. I was informed by one of the inhabitants using it that when measured it gave three gallons a minute (4300 gallons a day). It comes up perfectly clear and bright but has a slight inky taste due to iron. Dr Short in 1740 speaks of it as a weak chalybeate frequently made use of as a repellent for inflammation of the eyes both of men and beast.

There is one striking characteristic of the spring, it gives off gas more constantly and freely than any other I know in the County.”

In another place Mr Thompson says:

“Of course, all waters contain some gas which can be displaced by heating, but I only know of one water in Northamptonshire which is continuously evolving gas, that is St Vincent’s Well at Cosgrove.”

Why it should be called St Vincent’s Well is a puzzle.

Old Mail June 1988

Parish Council report:

Mr Freestone told the Council that water from St Vincent’s Well had been used in the past by Taylors, the mustard makers at Newport Pagnell and also by Dr Bull of Stony Stratford. It had also been used by villagers for drinking water and there had been a pump there.

Dr. William Henry Bull (Surgeon)
1852 - 1921

It is known that Taylors of Newport Pagnell did also purvey bottled mineral water. They did use their own well until 1981 when it developed problems.


Joseph Finch of Cosgrove, Farmer, is mentioned in the Turn Pike Meetings minutes in 1822. It is probable that he farmed the land where the well is and the "local name" of Finches Well may have come from his name.

September 1992 - New railings for St. Vincent's Well.
John Holman and Bob Entwistle helping.