Thanks to the kindness of both an Englishman and his Indian benefactor, the Maharajah’s Well in Stoke Row, England provided both beauty and a much needed public water source to this historic English village.
During the mid-19th century an English squire by the name of Edward Anderdon Reade travelled to the Indian city of Benares (now Varanasi) and helped the Maharajah dig a much needed well to provide water to the local population. The two men got along well and when Reade returned to England in 1860 it was with the final wish that the Maharajah keep the well open to the public. A few years later, when the Maharajah decided to provide an endowment to Englamd in gratitude for their help, he remembered Reade and the sad tales he told of his own water-poor home area. And indeed, at that time the population near Stoke’s Row needed to make trips several miles out of town each time they needed to replenish their water supply.
Thus in 1863 the Maharajah had a well dug nearly 400 feet into the earth, providing a public water source for the whole area. Covering the well an Indian-styled gazebo complete with large golden elephant was built making the well stand out in the surrounding English village.
While the well eventually fell into disrepair as water allocation technology advanced, it was recently refurbished and continues to stand as a bright reminder of the relationship between an Englishman and a Maharajah.
Know Before You Go
The well itself is opposite Well View. Take the gate past the footpath and walk towards the playground to see the remains of the ponds and the mound containing the wooden elephant.