The large stone fountain which dominates the centre of Spelsbury village once provided the main supply of fresh water for the community.
The fountain was built around 1855 as a memorial to The Hon. Constantine, son of the 13th Viscount Dillon who drowned aged 40 while fording a flooded river in New Zealand.
Ditchley Mansion (part of Spelsbury Parish) was in the ownership of the Dillon family from 1776 to 1932; Kathleen Dillon lived at Spelsbury House and owned much of Spelsbury village up to her death in 1958. Other fine memorials to members of the Dillon family can be found in All Saint’s Church.
The memorial consists of a polished granite tablet, with lion’s head water spout, set with a shell niche with red and buff sandstone stripes in a rusticated arch. The original bronze lion’s head was stolen in the 1990s and has been replaced with a concrete cast. A gilded banner on the outside of the arch is almost indiscernible.
Unlike its smaller sister fountain at Taston, the Spelsbury memorial is not listed.
Described by Pevsner as ‘hideous’ the fountain is none-the-less an important and now much loved focal point of our community.
In modern day use the fountain, now dry, serves as a meeting point; a rest-stop for walkers and cyclists passing through the village; a shelter for people waiting for school or public transport; it is the subject of many paintings by art-class students in the memorial hall; well photographed by passers-by; a feature of many local treasure hunts, and a site of interest to social historians.
Remaining in the ownership of the Dillon family until 1958, the fountain has recently been transferred into the care of the trustees of the adjacent Memorial Hall, to maintain for the benefit of the community.
The main part of the fountain is of a solid construction which has largely stood the test of time and its bricks and mortar are in generally good condition.
The Stonesfield slate roof is in need of urgent attention and the flagstone pavement leading from the public highway to the fountain would greatly benefit from lifting and cleaning to control a considerable weed problem – volunteers regularly tidy this area but it is a herculean task.
Inside the fountain roof-space
The Memorial Hall Trustees have sought several estimates and need to need to raise a relatively modest sum to undertake these improvement works. We would also like to install an interpretation board to provide information about the fountain’s history.
The total estimated costs of the works, using local craftsmen skilled in the use of appropriate traditional materials is:
Roof repairs (including some new timbers and slates, re-felting, re-slating, repairs to stonework as necessary), £12,700
Raising flagstones, laying weed suppression matting, re-laying flags £2,500
Interpretation board, professional design and installation £1,750
So far we have raised £6,388
You can help us by sponsoring a slate or a flagstone,
just complete and return the Sponsor form with your donation…