Did You


The Well canopy stands 23 feet high but the real engineering feet is that the well shaft was dug by hand one man at a time. It is 368 feet down to the waterline which is more than twice the height of Nelson’s column!

Earth was removed bucket by bucket, amidst poor light and foul air – if a bucket had fallen it would have spelled disaster for the subterranean labourer.

The cost of the well and superstructure was £353, 13s, 7d with the machinery and elephant a further £39, 10s. That is a total of £48,000 in today’s money.

The Well was maintained using the revenue gained from the sale of cherries from the neighbouring Ishree Bagh, Cherry Orchard.

The Well remained in use as a utility as late as the Second World War.


The story of Maharaja’s Well began in 1850 with a casual conversation between a Maharaja and the son of an English country squire. This conversation was rekindled 7 years later in the year of the mutiny and two thirds of the way through the 34-year career, with the East India Company, of Edward Anderton Reade who was the 5th son of the Squire of Ipsden, Oxfordshire.

He talked to the Maharaja of Benares (now Varanasi, a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh) about his homeland and how Benares reminded him of the landscape of the Chiltern hills, but also how those hills brought their own challenges as the people of Stoke Row struggled to access clean water, relying mainly on water retained in dirty ponds and deserted clay pits. This was to resonate deeply for the Maharaja and he decided to provide a well for the village.