Well dressing in Newborough dates back to 1978. The village enjoyed such a splendid celebration for the Queens Silver Jubilee in 1977 that it was decided to find an excuse for an annual party! The event has been held on the early May Bank Holiday Monday each year. The boards are prepared the previous week young and old alike from Newborough and the surrounding villages.
There is uncertainty as to the true origins of Well Dressing, but it may have developed as a pagan custom to ensure a continued supply of fresh water by making a sacrifice to the gods of wells and springs. It became significant in Derbyshire in the 17th Century at the time of the Great Plague, when villages gave thanks for being spared from the disease. The inhabitants of the Derbyshire village of Eyam were devastated by the disease which had been introduced in a package of clothing from London. Fortunately they had quarantined themselves to prevent the Plague from spreading to other places and so local villages gave thanks to God for His gift of clean water by dressing their wells. Wooden boards are filled with soft, wet clay on which a design is pricked out and outlined with natural materials such as coffee beans, sweetcorn, small cones and fruit stones and then infilled with flower petals, moss and small leaves. The boards are then erected at the wells. It represents hours of back breaking work and once complete may only last about a week before the clay dries and the flowers fade.