The contents on this page remain on our website for informational purposes only.
Content on this page will not be reviewed or updated.


John Schorne,the Miracle Man - North Marston
North Marston Church, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Holy Well or Schorne Well

Apart from the immediate heritage, within easy travelling distance there are many places to investigate a little further away, and one such village is North Marston, famed for its association with the miraculous Master John Schorne. He first came to North Marston in 1290, and his most celebrated achievement was to supposedly ‘conjure the devil into a boot.’ According to the story, having been called to ‘exorcise’ an epileptic woman he proceeded to cast out the devil and imprison him in a boot, and with the superstitious villagers quite happy in this belief, the deed is thought to have been the origin of the Jack in the Box. As further emphasis of his powers, when during a severe drought he tapped the ground with his staff a spring began to bubble forth, and this - never failing nor freezing - gained such a reputation for miracle cures that, bringing much prosperity to the village, North Marston became a place of medieval pilgrimage. As decreed by his will, Sir John Schorne was buried in 1314 in the north chancel of North Marston church, but so many miracles were said to occur at his tomb that this also became a revered shrine for pilgrims, and indeed it was due to such fame that in 1478 the Bishop of Salisbury, Richard Beauchamp, obtained a licence from the Pope to have the shrine moved to ‘where he pleased.’ In consequence it was removed to the rebuilt St. Georges Chapel, Windsor, to be placed in John Schorne’s Tower. As for North Marston, only a statue of Sir John blessing a ‘bote’ (boot) was left, placed in the chancel of the church. Nevertheless the village still had the Holy Well (sometimes known as the Town Well) and for centuries physicians from the locality would include the water in their medicines. When visiting the well, those seeking to benefit drank from a chained gold cup, and when in 1835 several neighbouring villages suffered from a cholera epidemic, North Marston escaped without a single fatality. Yet such properties proved insufficient to save Jane Watson, who tragically slipped into the well and drowned one morning in July 1861. Thereafter, the authorities decided to enclose the original basin with a wall, although even until the 1930s the water remained as a principal source for the village. Then in the summer of 1970 the Dean and Canons of Windsor defrayed £25 towards the cost of improvement and repairs, whilst in more recent times an extensive project in 2004/2005 saw a complete remodelling take place, the details of which are now to be found both at the location, and on the village website.