|Side view of the Obelisk|
The inscription and verses - as best I can make out - were these
????? to the goodness of GOD through whose bounty water has been provided for this neighbourhood
God opened the rock and the waters gushed out. They ran in dry places like a river Psalms C105 V41
He turneth dry ground into water springs Psalms CVII VFor everything that hath breath praise the lord Psalms CL
A fountain shall water the valley ?????
|The dedication and biblical inscriptions|
|Quite imposing but a bit on the austere side|
"The Wandle valley presents a probably unique feature in the number of overflowing wells it contains. The oldest of these the public well near Tooting Church, was bored in 1822. Owing to the success of this boring another was bored by Mr Cranmer at a house called 'The Cannons' in September of the same year."
To instance a few wells thus bored, - there is one on the coach road side at Tooting, five miles from Westminster Bridge, bored at the expense of the parish; and another at the same place on the premises of Mr Rolason, nurseryman, both abundant springs; there are three wells on the estate of the Rev. R. Cranmer, Mitcham Surrey and one on the premises of Messers. Holden, Coach proprietors, Mitcham.
|The Mechanics Magazine 1825|
|It's starting to feel its age a bit|
"Erected 1822 by the Rev. Mr Cranmer then rector, who lived here, in order to commemorate the happy discovery of water by the sinking of an artesian well. It bears an inscription of thanks to Almighty God for the discovery which really was a boon to the poor at that time, the village not being well supplied. Shortly after the erection of the monument however, the supply of water failed [and] the inscription has been allowed to become illegible."Greater London: A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places by Edward Walford
So that seems that a very religious local worthy took advantage of Tootings success with the artesian well, hired the borer, hit water amidst general rejoicing and then commissioned an expensive monument only to have the well go dry soon after. The obelisk must have been a bit of an embarrassment for the Rev. Cranmer and was gently shunted off to a corner of the Cannons estate before finally being rescued and placed on a street corner. Still, if nothing else it does emphasise the importance of fresh clean water to the communities of the time and the lengths to which they'd go to obtain it.