Thread: Holy wells
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Old 22-01-2010, 11:21 PM   #48
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Default Holy Well or Fake

From English Holy Wells volume 1 by Jeremy Harte.isbn 978-1-905646-10-4
At a time when Spa's had become all the rage and money as ever was the only thing on some peoples minds,a clever local manager with a flair for marketing could see the way a saint's name gave a certain cache to their product.
In 1740 a visitor to a spring at Humphrey head found the English seaside in all it's charm."It's a melancholy scene for water drinkers,on cold wet sands,and they seldom appear till after 9 o'clock..... common people swallow from 3 to 8 quarts for a thorow brush upwards and downwards'.Not surprising then ,that by 1800 it had become Holywell spaw,with the fairy chapel to be seen in a nearby cave,and a walk on part in a romantic ballad .All this was aimed at a better-paying class than the 'common people'.
Skipperham well at Ashill in Somerset became dedicated to St Skipperham,or St kipperham,or St Nippenham -any saint would do- until they finally hit on St Cyprian.Also in Somerset,a mineral spring seen at edington in 1791 - it 'contains sulpher and steel,and stains silver yellow in two hours.....against the change of weather it smells like the foul barrel of a gun'-had become much more genteel by the 1830's and was now called Holywell.
Another spring at nearby Shapwick,where dogs afflicted with mange,would recover their healthy appearance by being thrown into the spring',got it's name of Holywell at the mid 18th century,shortly before the dogs were banished and a pump room and enclosed bath built for the accomodation of patients.The spa failed,as so many did,but the name stuck.
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