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The Wrekin



Nope I've no proof this holy well has genuine prehistoric connections. But it is on the Wrekin (a hill you can hardly fail to notice) and would surely have been a useful water source for people living in / using the hillfort in prehistoric times.. (I can take the post away if necessary).
We complete the holy wells of the Wrekin District with St Hawthorn's Well on the Wrekin itself. (There is also the Raven's Bowl, alias Cuckoo's Cup, near the top of the Wrekin, which suggests a more frankly pagan origin; a natural waterbowl that is still very much to be seen).

None of the authorities locate St Hawthorn's Well's exact site on the Wrekin, either because none knew, or when they wrote its position was so well-known that it seemed unnecessary. Like all other hard rock hills the Wrekin has a large number of streams originating from small springs, carrying water down the hill on all sides, so there are many candidates. However, where one stream emerges onto the road (NGR 624 069) the place is known as The Spout, and this may possibly commemorate St Hawthorn's Well.

The well was known for scorbutic therapeutical properties, and the fact that one unfortunate's unrewarded visit is commonly recorded suggests it was generally held to be efficacious. Burne holds St Hawthorn(e) to be a corruption of St Alkmund, to whom a nearby monastery was dedicated; but other authorities (and for once Mrs Burne's view seems unlikely) suggest that there was a tree there that was venerated and the spring was close by.
Borrowed from 'Notes Towards a Survey of Shropshire Holy Wells - 1' by Laurens Otter, online at the Living Spring Journal archive:

"Mrs Burne" refers to Charlotte Burne's 'Shropshire Folk Lore'. Volume 3 says:
On the summit of the Wrekin there is the Raven's Bowl, or Cuckoo's Cup, as it is variously called; a small hollow in the rock, which is always full of water though no spring is there, and is popularly believed to be a drinking-place purposely, and as it were miraculously, formed for the use of the birds after which it is named. It is proper to taste the water in this hollow when visiting the Wrekin. I do not know, but feel no doubt nevertheless, that this was a ceremony pertaining to the ancient Wrekin Wake.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
17th December 2006ce
Edited 16th May 2011ce

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