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Some more on the well(s):

"Washing in the waters of St Ann's Well is said to cure various ills, particularly eye troubles. The first bucketful of water collected after Twelfth Night was supposed to be the best, and was considered worth competing for. It is said that the water in the pool [St Ann's Pool, to the NE of the well] bubbles up at midnight on this day, and is seen to emit blue smoke. However, this is of course according to those who had gone there in the hope of curing their bad eyes.

Presumably before the calendar reform, this was a Yule custom, although New Year's Day was the favoured time for collecting medicinal waters at Dinedor Cross and elsewhere.

At the top of the field is a scrubby piece of woodland containing the Lady Well, a holy spring which is haunted by the ghost of a young woman who killed herself there. In another more elaborate version of the story she killed her lover, wrongly suspecting him of infidelity, then died of heartbreak; as a result both spirits haunt the well where this happened and where they often meet.

There is a local memory that this well is dedicated to St Catherine. 'Lady Well' is a common name for a well and it naturally usually be assumed to be dedicated to St Mary, as for instance at Bodenham. But if the well was pre-Christian, the 'Lady' would simply have been the local goddess, who in this part of Herefordshire was more probably Christianised as St Catherine."

From "The Healing Wells of Herefordshire" - Jonathan Sant (1994 Moondial) with reference to "The Folk-lore of Herefordshire" - Ella Mary Leather (1912).
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
6th February 2009ce

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