The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave

Sacred Well


This is from p29 of 'Hanley Castle' by W. S. Symonds. It's a novel, but he says in his preface that he wrote it with the motive of interesting the local inhabitants in local history and traditions, so I imagine the Facts are true.
Bridget now proposed that we should descend the hill to the well of St. Waum, and take a drink of the water, so good for the healing of broken hearts, sore eyes and rheumatism. I laughed at the idea, as we were both strong and healthy, but down the hill we went for the sake of St. Waum's spell and Bridget's fancy.

The spring, for well there is none, bubbles forth from a green quaking turf near a narrow inlet of the hills at the corner of the forest which formerly covered a great part of the country between Hereford and the Malverns. Even now it is closely hidden by thickets of eglantine, hawthorn and hazel, and the path was so fully over-grown with trailing plants that we had charge boldly to get through at all.
He calls the cave above 'the Cave of Glendower, or Hermit's Cave'.

(I visited a spring today myself, and am covered in the nettle stings to prove it).

I looked up 'waum' and it rather despatches the idea of a christian saint. The OED says it meant in Old English, 'a gushing forth or upwelling of water, a spring, or the water of such' and also 'the bubbling and heaving of water etc. in the process of boiling'. Interesting!

I also found this nearby stoney folklore. Clutter's cave is the same cave mentioned above.
In a ravine to the south-east of the Beacon Camp and a little below Clutter's Cave, against the roots of an old crab tree, lies a huge block of syenite. This stone is called the "Divination" Stone, and has been described in ancient manuscripts as the show stone, suggesting that at one time singular religious rites were performed upon it.

The exact dimensions of the stone I did not take, but simply measured the part that bore the appearance of having been hollowed out by man. The hollow portion of the stone faces south and is 4 feet wide from east to west, and 3 1/2 feet from north to south; the centre of the depression is 4 inches in depth.

A little beyond is a British trackway still visible in places, leading from the top of the hill, to an old spring called "Waums" Well.
From 'Camps on the Malvern Hills' by F G Hilton Price, in the journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, v10, 1881.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
24th April 2011ce
Edited 28th April 2011ce

Comments (3)

Clutter's Cave is a pretty cramped affair, and the walls have been hacked straight into the volcanic rock, so not the most comfortable of places to spend your hermitage. thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
25th April 2011ce
A well, a cave, stones, an ancient trackway... Something for everybody here! A great find, R. :)

G x
goffik Posted by goffik
28th April 2011ce
It's got it all hasn't it. And I did like the way it had been holied up with the 'St.' Shame it looks all concretey though.

Ah for a tma-style mappish database of visited / visitable springs and wells. That would be cool.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th April 2011ce
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