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Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave

Sacred Well

<b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by postmanImage © Chris Bickerton
Also known as:
  • St Walm's Well

Nearest Town:Ledbury (5km WSW)
OS Ref (GB):   SO760392 / Sheet: 150
Latitude:52° 3' 0.68" N
Longitude:   2° 21' 0.08" W

Added by thesweetcheat

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<b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by postman <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by postman <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by postman <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by postman <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>Waum's Well and Clutter's Cave</b>Posted by thesweetcheat


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An ancient well that provided water for nearby British Camp, which has no internal water supply (bad news if there's a siege!).

This well lies in the woods on the western slopes of the Malverns, a little below Hangmans Hill. Unfortunately the well has been tanked to provide a supply of water to Eastnor. It now resembles some kind of cross between an underground bunker and a steam locomotive.
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
3rd August 2009ce


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Alfred Watkins heard a local tale that the large stone or 'Sacrificial Stone' was said to be "the door of the Giant's Cave thrown down."

The Giant's Cave is Clutter's Cave. AKA the Hermit's Cave. How many names do these places need?

Mr Watkins got a friend to recline on the stone as though he was about to be sacrificed and took a photo. He was seemingly convinced it was Suitable as it fitted the human body just right. He mentions someone else's ideas who'd been observing the sun at the Midsummer, and thought that that would have been just the moment to do the deed.

Naturally he spotted a number of his leys around this area.

He published the idea and photo in 'The Old Straight Track', but this link ('Republications') is more interesting because it comes with his own handwriting:
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
5th May 2011ce

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

"There was once a hawthorn tree called the 'Wishing Tree' around which children danced.


Here there was once a shelter for the use of those who came to drink or bathe in St Walm's spring water to cure their skin diseases or sore eyes or rheumatism."
From "The Healing Wells of Herefordshire" - Jonathan Sant (Moondial 1994).
thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
3rd August 2009ce
Edited 22nd January 2017ce

At the edge of the wood under the Beacon is a clear but small piece of water, called Walm's Well, once much frequented for bathing by the people of the neighbourhood, but now altogether neglected. This well, or rather bath, was formerly in estimation as a cure for cutaneous diseases; and there was a wooden hut for bathers,-- now removed.
The OS map shows the well to the west and beneath Shire Ditch at SO760392.
From p25 of 'Pictures of Nature in the Silurian Region Around the Malvern Hills and Vale of Severn' by Edwin Lees (1856). Online at Google Books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th July 2007ce
Edited 24th April 2011ce