Malvern Wells Parish Council

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Wells of Malvern Wells

The Devil's Well

Devils wellThe Devil's Well lies in Tumuli Valley above Holywell Road, where its crossing under the road is lit by a magnificent example of the Malvern Wells’ Victorian listed gas-lamps. A short walk up the hillside from the lamp post leads you to a small water collection cistern beyond some pig wire and stone gabions. The naming of this site as “Devil’s Well” by two authors & springs’ historians in 1997 aroused some controversy, as long-term residents living nearby reported that they have never heard of it named as "Devil's Well" before.   However, the authors claimed the name derived from its connections with the "Puck's Wood" that surrounds the site. They suggested that the origin of the name ‘Devil's Well’ came from English folk lore, as the ills inflicted by the malevolent fairy (Puck) on his human victims were curable by bathing in a "Devil's Bath". But whatever the provenance of the name, it is now in common use! The Devil’s Well’s water runs down the hillside and through the gardens of houses in the Holywell and the Wells Roads, emerging by the joinery on Wells Road where its ebullient splashes into the drain are controlled by an iron baffle plate screwed to the wall. The Devil’s Well is well-dressed each year for the Malvern Spa Association’s Well Dressing Festival at the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend

The Lower Wyche Spout

The Lower Wyche sites after restoration in late 2007

The Lower Wyche Spout and The Lower Wyche Trough lie on the Old Wyche Road, on the Wells Common hillside above (West of) the Wells Road. Donated by the benefactor Charles Morris in 1840, it is one of three public spouts that he created for the use of local inhabitants in Malvern.

If you go up Old Wyche Road, by the south of the cottages, you will see a large curved Malvern stone retaining wall enclosing the Spout and a grassy area. The water cistern which supplied the Spout with spring water, lies behind the wall. The Spout dried up when the spring water supply to the tank apparently failed, but the supply to the The Lower Wyche Trough, below, still flowed.

This suggested that there was a plumbing problem rather than a failure of the water supply itself.  The Lower Wyche Spout has recently been renovated with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund Malvern Heritage Project, through the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) and the Malvern Spa Association.  During the renovation, some damaged piping was located and repaired and the water tank cleaned out.   Spring Water now flows from the Spout once First Prize winning Well Dressing “Elgar’s Music”, April 2007 again.  

Both the Spout & the Trough are Well Dressed annually for the Malvern Spa Association’s Well Dressing Festival at the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend.  Both have won many First Prizes and are always highlights of the Festival.   The Trough is usually Well Dressed by children and in 2008 they won the first of The Spa Association’s new Gold Medals.
Gold Medal winning children’s Well Dressing (‘Dr John Wall’) May 2008.

Eye Well

Sadly, this ancient and formerly highly renowned healing well is now just an insignificant, small pool of water beside the path on the hills directly above the Holy Well in Malvern Wells.   The Eye Well was famous for healing diseases of the eyes but also for cures of liver, kidney and other ailments as well. As recorded by Bannister in his Breviary of the Eyes (1622) -

"A little more I'll of their curing tell,
How they help sore eyes with a new found well;
Great speech of Malvern Hills was lately reported,
Unto which spring people in troops resorted."

The flow of water from the Eye Well is reported to have been damaged by a workman in the early 19th Century whilst attempting to divert its waters to The Dell in Green Lane, which was at the time the Rectory of Malvern Wells.

The Eye Well is Well Dressed annually for the Well Dressing Festival at May Day Bank Holiday Weekend but may also be found decorated with flowers and votive offerings on the dates of ancient festivals such as the Equinoxes and Midsummer’s Day.

Jubilee

This drinking fountain was built as part of Malvern Wells’ celebrations of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. The ornate carved red sandstone

edifice stands at the junction of Green Lane and Wells Road, on the corner of Grundy's Lane.Jubille

The Jubilee Fountain has recently been renovated with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund Malvern Heritage Project, through the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) office and The Malvern Spa Association.

The Fountain had been dry for many years as the piped system from the original water source from the Holy Well had been damaged. In 2007, as part of the restoration, it was given a new connection to spring water from the adjacent Spring Main in Wells Road, by courtesy of Severn Trent Water.

 In recent years the council's jubilee Gardeners working Group have undertaken a great deal of work to restore and enhance the Jubilee Fountain Garden and have been successful in achieving recognition for their work from the Royal Horticultural Society.

The Jubilee Fountain now has a replacement Victorian push-button water tap (obtained on eBay) which was installed to prevent water loss, but due to water pressure problems the flow of water is rather variable.    

In 2007, Malvern Wells Parish Council was able to undertake official ownership of the fountain from the Worcester Diocese, enabling it to be scheduled for repairs and spring water reconnection as part of the Malvern Heritage Project. The restoration work was carried out in 2007 and the planting of the cleared area around the Jubilee Fountain is to take place later in 2008.

Jubilee Fountain Renovation 2007

Jubilee Fountain Renovation 2007

Jubilee New Tap Heritage Lottery Fund Plaque 2007

The Holywell

Remarkable cures have been attributed to the Holy Well in Malvern Wells since at least the 12th century. Records tell that the spring had been “long used with great success, particularly in disorders of the eyes, scrofulous cases (TB in the lymph nodes of neck), old ulcers, leprosies and other diseases of the skin." ...

 

 http://www.holywellspringwater.co.uk/

The Holywell exterior (2007)

Remarkable cures have been attributed to the Holy Well in Malvern Wells since at least the 12th century. Records tell that the spring had been “long used with great success, particularly in disorders of the eyes, scrofulous cases (TB in the lymph nodes of neck), old ulcers, leprosies and other diseases of the skin."   St Oswald was supposed to have revealed the medicinal powers of the Well to one of the monks who was a hermit on the hills.  There are stories in early books of monks wrapping cloths steeped in this water around ill patients, making them 'sleep with the wet cloths on the diseased parts'.

Dr John Wall, the famous 18thC physician, co- founder of Royal Worcester Porcelain and founder of the “water cures” in Malvern, analysed the water from the Holy Well, proving its purity.

 “Malvern Water, says Dr John Wall, is famous for containing just nothing at all”.   Dr Wall successfully used the water to treat ulcers and other skin conditions – using much the same technique as the old monks - and set up the first water treatment centre in the Malverns here in Malvern Wells at The Wells House on Holywell Road in the mid 18th Century.   According to The Malvern Song (circa 1600), water was bottled at the Holy Well and was widely distributed.



Holywell Spout &Basin (2004)

“A thousand bottles here, were filled weekly,
And many costrils rare, for stomachs sickly; The Holywell Well Room during the Well Dressing Festival (2004)
Some were to London sent,
Some of them into Kent,
Others on to Berwick went,
O praise the Lord.”

In 2008, The Holywell is being renovated with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund Malvern Heritage Project, through the local Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) office and the Malvern Spa Association. The renovation includes work on the Well Room, The Rest Room and the conversion of an area of the old bottling plant as an Education Centre.    In the near future the owners of the Holywell plan to start bottling the Holywell’s waters once again.

The Holy Well is Well Dressed annually for the Well Dressing Festival at May Day Bank Holiday Weekend but may also be found decorated with flowers and votive offerings on the dates of ancient festivals such as the Equinoxes and Midsummer’s Day.

Well Dressing

In the Malverns, we celebrate our world famous water at May Day each year with the dressing of our Wells, Springs, Spouts & Fountains. 


Research by local Malvern sculptor and former Well Dressing Organiser of The Malvern Spa Association, Rose Garrard, revealed the very ancient rooWell Dressingts of the Malvern tradition of Well Dressing.  In the 12th and 13th centuries the Holy Well was dressed annually with offerings to give thanks to St Oswald for healing.   At this time all who had been cured during the past year returned to give thanks, 'make an offering according to their substance and invoke the continuance of the miraculous powers of the well'. 


In 1615 there was a national drought, but as Malvern`s springs kept flowing they "were dressed as a token of gratitude for a plentiful supply of water".  The Wyche Spring (above the Wyche cutting) was also dressed by local residents in the 20th century until 1978. 

Since 1978, there has been a revival of this 900 year old local tradition of Well Dressing in Malvern. The Malvern Spa Association now celebrates its Well Dressing Festival each year on the May Day Bank Holiday Weekend when more than thirty spouts, springs & wells are dressed in flowers, ribbons, poetry and humour.

Each year there is a different Theme and local groups dress their chosen wells with personal interpretations of the theme.  The wells are dressed by schools, children’s groups, community and other groups of dedicated individuals.  Medals & Prizes are awarded to the best entries.


For more about Malvern Water, Well Dressing (and to become a Well Dresser) please visit the following web pages

The Malvern Spa Association:

http:// www.malvernspa.org.uk 

Well Dressing:

http://www.malvern-hills.co.uk/malvernspa/well-dressing/welldressing.html