"How do you fancy popping out to see if we can find that well you texted me about last week?" asked my friend WW on Saturday. As a Druid I have a love of sacred places like stone circles and wells. We have some good examples of burial mounds up in the South Downs, but I long ago accepted that we don't have the stone monuments [Sussex is not known for its sarsen stones!] and any holy wells there might have once been round here have long since disappeared. The one in Horsham is now under a private carpark I do believe😢
Flummoxed is the only word I can think to describe my feelings when a chap put up photos of a sacred well within 7 miles of here on the local FB group. Never have I read anything about it or heard a whisper of its existence until then. Even my friend M says that he's only read the briefest mention of it in a couple of books and he's a chap who's written and published books on the county. It seems very few others knew of it either if it's rather neglected state was anything to go by. I can't tell you a great deal about it save it's very old and is thought to have been dedicated to a saint once. Now it's named after an erstwhile water diviner from many years back. With a rough idea of its whereabouts [it sits quietly just off the verge of a country lane] we set off to see what we could turn up.
As ever if you're on foot you see so much more....these are my little finds in a very short space of time before we'd even stumbled across our quarry.
Despite the well being so near the road it doesn't exactly leap out at you. It's a great deal easier to spot if you're on foot and can see the little brick wall which stands in front of it. Round the back is where the magic happens once you've lifted off the manhole cover lid which sits on top of it. I had no expectations [in fact I'd warned WW that it would probably be a bit underwhelming], but how wrong we both were. It's a beautiful liminal space with a gentle energy. The water trickling down from the nearby spring is clear and cold. Its temperature never rises and nor does it ever run dry. It was so special to visit a place in my adopted home county which wasn't desecrated by the tat of spent nightlights and plastic accoutrements. It's obviously somebody else's sacred space too judging by the votive offerings carefully placed on top. It's the sort of thing I expect to come across in the West country, not in these parts!
With a need to calm ourselves naturally it would have been rude not to have paid a visit to hostelry before we returned home. This place has quite a tale to tell https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/search?q=bullying
Mrs Budd, the erstwhile landlady and mother of tragic Walter, continues to haunt the pub staff to this day. She is known for her antics and is not someone you would want to displease either in her lifetime or now. We were chatting to the lady working behind the bar when I looked up at the beams above me...to this very day people are still cramming the nooks and crannies in them with coins. It seems in many ways we are not so distant from some of our ancestors in their practices and the leaving of offerings.....
Great post - wonderful to come across an unexpected treasure close to home - I'm sure you'll be visiting often.ReplyDelete
Thanks Fil. It's such a gem. I think you must be spoilt with more of this sort of thing in Ireland. ArilxDelete