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Sacred Springs

1 IntroductIon The Monks Well, Edington, Wiltshire What we now call holy wells are those springs and wells that, through time, have become associated with a particular healing ability, those associated with saints or other individuals, or those treated with particular veneration for their spiritually uplifting qualities. The fascination of holy wells lies in the stories that have grown up around them, and their beauty and atmosphere. Evidence of water worship exists worldwide and settlements have been situated by springs for thousands of years. Long ago water was seen as the abode of gods and spirits, as seen at Coventinas Well at Carrawburgh, where a Celtic goddess of wells and springs was worshipped in a Roman temple complex. Later on, Christian missionaries often established a cell by a sacred spring and the saints name would then attach to the well, such as happened at St Seiriols Well on Anglesey. The wells were often considered most potent on the saints day with which they were associated and great pilgrimages occurred on those days. Holy wells are often situated by churches and chapels, which made use of their water both to heal and to baptise. These wells have often been cared for because of this, but many others are now dry, or overgrown and lost, remembered only in street names. Conduits and pumps were later developments which received the same veneration
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