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Sacred Springs

22 23 The distinctive building of the Holy Well is situated at Malvern Wells, with St Anns Well near Great Malvern. Their waters were used for treating many infirmities. Used as healing wells from an early date, in the eighteenth century Dr John Wall established the town as a spa, building accommodation and a bathhouse. In the early days donkeys carried the patients up to the wells. The notable quality of the water is its purity it has no taste. This was celebrated in a cheerful rhyme of the time The Malvern water, says Dr Wall, Is famed for containing just nothing at all. Later it became a centre for hydrotherapy, involving elaborate and not entirely pleasant water treatments. A visitor, coming to recover from stress, could expect to start the morning by being wrapped in a cold wet sheet, then further wrapped with blankets, staying encased this way for an hour. After this cold water was poured over them. Most apparently did well on this therapy. Wells dedicated to St Ethelbert may be found in historic Hereford near the cathedral and at nearby Marden under the church. The saint was murdered and both springs originate where his body was rested. At Romsley Church, in the beautiful Clent Hills is St Kenelms Well. In this case the spring rose where the murdered body of young King Kenelm was buried. ST ANNS WEll hOly WEll Malvern, Hereford and Worcester
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