Archaeologists working in England have excavated a holy well dated to the Medieval period. Local legends speak of pilgrims bathing in its waters to cure their eye and skin diseases. However, a later urban myth also linked the well to a more sinister story and claims that the site is cursed.
The shallow spring is known as St Anne’s Well and it is located between Rainhill and Sutton St Helens, near Liverpool. Science Alert says the well was built to honor Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary’s mother, “who had a cult following in Britain during the late Medieval Period (1066-1485 AD).” Local legends say that St Anne had bathed in the well, providing the waters with healing powers.
Saint Anne with Mary as a child. (Renardeau/CC BY SA 3.0)
It is generally believed that 12 monks were living in a priory near the holy well before Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. “The well attracted numbers of pilgrims, necessitating the building of a small three-roomed structure around the well and the custodianship of two of the monks,” Jamie Quartermaine, an archaeologist who supervised the dig said.
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