(A Costril was a pilgrim bottle which had two loops so that it could be slung from a belt)
There are few known 18th-century references to bottling, but in the early 19th century servants and carriers frequently bottled and exported the water. Henry Biggs of Castlemorton remembered that it was about 1808 when he worked for eight months for Mrs Barry of
. He used to send her four gallons a week and later sent her the same amount when she was living in
. Anne Curtis recalled that in 1814 she had filled 12 dozen bottles and sent them to her master in
. And in 1838 carrier George Gedge of Malvern Wells used to go to
every Wednesday and Saturday and take water to many people. Sometimes he would send it on Pickford's boat from Worcester to Lord and Lady Harcourt in
, and to other people all over the place. 
Source water bottling as a business is only viable at a reliable source. Such a source must have adequate volume, be free from harmful contamination and have an acceptable mineralisation. As technology and science has advanced over the years, the requirements for bottled source waters have similarly become more stringent. Originally the Holy Well source was a streamlet from a pond at the head of the valley. This pond is illustrated in picture 4. The accumulated water appears to have come from a combination of groundwater and near surface seepage as well as a geological fault running east/west which provides a common aquifer with Moorals Well on the western side of the hills. At some point in the mid 19th century the pond was contained, and the supply taken underground to the Holy Well house.
Although purity was previously ascribed to the waters, the new techniques of chemistry achieved by 1822 started to cast doubt on the original assumptions and it was appreciated that Holy Well water did contain minerals. The Malvern Guide of 1822 enters into a long debate assessing the active ingredients of the waters but the results are inconclusive due to the crude state of scientific knowledge at the time. Much of this debate had previously been published by Chambers in 1817, including the Philip's analysis.
Later Granville published an analysis of Holy Well water, comparing it with other English waters. Chemistry was not a developed science in those days and it is only later that reliable chemical evaluations became available. The integrity of the Holy Well was challenged by Dr Granville in the 1840s when he voiced the opinion that it was a contained streamlet rather than a spring. It was possibly this, coupled with the further development of hydrotherapy, resulted in the emphasis moving away from Malvern Wells to Great Malvern.
That the Holy Well is a reliable source is confirmed by the following quotation dated 1906. "But if the word Holy in connection with the Well has lost all its supernatural meaning, the marvellous purity of the water remains, and - what is very important in days of water scares - it still issues from the Hill in undiminished quantity and no drought, however lengthened, makes any appreciable difference in the flow".
The Holy Well water has supposedly been bottled since 1622 according to Smith, although Hembry gives a date of 1760 (p.366), but bottling ceased in the 1990s. Schweppes started exploiting Holy Well water for bottling in 1850s. They launched Malvern Soda Water at the Great Exhibition of 1851. It was initially produced at the Lea and Perrins bottling works in Malvern but production was transferred to the Holy Well in 1856. (see 121 Bottling Works Spring) This was the start of 160 years of bottling Malvern Waters under this brand. This great logevity came to an end with the closure of the Colwall plant in 2010. Schweppes had sub-leased the rights for Holy Well water from W & J Burrow of Malvern. This arrangement continued until the early 1890s when Schweppes built their Colwall bottling plant and used the Glenwood Spring water supplied by Ballards.
Burrows bottled Malvern Waters both from here and
's Well and an advertisement in the Malvern Advertiser of April 29 1882 promotes Burrows Malvern Waters from both sources. They most likely ceased their operations here in the mid-1890s, when Cuffs took over the lease. Burrows continued bottling until the 1950s, though by then only from St Ann's Well. [Mal Gazette 24 March 1922 has a long article on the development of the Burrows firm]
Cuff's business started in Manchester in 1801, later moving south, for in 1895 Messrs John & Henry Cuff took a long lease on the Holy Well spring and the end of the 19th centry. Being the sole lessees they made extensive alterations and improvements and new machinery was installed by mineral water engineers Messrs Hayward Tyler & Co. of London. The water emerged from the source near the works at approximately 3 gallons per minute, and flowed directly into the factory. No pipes or conduits were used so there was no contact with iron or lead piping and the machinery used was coated with tin to avoid contamination. Cuffs continued bottling at their mineral water factory here until the 1950s, using the building in front of and to the right of the Holy Well building. Codds and Hamilton bottles act as residual reminders of this enterprise.
In 1904 Ingram and Royal published their eleventh edition of "Natural Mineral Waters: their properties and uses" in which they point out that the most active and trustworthy Malvern Waters are those from higher altitudes. Springing from the "Syenitic" rocks at an altitude of 756 feet, such waters are distinguishable because they bear the Alpha label. Lea and Perrins (better known for their Worcester Sauce) were soda water manufacturers as early as 1851. Burrows then merged with them and produced the `Alpha Brand' natural water from St Ann's Well, selling this product well into the 20th century.
Like St Ann's Well, Holy Well is of low mineral content, clear and pleasant to taste. A quantitative analysis carried out by Mr Alfred Mander at the Belle Vue Pharmacy in 1895  provides confirmation of the purity. By the 1880s the water was still being perceived as of high purity although recognised as containing low quantities of minerals.
Originally the Holy Well was one of the most famous of Malvern's sources but times changed and a 19th century article on Malvern's waters describes it as being `almost as famous as St Ann's'
. Today the water can be sampled in the historic Holy Well building from the spout that incorporates the original cruciform channel design purported to have dated from the original 17th century installation, albeit replaced from black limestone to white marble..
The Decline and Recovery of the Holy Well
In 1919 Blackmore Park Estate was put up for sale.
104 was the Holy Well, which was still let to Messrs. Cuff as a bottling works and offices at an annual rent of 45 pounds. It was sold on condition that the public retained the right to take the water.
It may have been through lack of investment and sales during the Second World War, but in 1946 there was a complaint that the Holy Well was in a neglected state and there was no water for the public. Ten years a later a visitor from Hove, who had come to recapture some of the Holy Well's old charm, disappointedly complained that the beautiful view had been blotted out by trees and the building was dilapidated and filled with old packing cases. In 1957 the owner offered to sell the Holy Well, with all its land, buildings and water rights, to the Malvern Hills Conservators for 10,000 pounds. The MHC really only wanted the land, and offered 1,000 pounds. Their offer was rejected. Throughout the 1960s the Holy Well deteriorated and was described as being in poor condition and very tatty and by 1970 the Holy Well and the adjacent cottages - Rock House and Bath Cottage - became completely derelict.
Although the Holy Well building was listed as Grade II and of Architectural Interest, it was so dilapidated that its survival depended upon a private benefactor. Fortunately, in May 1972 John Parkes of Penylan,
, bought the Holy Well and the two cottages. In conjunction with the Civic Trust he began extensive restoration and renovation costing approximately 15,000 pounds. In the 1930s the front porch had been removed, so during the restoration the upper windows were extended downwards. By the 1980s John Parkes was bottling and selling the Holy Well water, but the business was not financially viable and the bottling was abandoned in the 1990s.
When John Parkes retired, the Holy Well was bought by Marion and Mike Humm. At the beginning of the 21st century they delightfully, tastefully and sensitively renovated and modernised the upper rooms for tourist accommodation. Further restoration took place in the new millennium with the aid of Heritage Lottery/matched funding, and in December 2009 a visitor centre opened that gives a fascinating account of the surprising water heritage of the
In the year 2001, hydrogeologists John Findlay and Anna Jeary of Zenisth International, carried out a review of the existing water source and made recommendations for the future. The report was arranged by Dr Bruce Osborne and was part of the matched funding for the Heritage Lottery Funding bid being orchestrated at the time. This report advocated a number of measures to overcome the unreliability of the water supply. There then followed a period of renovation of the infrastructure with the result that a new venture in 2009 was the advent of a bottling enterprise, once again returning to the tradition of Holy Well water being available far and wide. The present day bottling plant includes a water heritage centre on the ground floor in conjunction with the sacred spring which is freely available to visitors.
In 2012 The Humm family, who bottle at the Holy Well decided to add Malvern to their label branding. Since the closure of Schweppes Malvern Water bottling works at Colwall, the name Malvern has not appeared on bottled water and so this was an opportunity to reinstate a tradition that dated from 1851 when Schweppes bottled for the Great Exhibition.