Friends are the water that keeps the wheel turning. We are a voluntary group who relentlessly promote research, conservation and celebration of the Springs, Spouts, Fountains and Holy Wells of the Malvern Hills and of Great Malvern as a
Joanna's Well Discovered and saved.
In the last Newsletter we published details of a possible newly discovered water feature. As a result of further investigation we are now able to give much more information. The feature lies in the grounds of Ellerslie, formerly a water cure establishment in the 19th century, which became a girl's college and was latterly part of Malvern College. The site is presently being redeveloped by Audley as a care community for the elderly.
Joanna, who unearthed the site following an editorial in the Malvern Gazette, has given us the following amusing tale of life as a student at the former college. 'I have been a member of the Malvern college family since 1998 when I entered the pre-nursery; Hampton, and then moved upwards in the school system to Hillstone, which was previously known as Ellerslie. I remained there until I was 13, having been a student there for 6 years. Throughout my time at Hillstone, there were always ominous areas of the campus known as 'out of bounders'. The well site was one of the more strictly enforced areas. To keep my curious class-mates away from our favourite health-and-safety hazard, upon our arrival we were all told a story about a little boy called 'Timmy' whom had the misfortune of falling down said well and meeting his end, having disobeyed his teachers. This kept most of us at bay, that was, until we as a class watched the movie 'Lassie' and realised with a mix of shock and glee that our barrier of fear had been constructed upon a borrowed story-line. That break-time the cautionary tale was replaced with stern tellings-off and the risk of 'stripes' (a kind of de-merit that would result in one week's worth of clearing the table). Ever since the risk of certain death had been replaced with a week's clearing we were all frequent visitors to the well in the woods, much to the dismay of our disapproving disciplinarians.'
Having learnt the above, we then followed up with enquiries at Audley and were delighted to learn that the grounds of Ellerslie will be retained as parkland to be enjoyed by the residents of the community. Audley also arranged for us to have escorted access to the site for further investigation. We understand that the well will now be retained as a garden feature after having undergone restoration to make it secure and safe. This is overall a positive outcome following discovery of this most interesting landmark.
First ever Mulberry Tree in England also one at
Our Mulberry Tree project to reinstate a Shaw tree in
Our investigations have also unearthed another early Mulberry Tree, this time in Malvern. Apparently the Mount Pleasant Hotel had one in its grounds. Now the Gateway to the Hills, perhaps the visitor experience could be enhanced with another one?
Thar's Gold in them thar Malvern 'ills - update
In Newsletter 42 we considered the possibility of gold in the Malvern Hills. This was linked to our exploration of the springs in the area of the Royal Well and the Purlieu. At the time we had actually acquired samples of supposedly natural Malvern gold dating from the 19th century. These samples were being investigated further. One route of investigation was to study the samples under a microscope. In August we acquired a computer-linked microscope and put the samples to the test. The result can be seen in the images - what appears to be mini nuggets of gold. We also have some recent samples and when the chemical testing is completed on these we will be putting them under the microscope too.
St Werstan Nomination for Bottling Works Spring - it's your vote that counts!
A Friend has recently nominated the Bottling Works Spring for a St Werstan Award. The Award is a public recognition of outstanding endeavour in the conservation or renovation of our water features. Friends, local residents and visitors can nominate sites for an award by forwarding a short resume of the circumstances and location. Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells are then able to express their views as to whether nominations justify the award by completing a simple appraisal enclosed with the newsletter. The appraisal is based on six factors, preservation, environment enhancement, public accessibility, provenance, maintenance and general WOW! factor.
The spring was first brought to public attention in our 1992 publication Springs, Spouts Fountains and Holy Wells of the
So far six presentations of the prestigious St Werstan Award have been made since 2006. Sites awarded receive the impressive St Werstan hand-cast brass engraved shield. Also available is a stained glass window. Sponsorship for this scheme comes from Coca- Cola on behalf of Malvern Water from Colwall, unfortunately now closed and we are grateful for the continuing interest that is shown by Coca-Cola in protecting and conserving our springs and wells heritage.
Please do complete and return the questionnaire attached to this newsletter or print off a copy from the web site version of this newsletter if emailed. Go to www.malvernsprings.com for the Newsletters Archive.
Conservators and Springs and Wells
The role of the Malvern Hills Conservators in protecting the catchment areas of the famous Malvern springs and wells is vital for ensuring the waters' continuing wholesomeness. In the picture Stephen Bound, the new Director, catches up on the latest and greatest of our springs and wells with a copy of Celebrated Springs and Wells of the Malvern Hills, launched in August this year. Friends hope to be working with Stephen on a number of projects and we are pleased to welcome him to Malvern. If you would like to catch up on the latest and greatest also, the new book is available from local retailers or by post from Cora's Bookshop on our web site.
New light shed on goings on up
There is a lot happening up at the Holy Well these days as we found out during a recent reconnaissance. The first thing we noticed was not the theft of a gas lamp but the installation of one of the new technology replacement lamps. The one hundred plus gas lamps around the Malvern Hills are slowly being replaced with modern technology gas burners that give more light for less gas. In the picture the installation crew reinstate the refurbished lantern and new burner on one of the lamps between Wells House and the Holy Well. It is now a good excuse for a late evening walk to enjoy the atmosphere of the gas lit leafy lane.
The other thing we noticed was that the bottles of Holy Well water now have new labels. No longer is it Holywell Spring Water. The new labels describe the elixir inside as Holywell Malvern Spring Water. This follows the decision of the Humm family, who bottle the water, to incorporate Malvern into the product description. Malvern waters live on, from the location where Schweppes started bottling the very same product in 1851 for the Great Exhibition.
If a reader can add to this please let us know and we will pass it on to Andy or contact him direct by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
New insight - Lady's dreams come true in West Malvern, not
Lady de Walden, Lucy Joan Cavendish-Bentinck, was the widow of the 6th Lord Howard de Walden. She built de Walden House together with de Walden Lodge in Eastbourne, Sussex, during the 19th century. This locality benefited from the services and water supply from the Eastbourne Waterworks Company as a result of an 1859 Act of Parliament. All was well until the water company demanded thirty pounds from Lady de Walden. She considered this demand was out of order and responded by sinking a well in her garden at the cost of one thousand pounds. This was not the end of the matter however because in 1889 she moved to another of her houses, this time in West Malvern. Here a prolific supply of spring water existed that she could utilise to fulfil her ambitions of a dream house and landscape, unencumbered by the machinations of the Eastbourne water deficiency and bureaucracy.
She died in West Malvern in her nineties on 29 July 1899 and during the 10 years in residence she had the house transformed into a vast mansion. It was set in a 283 acre estate whose gardens, terraces, pools and bridges required 70 men to maintain. The pools, and a variety of other domestic facilities, utilised the plentiful supply of water from Westminster Bank springs. All this work cost in the region of Â£100,000.00, an unbelievably large sum of money in those days. Was this all to not only fulfil her dreams but also to make a point to the Eastbourne Waterworks Company? The mansion is now the Elim Pentecostal Centre in