Monday, 26 December 2011

Healing Wells in 'County Folk-Lore' by Gutch and Peacock

This is an entry for Healing Wells in 'County Folk-Lore' by Gutch and Peacock, written in 1908:
"Two of the most frequently patronized springs in the county (Lincolnshire) rise within a few feet of each other in a narrow plantation by the roadside on Healing Wells Farm, in the parish of Healing, near Great Grimsby.
Between the two springs grows a large thorn, and the bushes around them are hung with rags.
Mr. Cordeaux visited them not long since for the purpose of discovering whether pins are ever dropped into them, 'but the bottom of the water in both cases was too muddy and full of leaves to allow accurate examination. It is said, however, that large numbers of pins have been found near the curative waters at Kingerby.
The twin wells at Healing are popularly credited with influencing totally different maladies. According to one account, the iron spring is chiefly of benefit in diseases of the eye, and the other in skin diseases. A middle-aged man, who grew up in an adjoining parish, states that when he was a lad, one spring was used for bathing, and the second for drinking. The latter was considered good against consumption, among other forms of sickness. . . . What the special gift of the bathing well was ‘F S’ cannot say. He often plunged his feet into it when a boy, but he does not venture to assert that it had any great power in reality, although ' folks used to come for miles,' and the gipsies, who called the place Ragged Spring or Ragged Well, frequently visited it.
A gentleman who hunts with the Yarborough pack every winter, says that he notices the rags fluttering on the shrubs and briars each season as he rides past. There is always a supply of these tatters, whether used superstitiously or not, and always has been since his father first knew the district some seventy years ago."

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