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Medieval well that was used for sin-washing has been uncovered

During medieval times, pilgrims would flock to England with the quest of reaching St. Anne’s Well.

It was said that it could cure ailments and wash away your sins. Archaeologists are now saying that they’ve rediscovered the huge sandstone well that is located on a private farm close to Liverpool, using only a photo from 1983 and a description.

When the archaeologists came to the site, there was not much evidence of the well as it was filled completely with dirt. But once excavated it was found to be in healthy condition. Legend has it that the mother of the Virgin Mary descended the medieval well’s three steps and bathed in a pool that was 4 feet deep.

A cursed well Photo Credit
A cursed well Photo Credit

This well was most likely a late Medieval foundation, as the cult of St. Anne didn’t become widespread in England until after the end of the 14th century. At this place, pilgrims could have washed away their sins or attempted to be healed through its divine powers.

It’s thought that the well was maintained by a small monastery of twelve monks. They were so successful they even managed to turn a profit from the land. The well became so popular that two of the monks were full-time caretakers of it.

The water was said to have the ability to cure skin and eye diseases, and the well was believed to have had healing powers all the way into the 19th century. Another more menacing legend suggested it was cursed.

In the 16th century, legends told of a story about the curse of the neighboring estate manager. It was believed that he took part in the seizure of the monastery by the king.

According to a newspaper published in the year of 1877, a neighboring landowner known as Hugh Darcy had been upset with the amount of space the well was taking up. This prompted a dispute with Father Delwaney, one of the monks who aided in running the monastery.

The feud reached its  tipping point when the two men argued close to the well, and Darcy told the monk that his business would not last for much longer.

Only a few days later a messenger from the king, most likely Henry VII who enjoyed closing monasteries, arrived to close the well and the facility.

The very upset Father Delwaney quickly cursed Darcy and told him that a year and a day will not pass without consequences for what they have done. Moments after the curse was muttered, legend says that he fell over dead.

According to the folklore, a series of unfortunate events would follow Darcy around for the next year. His son died mysteriously, and his finances took a turn for the worst, reportedly.

St Anne's Well in Rainhill
St Anne’s Well in Rainhill


Here is another story from us: Discovered Medieval Well is Now Raising Questions about Nazis & a Polish Castle

But after a night of drinking, Darcy had been found at the well with his head smashed in. Not one person knows how he managed to have a fate such as that. Was it the curse? Or was it just bad luck? This is a question that can never be answered.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News