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The well is named after St Aldhelm, the great scholar-bishop of Sherborne, who according to legend was not above singing songs and juggling to keep the attention of the congregations which gathered to hear him preach. During his Visitation to Doulting, the site of a fine priory, he died, and the vigorous well of clear water was named after him from that day.
A purely local tradition states that St Aldhelm did penance here by sitting in the well while he recited the psalter.' Another appears to emphasise the healing qualities of the water: 'Local tradition has it that St Aldhelm would sit in this bath when he was ill here shortly before his death in 709.' In this case healing did not apparently take place! Nevertheless the well has kept a reputation both for sanctity and for healing, and it is its reputation for healing which must have led to its being developed as a bathing-place for pilgrims.
The strong spring has, according to one church guide, a constant supply of excellent water and has never been known to fail even in times of extreme drought. Experienced well-hunters will recognise here yet another of the typical attributes of the holy well: an unfailing supply of water. The spring forms the source of the Doulting River, which flows on via Shepton Mallet, Dulcote, Coxley and Godley on its way to join the river Brue. The spring rises within the hillside below the church, and the spring flows out through two pointed arches which are set against solid rock. This forms one side of the wide and shallow bathing pool which leads down to an outflow which passes through a pumping-house to fill a drinking-trough in the lane below. There are various pieces of carved masonry lying around the well, evidence that in previous years the well was roofed over and made more attractive to the pilgrims who came to bathe in the healing water.
The cache a one litre clip-lock box and is hidden not far from here. It contains the usual assortment of goodies. Note: There is a short but steep climb up to the well from the road but it is unnecessary to stray from the public footpath to find the cache. Please be careful when climbing back down again. There is a convenient tree root to hold on to! GPS reception may be poor due to the trees.
There is limited parking nearby at the end of the lane next to the well but please do not block the gate. Alternatively, park near the church at N51°11.201 W002°30.460 and take the short walk down the lane to the well.
Please remember to log the NAMES of Travel Bugs and Geocoins which you log in and out. It makes it easier to trace them if they go missing.
Orfvqr gur evtug-unaq jnyy oruvaq na byq gerr fghzc.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum