On a journey between the north Somerset towns of Wells and Bruton, I decided to stop for a while at St Aldhelms Well, near the church of St Aldhelm at Doulting. Both the church and the well were apparently named after Aldhelm following his death in the immediate vicinity whilst on his ecumenical rounds as the Abbot of Malmesbury Abbey and Bishop of Sherborne. he was well known and revered throughout the church as a poet, scholar and theologian. Following his death in 709, his body was returned to Malmesbury and he was buried at Malmesbury Abbey. He was also sanctified and his Feast Day is the day of his death, 25th May.
Arriving at the bottom of the narrow lane, I saw the figure of a man washing himself in the flowing waters of the well. It was a warm sunny late May day and I was pleased to see someone invigorating themselves in the ancient spring. A woman then arrived with a collection of large plastic bottles for filling at the well, and we entered into conversation whilst we waited for the man to finish his ablution. She told me the water here was very good for drinking, and made a fine cup of tea, much nicer than the popular White Spring at Glastonbury which she said was ‘calcified’. She told me that the best spring for drinking water however was at Whitehole spring, where it was actually commercially bottled and sold, though it is still possible to collect water for personal use there without charge.