Holy Well, Malvern
The Holy Well is set on the slopes of the Malvern Hills above Malvern Wells. The well is believed to be the site of the oldest bottling plant in the world. The Malvern spring water was first bottled on a commercial scale at the well and the building houses a modern commercial bottling plant.
The Holy Well was granted to John Hornyold Esq in 1558.
In 1743 Dr John Wall analysed the spring water. He published his analysis of the water, stating that the water contained "nothing at all".
In 1843 it was purchased by T G Hornyold, who erected the cottage orne-style building that houses the Well at a cost of £400.
Bottling at the Holy Well
Malvern water has been bottled and distributed in the UK and abroad from as early as the reign of James I, with water bottling at the Holy Well being recorded in 1622. Various local grocers have bottled and distributed Malvern water during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but it was first bottled on a large commercial scale by Schweppes, who opened a bottling plant at Holy Well in Malvern Wells in 1850. As official caterers to the Great Exhibition of 1851, Schweppes introduced the water as Malvern Soda, later renaming it Malvern Seltzer Water in 1856. In 1890 Schweppes moved away from Holy Well, entered into a contract with a Colwall family, and built a bottling plant in the village in 1892. The Holy Well was subsequently leased to John and Henry Cuff, who bottled there until the 1960s. The Holy Well became derelict until 2009 when with the aid of a Lottery Heritage grant, production of 1200 bottles per day of Holy Well Spring Water was recommenced by an independent family-owned company.
In the past Holy Well was dressed on St. Oswald's day by people who had been cured at the well. St Oswald supposedly revealed the healing properties of the well to a hermit who lived on the hills.
Until 2006, religious items, flowers and other objects were left as votive offerings at the Holy Well. Local Christians and foreign visitors of a wide range of faiths used to leave prayers and wishes in thanks for the pure water. In 2006 concerns were raised in the local press about religious messages that had been written on the walls of the building. As a result, tokens are regularly removed with the exception of the official well dressing of the site in May.
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