The holy well is the absolute combination of mystery and utility. There are hundreds of them still to be found, some easily, others with good maps. This useful book lists them all, and in so doing takes us into the realm of a still little-known spiritual area... It also leads us through many exceedingly interesting though remote areas of Celtic and English Christian history. RONALD BLYTHE (TABLET) Holy wells are an ancient and mysterious part of the landscape, yet have been the subject of little serious study. James Rattue has been fascinated by them for many years, and has now written the first general history of wells and their religious and cultural associations. He begins the story in the ancient world, exploring the archetypal motifs present in the cult of water, then traces the distinctive development of the holy well in England, examining pagan wells and their Christianisation, the role played by ecclesiastical history and institutions, the importance of saints' cults, and the social functions of wells in the middle ages.