The Living Stream: Holy Wells in Historical Context Paperback – 25 Oct 2001
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Excellent and innovative historical study... Rattue steers us clearly through a succinct exposition of the origins, changes in use, and development of popular and elite rituals covering British wells and springs... an invaluable history of their cultural importance to local communities, stripping away the false accretions of centuries of romantic myth and legend. ALBION 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 Seminal, original and genuinely historical study whose fresh waters flow into many fields. CHURCH HISTORY (US) An enterprisingly stimulating book. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It helps that Rattue, as well as being an accomplished historian, is also a master of the pithy one-liner as a form of subtle criticism, but the book is so well researched that it would be compelling in any case. Beginning by outlining the origins of well worship in the ancient world, the author considers the relationship between wells, society in general and Christianity in particular. That the final chapter, considering modern attitudes to holy wells, is subtitled "wells and suburban angst" may give some idea of the author's approach.
For any well enthusiast, the book would be worth having for the gazetteers and bibliography alone - where I'm familiar with the primary sources used, these are accurately cited and unlike much of the "new-age" literature on the subject, this book is mercifully free from selective quotation. It deserves to become the standard work on the topic and will hopefully encourage further research.