Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/202

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1 66 Folk- Lore of the Wye Valley.

wished to perpetuate tliis tradition also, must have been something more sympathetic than a mere bookworm grubbing for history.

As far as I can learn, there is no religious legend attached to the Virtuous Wells, though I have heard them spoken of as St. Anne's Well by people who did not belong to Trelleck. There are supposed once to have been nine springs, though but four remain : they are enclosed in a walled area, which has never been roofed in, and is entered by descending steps. It contains two stone benches and two squared recesses, besides that of the chief spring, which is honoured with an arched recess and a round stone basin — very evidently that figured on the sun-dial. The wells are situated about a mile outside the village, nowhere near the stones, and an ordinary stream runs within a iQy>^ feet of them. The various springs are supposed to cure various ailments, if used early in the morning, and fasting. The water of the main spring contains iron, and very nasty it is, as I know from sad experi- ence, having tasted it under the impression that that was the right way to wish. I afterwards learnt that I ought to have dropped in a pebble and wished as it fell through the water.

There is also a tank at Trelleck called the Nine Wells, which tradition assigns as a bathing place to the "nuns" of Tintern Abbey, some three miles distant. They are supposed to have come by a subterranean passage. It is curious that the country folk always speak of the mins, though Tintern was a Cistercian Monastery.

Trelleck is supposed once to have had seven churches, and at very low water it is said that the spire of one of the last buildings is still to be seen at the bottom of a pond in the Green Lane. Now this legend is rather characteristically Celtic, but I will pass on to