The Holywell is one of the most important springs in Malvern. It was the source of the first bottled water in the UK and, like much of the water in Malvern, has been attributed to numerous healings and cures. Now, it is the only spring water in Malvern still bottled and sold; by Holywell Spring Water. The bottling is done by hand in the original, restored, building that was built during the height of popularity of the Victorian Water Cure.
The Holywell Spring Water Company was awarded "Most Promising New Business in Herefordshire and Worcestershire 2011". To be classified as "spring water", bottling must be done at the source and the company has overcome numerous logistical challenges associated with the remote location of the spring. Visitors can see the bottling process going on in the tiny workroom beyond the visitors centre and are free to taste the pure water directly from the spring itself. Bottles of Holywell Spring Water can be bought at Waitrose in Great Malvern.
Originally owned by Queen Elizabeth I, she signed the well over to John Hornyold, from a well known Malvern family, in 1558. The transfer included the terms that rest and refreshment would always be offered to travelers. This condition still stands today and visitors are welcome to drink from the spring and rest on the seat in the adjoining "Sanctuary Room".
Due to their healing properties, many ancient springs were called "Holy" which comes from the medieval word for "health". All sorts of cures have been attributed to water from this well. Accounts include people with aching limbs or skin disease that could not be cured by their Doctor, but were healed after bathing in the water from this spring. People who had been cured used to revisit the well and leave flowers, written prayers, and wishes in the Sanctuary Room next to the spring.
In 1622, monks from the Priory in Great Malvern would walk up to the Holywell each day to bottle the water and then take it to the elderly or infirm. However, there was no building on the site until 1815. This was greatly enhanced; the building seen today being built in 1843 to accommodate the popularity of the Water Cure. The architecture was inspired by the style of Baden-Baden in Germany.
In 1850, Mr Schweppes leased the right to bottle water at the Holywell. He exhibited this water at the Great Exhibition in London as a fountain in 1851 which was where Queen Victoria came across the water. Malvern water was then taken by the Royal household. In 1892, Schweppes moved the bottling activities to a purpose built site in Colwall where it produced the world famous Malvern Water until 2010 when Coca Cola closed the plant.
Much more detail of the history of this beautiful well can be seen around the walls of the visitor centre which is open from 8am - 5pm 7 days a week. More about the water cure, illustrated by interesting memorabilia, can also be seen at Malvern History Museum.
We appreciate any feedback you can give us about your visit. Click here to give us feedback.