Superb job on restoring Eastbourne’s Holy Well

From: Tony WardPashley Road, Eastbourne

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th March 2021, 3:14 pm
Mr Gardner says the restoration of the well is still an ongoing process. Picture from Tracy Owen. SUS-210324-092820001
Mr Gardner says the restoration of the well is still an ongoing process. Picture from Tracy Owen. SUS-210324-092820001

Many congratulations and thanks to those responsible for the clearing out and restoration of The Holy Well.

They have done a superb job, as I discovered on my dog-walk this morning (Saturday March 20).

The well had been filled in with large pebbles as a result of high storm tides, and had been hidden for some while.

A small flat-topped rocks seating area has now been made and stepping stones now lead down to the water, which is running freely again.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me to share a photo with readers, but perhaps someone could provide this?

The well is just a short walk along the beach from the Holywell Cafe, and is at the foot of the staircase descending from below Bede’s School.

It is accessible at any state of the tide.

It would be worth considering a direction sign from near the Dotto Train turning circle as it would now be an interesting and safe visitor attraction, particularly for children.

The Holy Well’s recorded history dates back, at least, to James Royer’s 1787 guide Eastbourne - A Descriptive Account of that Village, “one of the (fresh water) springs is called Holy-well, supposed to be so named from the many advantages received from drinking those waters”.

This aspect was also mentioned in an 1861 book Eastbourne as a Resort for Invalides. Chemical analysis however has shown that there is no scientific basis for these claims, perhaps a mixture of faith and wishful thinking.

Incidentally, the original meaning of the word “well”, referred to water ‘welling’ from the ground – a spring.