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St Anne's Well

St Anne's Well

By the early 16th century, people came to the small village of Buxton to benefit from the healing waters of St Anne’s Well. So many people believed themselves cured that the shrine was hung with cast-off crutches and sticks. In the reign of Henry VIII, the well was closed because of its connection with Roman Catholic worship. The shrine was locked and its idol - probably a statue of St Anne - was destroyed.

The well was eventually reopened and by the 1570s was once more attracting a constant stream of visitors. Most famously, Mary, Queen of Scots, came six times, describing the town as having ‘milk warm waters’.

In Hobbes’ day, the square, 1.5m (5 ft)-deep St Anne’s well was screened by walls and a roof and there was direct access for guests from an inn next door. Older patients came to drink and bathe in the warm water to strengthen their ageing limbs and stiff joints. The lame were said to be cured and ‘unfruitful dames’ made fertile.

Today you can taste Buxton water for free at the well decorated with a statue of St Anne opposite The Crescent.

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