The parish use St Decumans Well today as a place to find peace and for baptisms. The Well can be located at the west end of St Decumans Church in Watchet Somerset.
The water comes out between great stones and flows from the well into a number of circular stone basins. My father Malcolm Wright helped to restore the well he wrote the following history of the well. "This ancient well was sacred to the Pagan Celts who worshipped here before the Christain monk Decuman settled in ," Waeced." Decuman came from Rhoscrowther in South Wales. He had one foot in the Pagan world and one in the Christain. The tolerance between Pagans and Christians of long ago is rarely found today. When Somerset became Christain and Paganism went into decline, the Well was adopted by the Christians of Watchet. The earliest account of Decuman's martyrdom reads, " A certain man...more poisonous than the adder, envying the great father's sanctity, hating virtue and raging with furious mind in detestation of the Christian name, apporached like a wild beast and cut off the head of the Saint of the Lord amid his prayers and holy devotions and so sent him to the heavenly kingdom." Later the legend grew that Decuman's sanctity and the Well's sacred powers enabled him to carry his head to the Holy Well, wash it, place it back on his shoulders and then carry on with his sacred work." Malcolm Wright 2003
This picture shows my father dowsing around the well head. If you are passing St Decumans Church and wish to visit the well it is located along a lane behind the church in a lovely peaceful garden. Within the garden lies an inscribed stone. The stone is placed for contemplatation, prayer and meditation. You can obtain a small A5 sheet explaining all about the stone and its meanings when you enter the garden.
At this well is placed a stone. My father worked with the church to decide on a suitable inscription. In his words he says, " This stone is placed here for contemplation, prayer and meditation. It is the trinity between God, Man and Soul. It is about our deeper mystical side of self, the whole meaning of life, to help focus our mind.
God or Inner God has acquired foremost place in human, religious and philosophical thinking. Indeed it is the very cornerstone on which great religions are built; rightly so, because this doctrine is founded on Nature herself. God works with Nature and Nature works with God. What is correct with Nature is correct with God.
Man is the vehicle of the soul. The soul seeks to experience through us. To understand this we have to look to our, " inward man." (2 Corinthians 4.18) " We look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Living Soul: The word Soul in Scripture, especially in the style of the Hebrews, is very equivocal. It is taken for that spiritual and immortal entity in man, which is the origin of our thoughts, our desires, our reasoning. All knowing the Soul creates, the mind reacts. Many holy wells are lost forever through neglect. This well has been lovingly restored for all to benefit. May you find this place sacred, and may all people of every faith or of none, sit quietly here and know that there is a Presence beyond immediate experience to which we are all drawn. The Source of Life is close to us here in the sacred waters of this well." Malcolm Wright 2003
I am very sorry to be told today 15/05/11 that the St Decumans Well has become very overgrown, many of the signs celebrating its existence have been removed. What is going on? I understood the church was responsible for looking after this beautiful well. I will make some enquiries.
Enjoy your time at the well.