Wells have many traditions associated with them. I hope to add to this list as time allows.
Shaking bottle ceremonies are to be found connected with holy wells all over the country. Pieces of liquorice were put into a bottle and mixed with water from the well. This sugary concoction was then drunk. May 1st was the traditional day for the shaking bottle ceremonies to take place, though well waking could take place on other; saints' days.
This is an old Cumbrian doggerel rhyme:The June Days' Dingle,
The wells of rocky CumberlandHave each a saint or patron,Who holds an annual festival,The joy of maid or matron.
And to this day,as erst they wont,The youths and maids repair,To certain wells on certain days,And hold a revel there,
Of sugar-stick and liquorice,With water from the spring,They mix a pleasant beverage,And May-day carols sing.
On the 14th October a Roman holy day called the Festival of Fontinalia. This festival was for fountains, holy wells and springs. This is a festival for Fons, the god of springs, and so garlands are thrown into springs and used to decorate wells.
Ancient history suggests that water was considered a miracle that deserved worship. Sources of water, such as rivers, wells and springs, were often times considered to be homes of the gods. The term fountain is derived from the Latin terms fons or fontus, which means the principium or the source. Latin references to the terms include fountain, spring, fresh water, source and origin. Fons was the name given to the god of sources. In Greek mythology Fons is the son of Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and Giuturna, a nymph of sources.
I have been in contact with Janet Board an author of Cures and Curses: Ritual and Cult at Holy Wells. This year she has also published Holy Wells in Britain: A Guide.
They are both published by Heart of Albion Press, further details on their website: www.hoap.co.uk.