PICTURED: Strange Well, Cuddington, Bucks.
An OS map is lying next to it to give an idea of size.
STRANGE Folklore Society rediscovered Cuddington's spring in 1985. They were researching all of Bucks' holy wells following an article in Source, the Journal of the Holy Wells Group of Britain. This article requoted the reference to Cuddington's well that appeared in The History and Topography of Buckinghamshire of James Joseph Sheahan published originally in 1862. Sheahan said of Cuddington:
"In the southern part of the parish, on the brow of a hill just below Dadbrook House, is a medicinal Spring, which rises in Haddenham parish, and was formerly of some celebrity. The water is received in a stone reservoir, near the highway, and is remarkably clear and pleasant to taste."
When four or five members of Strange ventured to Cuddington from the Society's base in High Wycombe, there was no sign of any such well. After almost an hour's searching, however, member Clive Harper heard the sound of trickling water coming from an overgrown hedge in the right location.
After some tearing away at the hedge the spring was revealed. And the stone reservoir was still standing. After clearing it and tidying the spring the members walked to the church and, discovering that a former vicar was called the Rev. Strange, decided to rename the well, Strange Well.
There was an unfortunate event a few days later when a ritual of some kind appeared to have been carried out at the spring. Sheep skins were found hung from poles around the well, and burnt out candles around the basin. It is likely these were the foolish antics of teenagers but the use of such props at such a location could also indicate someone with a fairly indepth occult knowledge.
Further investigations by Strange revealed that there was someone who remembered an old lady who used to sit by the well and sell the water for its medicinal properties at 1d a bottle.
Another humorous example of its medicinal properties occurred when in the early 20th century a boy was running from Haddenham to Cuddington with a bottle of medicine. He tripped and fell, spilling most of the mixture. Rather than admit his carelessness he topped up the bottle with water from the spring! One wonders what became of the patient!
Former members of Strange still visit the Strange Well on occasion to tidy it up and ensure that the indiscriminate scything of modern hedge cutters do not rip this delightful piece of old England from its resting place. Strange Wycombe, detailing legends and folklore of Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, has been out of print for some time but a few copies of the 1991 edition are still available. See Strange Wycombe page for more details.