Two ancient wells
and a prehistoric bronze statue of a three-headed goddess are drawing
hundreds of pilgrims in search of miracles to a tiny village on the
Isle of Sheppey in Kent, UK. People from as far away as Australia and
Mexico are being drawn to the village of Minster, according to an article
by Peter Birkett in the Daily Express.
Until five years ago, Minster was an unremarkable village containing
two Chinese take-aways, a video hire shop and a working men's club.
That was until Brian Slade, a local amateur archaeologist, asked and
was granted permission to open and excavate one of the two wells situated
at Minster Abbey, a nunnery founded in 640 AD by the Saxon saint Sexburga,
the widowed Queen of Kent.
The two wells date back about 3,500 years. The one beside the surviving
abbey gatehouse is 40 feet deep, while the second lies in the old Abbess's
garden. During the excavation in 1991, many artifacts were uncovered,
including Roman tiles and pieces of Bronze Age pottery. Then came the
discovery of the three-headed goddess ó and with it the start of the
The statue was almost the last thing unearthed by one of the team of
excavators, Ian White, who found it beneath centuries of silt at the
bottom of the deep well. It was nine months later that he decided it
must contain a mysterious, miraculous power ó for that was the time
that his wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl. For years, he and his
wife Sharon had tried to start a family, only to have the attempts end
in miscarriage. They had even visited a number of medical specialists,
without success. The Whites firmly believe that the Triple Goddess,
the name they gave to the prehistoric fertility icon, was responsible
for the birth of their new-born baby.
When Dr Ian Godsland, a medical research scientist at Imperial College,
heard about the Whites' baby, he decided to send £50 towards the excavation
of the well. His wife had also endured four miscarriages and was pregnant
yet again. Six months later she gave birth to a healthy son.
Ian White told the Daily Express: "Of course I can't say it was
the goddess for certain. No one can. But we both like to believe it."
Dr Godsland, who lives near Leighton Buzzard, said: "I really believe
that the goddess may have played a part. Don't ask me how it happened
or for any explanations. I just believe now that the world can work
in a different way to the one we scientists think we understand."
The Triple Goddess is being kept in the Minster home of Brian Slade.
He says he has heard of three similar accounts of women successfully
having babies despite a history of miscarriage. "There is little doubt
of a life force here," he told the newspaper. "It is ancient, pre-Christian,
but I believe it is a force for good."
Meanwhile the gatehouse well has been resealed, although the Abbess's
well, which is fed by the same source of water, remains open. The garden
in which it lies is owned by Mr Leon Stanford.
He reports that hundreds of people have come to his house asking to
drink the water, some hoping to start having families, others to cure
serious illnesses, including cancer and blindness. A number of visitors
have filled 25-litre water containers to take back to Germany.
Visitors are not charged for either the water or for touching the statue.
The only restriction is that people are advised not to throw offerings
into the well. Mr Stanford has the water regularly tested for its purity
as he and his family drink it in the house.
He is convinced of its healing powers, for when he came to the village
two years ago he was partly crippled by a painful and long-term condition
in the heel of his foot. He could only move about with the aid of a
walking stick. Just several months of drinking the water and the condition
Tests last year by Swale Borough Council found the water to be completely
pure, with no traces of sewage or chlorine. It was also found to contain
a number of valuable trace elements such as potassium and magnesium.
The Abbess's well is now listed as a Grade One historical site by English
Heritage and the owners, Swale District Council, are thinking of opening
it to the general public. Meanwhile the mysterious healing powers of
the wells and the Triple Goddess continue to draw the lame, the sick
and the childless, all of them hoping for the miracles to continue.
(Benjamin Creme comments: This very ancient (3,000 year-old) site
was famous throughout Europe as a healing centre and one where the ancient
fertility rites were practised with great success. The three-headed
Goddess dates to that time and still retains its miraculous powers.
In the 7th century AD the Master
Who was the Madonna took a special interest in the site and maintained
the miraculous healing properties of the water.)
(from Share International, January-February 1997)