Welldressing Blessing at Holywell

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Think welldressings think Derbyshire. I used to visit them as a boy from Sheffield. But Hunts has its own tradition, especially at Holywell on the Great Ouse near St Ives. It’s an old Saxon ring village with a spring by the river, and each year at the Patronal Festival of St John the Baptist (a give-away of old summer celebrations as it falls at the solstice) there is a well dressing erected, and a flower festival and special service in church. I got to preach again this year which was excellent fun. We celebrated Shakespeare (theme of the festival) as well as John but took issue with Brabantio in Othello who said, “words are words; I never yet did hear / That the bruis’d heart was pierced through the ear.” A quick check showed that lots of people in the congregation had been hurt deeply by words, so we committed ourselves to being people of blessing not cursing – rather important for us as a country just now after all the words of the referendum campaign.

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