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Old Moses Folly or Spout

NGR 77192 45767
Site Number: C127
By Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver (C) 2012
Area 1. Malvern Town Centre Springs and Wells
Malvern Hills, England

Location: to the right of St Ann's Well
Description: a pile of rocks and a waterfall to a rock basin, usually dry.

For three reasons this Malvern stone feature is frequently referred to as the Old Moses Folly. Firstly, although it is a water spout, it is usually dry. Back in the 1950s the pipe was giving trouble, so in 1960 a new polythene tube was laid from the inspection pit on the upper path to the rock basin. Nearly fifty years later the 'water' feature was again renovated but once more, usually, the pipe is dry.

Secondly, it is not as old as the naming suggests and thirdly, at a well blessing ceremony on 9th December 2005 the feature was formally named The Old Moses Spout after a donkey named Moses that supposedly carried Princess Victoria to St Ann's Well in 1830. However, when Princess Victoria and her mother came to Malvern for ten weeks in the summer of 1830 they brought mules and donkeys with them for their personal use. Newspapers at the time recorded how they would not need to use the local animals.[1]

In reality it was the lesser known Dowager Queen Adelaide, who visited Malvern in 1843, 13 years later, who rode a donkey named Moses. '...the donkey patronised by her Majesty on these occasions received in consequence the cognomen of "Royal Moses"'. In the mid-1840s the donkey died, 'the poor beast ... being ridden to death in consequence of this act of the worthy Queen Dowager's having given it the premiership among Malvern asses.'[2] With Victoria on the throne, the opportunity to ride the very same beast as she supposedly rode was not to be missed and therefore worth money to the donkey owners. It was the Victorians who invented elaborate stories like this to to make their towns more appealing to visitors and the opportunity to ride "Royal Moses" was actually on offer long after the original donkey had passed on. One hopes for more accurate research and marketing in the twenty-first century, not only for the sake of the donkeys concerned but also when naming a spout.

The reconstruction of the spout was the flagship project of a number of renovations to local springs and wells using Heritage Lottery Fund money. The nearby pond was also landscaped.[3]

1. The Old Moses Folly after renovation.
[1] The Worcester Herald, 7th August 1830.
[2] WRO ref. 899:25/2 BA 372/2B Bound collection of miscellaneous printed papers.
[3] Friends of Malvern Springs and Wells, Newsletter 13, March 2006.

The map alongside is a small section of our more comprehensive map of the area. For the complete map together with a description and history of this site see "Celebrated Springs of the Malvern Hills" (2012).
Click on Website below or the top banner to go to the DISCOVERY TRAIL INDEX of springs and wells.

Website: Click Here



Celebrated Springs of 


A definitive work that is the culmination of 20 years researching the springs and wells of the Malvern Hills, published by Phillimore. This is the ideal explorers guide enabling the reader to discover the location and often the astounding and long forgotten history of over 130 celebrated springs and wells sites around the Malvern Hills. The book is hard back with dust cover, large quarto size with lavish illustrations and extended text. Celebrated Springs contains about 200 illustrations and well researched text over a similar number of pages, together with seven area maps to guide the explorer to the locations around the Malvern Hills. It also includes details on the long history of bottling water in the Malvern Hills.

Written by Bruce Osborne and Cora Weaver, this book is available on-line for £15.00 (delivered UK) - click Malvern Bookshop on the green panel top left. Alternatively send a cheque payable to Cora Weaver with your name and address to 4 Hall Green, Malvern, Worcs. WR14 3QX.

Malvern Hills - arguably Britain's original National Park
A Spring, Spout, Fountain or Holy Well Site
Site with Malvern Water
2 SPLASHES - Not Much To See
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