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Annual well dressing to celebrate patron saint of Frome

The 30th annual Dressing of St Aldhem’s Well  took place recently with the clergy, choir, Frome Town Band, the mayor, and representatives of local schools.

The well at St. John’s Baptist Church is decorated each year with flowers and artwork to commemorate St. Aldhelm, the founding saint of Frome.

Janet Caudwell, a reader at the church said, “During a brief service of blessing  Rev. Colin Alsbury, Vicar of St John’s, spoke about the theme of this year’s decoration, the Magna Carta, reminding everyone of the ideals of justice and freedom which are rightly cherished eight hundred years after its signing.

“Earlier, a large and colourful procession led by servers and choir was joined by the vicar and the Mayor of Frome, cllr Kate Bielby, and representatives of those who had decorated the well.

“The procession made its way from the church, down Bath Street and along Cheap Street. There were hymns, accompanied by Frome Town Band, and  Mr Alsbury prayed especially for the town and people of Frome.

“The service always takes place on the Saturday nearest to 25th May, the day when the founding saint of the town, Aldhelm, is celebrated. The first well dressing took place as part of the Frome 1300 celebrations in 1985.

“A major factor in Aldhelm’s choice of this site was the fresh springs which rise from the ground. This well, used by parishioners over the centuries at the corner of the churchyard, was rebuilt in the 1860s and is fed from the Gentle Street spring which also supplies the leat in Cheap Street.

“For many years members of St John’s Church produced a traditional Well Dressing which involved pressing thousands of flower petals into damp clay. For the past few years the artwork has been produced by children from Frome schools − this year, Berkley, Hayesdown and St John’s First Schools.

“The fresh flowers at the base of the Well Dressing were provided by pupils from St John’s School who each donated one flower. Some extra decoration was provided by members of different groups from St John’s congregation and also by members of the St John’s Ambulance.”

 

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