| First i must begin with an apology. A number of changes have occurred in the life of LSJ, (and indeed in the life of your editor), since the publication of Issue One. The most significant change is that LSJ co-founder Katy Jordan has decided to resign from her involvement with LSJ in order to concentrate on other projects. Good luck Katy! A few changes in my own circumstances led to my wondering whether i could continue to find the time to devote to this project. Following a great deal of soul searching and procrastination, i have decided to maintain my dedication to ‘holy’ well research by keeping LSJ alive. I sincerely believe that there is a need for a dedicated place for the publication and dissemination of research and opinions on holy wells and water lore. I hope that you do too.
So my sincerest apologies to all of you who have been waiting so patiently for this issue. I promise to do everything in my power to ensure that LSJ continues.
But was it worth waiting for? Oh yes, oh yes indeed! Unfortunately, the ‘well received’ stream will not flow with this issue as we haven’t received any articles with the sufficient depth of analysis to submit for peer review. But don’t let that spoil your reading as there is much, much more on offer. Our lead article this issue comes from the once editor of Source, Tristan Gray-Hulse, who critically examines that oft-cited canon of Welsh holy well knowledge, Francis Jones’ The Holy Wells of Wales. Tristan’s scholarly article critically examines Jones’ work by reflecting on the documentation of a single North Wales holy well: Ffynnon Ddeier. Drawing on a wealth of extra sources and his considerable experience in the field, Tristan highlights the weaknesses of Jones’ work, and raises a number of interesting questions relevant to contemporary ‘holy’ well research. For instance, how do wells become holy?
I am also pleased to include the first international article in LSJ. This comes from author and holy well researcher, Gary Varner who gives us a valuable insight into some of the wells in his home country, the United States of America. Gary takes us on a tour of a number of sacred watery sites in the Americas, and treats us with insights into a number of interesting sites in his native California. In his tour, Gary refreshingly goes beyond the sacred spring that is so intrinsically linked with water lore and tells us about the legends associated with some waterfalls and even an ‘Old Faithful’ geyser.
In the Dipping Well stream, Ross Parish has written two articles about relatively little known well sites in the eastern counties of the UK, including an account of a fascinating ‘hermitage‘ site in East Sussex. Julian Lea-Jones also gives us an insight into some of the history surrounding the ‘Jacobs’ Well‘ ritual bath in Bristol. This well has been subject to a considerable amount of research in recent years as a suspected ‘mikveh‘. Also check out the news section for some good news about Jacob’s Well and a similarly fascinating site recently discovered in London!
We also have for your delectation, a number of shorter articles in the Notes & Queries stream, four book reviews, including the first book to receive a ‘five droplet rating’ from yours truly, and good news in the form of a recently restored well down in the county of holy wells: Cornwall. Finally we top it off with quite a few pieces of new and not so new news that may have passed you by, including no less than ten newly found or restored wells in Cornwall!
So all that remains is to wish you all a happy new year full of many well visits and good cheer. And of course, keep the contributions coming in. Even if it is just a quick note to let us know about a site you have visited, or something you read in the local newspaper, LSJ needs you!
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Created November 1, MMII