Wise Woman of Wookey Hole

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The Wise Woman of Wookey in the Glastonbury Experience Courtyard

Whilst living in The Old Chapel, Wookey Hole from 1983 to 1997, Local Sculptor, Artist and Author, Phillipa Bowers, heard the legend of a wicked witch who lived in the local caves and was turned to stone by a monk from Glastonbury when she poisoned the crops and cursed the inhabitants.

Philippa writes; "I knew that, at a time when midwives, herbalists and healers were being pronounced witches and hanged in England and burned in Europe, the local wise woman could be blamed for any misfortune that befell the village. The failure of crops, or the sickness of people and animals caused by the pollution of the water supply by the Roman lead mines on the hills above would be understood today, but might have been seen as the work of the Devil in less enlightened times.A stalagmite ball, a knife and human bones found in the caves may have belonged to the unfortunate woman who, I believe, in company with many other victims of witch hunts, deserved better than the evil reputation for which she is still remembered."

"With this woman, and all the many village healers who cared for the ordinary people in mind, I created The Wise Woman for an exhibition in The Glastonbury Assembly Rooms in 1986. I am grateful to Helena Koppejan, the co-founder of The Glastonbury Experience complex, who bought her and installed her where she still stands with her dog in the courtyard."