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Visiting holy wells in seventeenth-century Sweden: the case of St. Ingemo's well in Dala

Chapter in book
Authors Terese Zachrisson
Published in Sacred Waters: A Cross-Cultural Compendium of Hallowed Springs and Holy Wells / edited by Celeste Ray
Pages 318–327
ISBN 978-0-367-44512-6
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Historical Studies
Pages 318–327
Language en
Keywords Holy wells, Lutheranism, Sweden, Popular Piety, Landscape, Materiality, Superstition
Subject categories History, History of Religions


By closely examining one of the most well-documented seventeenth-century examples of the cult of holy wells, this article will shed light on a largely neglected aspect of popular piety in post-reformation Sweden. Despite the various attempts of undermining by clerical and secular authorities, traditional practices survived throughout the early modern period. Holy wells in a Scandinavian context have often been interpreted in terms of ’pagan survivals’ — as a tradition that the people of the middle ages and early modern eras engaged in as a parallel to, rather than as part of, their every-day Christian beliefs. In contrast, this article argues that the cult of holy wells needs to be understood as a dynamic part of popular Christian piety, with intermingling elements from both official and unofficial Christian practices.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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