The name “Saint Anne’s Wells” is likely to be an early-modern alteration. It is thought that the spring was probably first named “Annifreid’s Wells”, in memory of a Saxon princess.
According to local legend, Annifreid’s husband was murdered and when news of his death reached her, she burst into tears. When the tears hit the ground, a well sprang up, which became known as Annifreid’s Well.
Whatever the origins of Saint Anne’s Wells, the location is known to be a hotspot for paranormal activity. Some commentators have even speculated that the popular Brighton park that now hosts the spring could be a crossover point between the material world and the spirit world, popularly known as a “hellmouth”.
Reports of demonic children are particularly popular, with one account from 1896 talking of a hoard of “demented youths with cat-like eyes” terrorising a party of Brighton merchants and businessmen.
In 1993 a English Exchange student was admitted to Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital, suffering the symptoms of severe shock. When questioned as to what had caused her trauma, she claimed to have been approached by the devil whilst passing through the Saint Anne’s Wells area.