Sancreed Well

Sancreed Well - Holy Well

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Sancreed Well
Sancreed Well

As with Madron Well, this water source in the village of Sancreed pre-dates Christianity, though traditional rituals and reverence did not diminish in the Christian world; visits for sacred ritual and healing passing from association with pagan spirits to saints (in this case St Credan). It lay forgotten and obscured by thicket for a long time until rediscovered by the vicar of Sancreed in the late C19th. A local woman, Juliette Shanks, devoted herself to its upkeep, earning a commemorative plaque.

Located a few minutes walk west of the Church, the water now normally surfaces below ground level and is accessed by descending several granite steps into a magical fern and moss lined cavern, some of the moss being phosphorescent. However, it does sometime surge and overflow down a surface stone channel. Again similarly to Madron, Sancreed Well has a neighbouring Baptistry or Chapel. A simple rectangular ruin, it contains a C15th carved stone amongst its verdant undergrowth. A Celtic cross was also erected on the site in 1910.

Sancreed Well clouties
'Clouties' at Sancreed Well

Pilgrims seeking healing would come here, perform bathing rituals and tie a rag torn from their clothing to nearby trees. The theory is that as the (natural fibre) cloth rots, the ailment ebbs away. Such clouties are still found here, although nowadays they are more likely to represent votive offerings for all manner of wishes and luck than healing. Inside the grotto-like entrance a variety of offerings can also often be found, such as flowers.

The entrance to the granite passage faces south and so, at certain points in the calendar, the sun shines directly onto the water. Paul Devereux explored Sancreed Well regarding energy and radiation and in his 1990 book recorded levels 200% higher than the surrounding area, suggesting that could have some bearing on visionary activity here.