At Sancreed Holy Well…

… on this day in 1910, James Stevens recorded in his Diary…

At a Service in Church in afternoon and then at a short service at the Holy Well where Rev. Stona dedicated a cross which was set up there last week to mark the spot where Christianity was probably preached in this Parish. Three ladies (one of them staying here) staying for a while in the Parish are the means of setting it up. About a dozen people attended the service at the Holy Well. (Sunday 24th July 1910)

Following the signed footpath that runs beside James’s old home (Glebe Farm), after about 400 yards you come to the Holy Well (and the ruined medieval baptistery). 

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One of a number of Holy Wells in Cornwall, Sancreed’s possibly dates from around the 7th century.  Beside it is a ‘cloutie’ tree, decorated with strips of coloured fabric. 

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The theory is that, if you’re ill, you drink water from the Well (not recommended!) or bathe in it and tie a ‘cloutie’ to the tree. Then when the fabric disintegrates your illness will disappear too.  Judging by the number of pieces of fabric on the tree this is still a popular tradition, though the steep, slippery steps down to the water and the colour of the water itself didn’t tempt me to try the ‘cure’!

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For more about Cornish Holy Wells see esdale77’s blogs about St. Keyne’s Holy Well and Quenchwell Spring.



Author: Ann - Editor of James Stevens's Cornish Diary

My interest in family history began in 2010 and eventually led to the discovery of my Cornish ancestors. One of these was my Great-great-grandmother's sister, Honor Stevens, and her husband, James. Having read a copy of his published Diary I realised how useful it could be to other family and local history enthusiasts, so I spent the next few years re-transcribing it and producing a PDF version. I finished the transcription in August 2016, although it's clear it's going to be a continuing project as I add more background information. As I live about 5 hours drive from Cornwall, I'm able to holiday in the beautiful County of Kernow (or should that be Country!) at least once a year, visiting and photographing the places connected with the Stevens family. I've also been lucky to have the support of direct descendants of James & Honor, as well as local residents and organisations, who have helped with information and photos.

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