Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The quest for the Holy Well

I was walking this morning in one of the villages and stumbled upon a well in a churchyard… does this make it holy?  My experience of Holy Wells isn’t vast but what little experience I have tells me they are either tufts of grass in a field of grazing horses, puddles of water with crisp packets floating around or so beautifully maintained to be sites of pilgrimage. The latter reminded me of a trip several years ago.

Some time ago I was on holiday in Wales with some friends and The Weeping cross and I decided to go for a walk around St David whereupon we came across St Non’s Well.

Bearing in mind that weeping cross would be the last person on the planet (although I would give him a good dual for that place) who would reveal an ankle of flesh let alone take off all his clothes in the middle of nowhere the events that unfolded at the well took me rather by surprise. 

We had a good inspection of said well. We sat around, we enjoyed it we admired the view, sat back, thought and reflected and then, when it seemed time to do something else, Weeping Cross stood up and said ‘we’ll get in then shall we’. It was quite big, and it was quite deep, and there was room, but my mind boggled…. “err.. yes”, said I not wanting to hold back on what was clearly an important event to a holy well enthusiast. 

I let him take the lead with the removal first of his shoes, then one sock, then the other. I was beginning to panic at this point thinking he really meant it. Turns out he  wanted to sit on the edge of the well and dabble his feet in. I was very relieved, not only that I didn’t have to come up with a reason not to take my clothes off, but also that I hadn’t done the other extreme and taken the lead in proceedings and stripped off there and then and leapt right in.

So, back to today’s. From the back:


The middle:


The front:


It is a well and on holy ground and it dates back to medieval times but it says it was formally used for baptism rather than any mention of it being a site of healing…although baptism may just be that… it doesn’t sort out your eyes, your arms, or your bronchitis; it sorts out your life.


Blogger paris said...

Hi Bones Nice well, I don't think you would put a drinking well in a grave yard, dead body's near drinking water cant be a good idea. So a washing/baptism not drinking. Did the well look older than the church?

3:25 PM  
Blogger MortimerBones said...

Holy Wells aren't just about drinking (if at all). The quality of water from a well varies and maybe that is why some "inspire the power of prophecy!
This well is fed by a spring.
I don't know how old it was, it is probably on the net somewhere. The vault looks restored, obviously, but the stones around te well look older, but I don't know about these things. A website says it was restored in 1980 and dressed in 1986 for the first time - I wonder if it still is.
The church dates back to the 13century I think.

3:58 PM  
Blogger BigJohn said...

Lovely post. Brings back memories of lots of "holy wells I have known".
One used to have a cup by it, until a purity test found it polluted by sewage!

4:27 PM  

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