ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Polperro Holy Well, Cornwall

Updated on June 9, 2013

As with many other holy wells, the holy well at Polperro in Cornwall ceased to be used many years ago. However, you can still visit the well - and close by is a lovely old holy well house that still exists. This has been a listed building since 1985, with a Grade II grade, for "special architectural or historic interest".

Originally it is thought that this holy well was dedicated to St Peter and, like many local holy wells, has its origins in medieval times.

The water supplying the holy well comes from a spring in rocks in a field, but it was probably road works in recent years that interrupted its flow. There used to be a Chapel of St Peter of Porthpyre to be found in the field above where the holy well is.

We know that the well was present and current when Mabel Quiller-Couch did her huge survey of holy wells in Cornwall for her well-know book "Ancient Holy Wells in Cornwall".

So, to be clear, you'll find a holy well near the road, then further down in the fields you'll find the old well house.

Worth a Visit?

Don't go to Polperro just to see this holy well, but you can mix n match it in with a visit to other great venues. There are two haunted pubs in Polperro and a haunted cave on the beach.

Polperro doesn't allow cars down into the town centre, but there's a huge (pay and display) car park at the top and from there you can either walk down the hill, or take one of the special transport modes such as a vintage omnibus, or a horse and carriage.

Polperro Holy Well
Polperro Holy Well | Source

Saints Well Polperro

Mabel Quiller-Couch called this well Saints Well and described it as:

In the parish of Lansallos, near Polperro, is a spring, never dry. It is much credited for its special virtues by the country folk.

This reputation has long survived the edifice, which once, I believe, enclosed its holy water ; and the name of the saint, its particular patron, is lost for ever. It most probably was St. Peter, the special guardian of fishermen, as on Landaviddy estate, where the well is situated, are — as little distinguishable — the faint ruins and marks of the area of the chapel of St. Peter of Porthpyre, mentioned in Bishop Brantynham's Register as existing in the year 1392.

The spring is still resorted to by those afflicted by bad eyes and other ailments, and, if ' ceremonies due are done aright,' with well-attested benefits.

Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, Line 33

Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, line 33
Chaucer's Pardoner's Tale, line 33 | Source

It must be visited on three mornings following before sunrise, fasting — a veritable injunction and rite no doubt, as witnesseth Chaucer's Pardoner.

The well is still known by the name of Saint's Well among the inhabitants of Polperro ; but, whatever may have been its appearance at the time the above account was written — and undoubtedly it was then unguarded by any masonry — it is now a shallow well at which cattle drink, and has but an ordinary curbstone before it.

Location of the Holy Well at Polperro

During one survey of this holy well, it was reportedly dried up, since then it has been made easier to find as somebody has adopted" the well and placed a piece of carved slate on the inside edge of the wall, so you know when you've found it, although most people are disappointed when they find it's just a small wet hole in the ground. Note: there are other wet patches and gullies along this road, so make sure you get the correct one.

You will quite often find water running through it again now, especially with all the rain we seem to have been having for what seems like years non-stop!

Holy Well: Landaviddy Lane in the vicinity of Elm Cottage

National Grid Reference: SX2039051055

Longitude/Latitude: 50.331933 -4.525018

Polperro Holy Well: Location Map
Polperro Holy Well: Location Map | Source

Other Local Holy Wells:

Another holy well that has disappeared is the one close by at Porthallow, this well was called the Brydewell. This has been mentioned in a book written in 1994 by James P Derriman entitled "Killigarth: Three Centuries of a Cornish Manor". Although this book had a limited print run, it is still possible to get a copy if you wish to read more, although all it really says is that there used to be a holy well, so probably not worth the effort unless you stumble across a copy at a yard sale for $2 or so!

It's a shame so many holy wells have fallen out of use and their location either built over or long forgotten! For me, the holy wells are a major attraction in Cornwall - and they really give an extra little buzz out of the good walking in the area.

The Brydewell holy well is 1.8 miles to the West of Saints Well, on the site that is now the Talland Bay Hotel. Originally a Domesday Book manor house site, referred to as Portatlant, other names through the centuries have included Portalla and Killigarth. The exact location of the holy well is not known, but it is within 1/2 a mile of that region.... who knows, you might stumble across it if you've got a good Ordnance Survey Map and a hunch - or maybe you can turn your hand to some dowsing one afternoon. Some local clues might be to start near Bridals Lane or Bridles Farm.

St Nun's Holy Well at Pelynt, 3 miles north of Polperro.   St. Nun's Well Pelynt England Blight A print from Crosses in Cornwall
St Nun's Holy Well at Pelynt, 3 miles north of Polperro. St. Nun's Well Pelynt England Blight A print from Crosses in Cornwall | Source

Holy Wells at Pelynt

Just three miles north of Polperro is the creekside hamlet of Pelynt, where there are still two holy wells remaining; the third is more elusive.

In 1858 Blight visited many ancient and sacred sites in Cornwall, including holy wells; Blight drew and described hundreds of these ancient structures. These were then compiled into a book called "Crosses in Cornwall!.

An original page, just one page, from this Victorian book would now cost you about $15-20/£10-25, but they do sometimes appear in Amazon and on ebay:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)