Saturday, October 22, 2016

Carn Euny: The Holy Well and The Secret Artist

It was pouring rain. Larry wanted to go back to the car and that would have been the sensible thing to do. But the path ahead looked so intriguing, and there was supposed to be an ancient holy well a little distance away. My sweet man gave in and agreed to continue walking.

Our reward was this: a path leading into an enchanted forest, or so it seemed. Moss on branches, blue hydrangeas overhanging, the sense that there could easily be little people watching from under rocks and leaves.

 And there, to the right of the path, was St. Euny's Well.

Ribbons and strips of cloth (called clouties) hang from the trees branches. These are left as part of healing rituals performed by visitors to the well. We did not need to do a healing ritual. Just seeing this haunting place was healing enough. And I have to agree with the Cornish Witchcraft site, these additions can overwhelm the peace and otherwordliness of these places.

Wikipedia has the following quote about this well:
West of the settlement are a pair of ancient wells. One is mentioned in The Legendary Lore of the Holy Wells of England[7] of 1893 where William Borlase[8] states (writing in the 1750s):
"I happened luckily to be at this well upon the last day of the year, on which, according to vulgar opinion, it exerts its principal and most salutary powers. Two women were here, who came from a neighbouring parish, and were busily employed in bathing a child. They both assured me that people who had a mind to receive any benefit from St. Euny's Well must come and wash upon the three first Wednesdays in May. Children suffering from mesenteric disease[9] should be dipped three times in Chapel Uny widderschynnes, and widderschynnes dragged three times round the well."
Widdershynnes, of course, means counter-clockwise, so they were dipped three times in the well, as the dipper calked counter-clockwise, and then dragged around it as well. Poor little babies. If they survived that treatment they were probably pretty hardy anyway.

There is a grate over the well now, to protect people from falling in or desecrating it. We did not look to see if this could be removed.

By now it was really raining hard. Up ahead I saw a building. "We can stand in the overhang here to get out of the rain," I said. But what was this? An OPEN sign? Way out here??

Why, yes it was. We had stumbled onto an artist's studio, accessible, apparently, only from the way we had come.

This turned out to be the studio of Hester Dennett, and it was filled was the most beautiful pieces of art.

 We walked around carefully, trying not to track up the floors. Such beautiful works, well beyond our means but what a privilege to see them in this remote, quiet place.

A nearby house seemed occupied, but no one came out to the studio/gallery while we were there. A sign asked that we "turn out the lights and pull the door to" when we left. What an amazing place.
I later learned that this is part of the Open StudioCornwall series.

By now Larry was done. He headed back and I reluctantly followed. He really is the more practical of the two of us. I meekly followed. After all he had humored me long enough. And we were both soaked where our jackets didn't cover our legs.

This is his "Are you coming?" look. Yes, wet through and cold, I was right behind him.

And back out the twisting lane we went, through farmyards and hedges, to find a place to get some hot tea and coffee.

Next post: Land's End, and beyond.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Love today's story. Thank you Sue.

Granny Sue said...

Joy, I cannot believe how much I had to write about, but as I was going through the photos I realized that there were so many special places, people and experiences I wanted to capture in words. A few more posts, and I think I'll be done!

Beth Brown said...

Beautiful, just beautiful! Your stories inspire me to save to take a similar trip. Thank you so much for sharing -


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