Sancreed Holy Well

Sancreed Holy Well and Cloutie TreeSancreed is a scattered village on high ground in the beautiful Penwith area west of Penzance. The village is named for an early Celtic saint naned Creden, or Credan, who probably founded a religious community near here. Certainly the circular shape of the churchyard and the presence of 5 Celtic crosses suggest a religious settlement.Creden was a follower of St Petroc, and became a swineherd in repentance for accidentally killing his father.A short distance above the well itself is a small, ruined chapel, or baptistry. The chapel is probably medieval, made of granite, with a doorway in the south side of a rectangular layout. The walls are of rubble, and stand at most 1 metre high. It is smaller than the chapel at Madron, but similar in design. Traditions die hard in this part of the world, and so it is at Sancreed; a small tree beside the well is decorated with hundreds of 'clouties', or small strips of coloured cloth. The tradition dates back to pagan times, and says that if an ill person hangs a cloutie at a holy well, and either bathes in the water or drinks it, then as the cloutie disintegrates the illness will pass.

Sancreed, Penzance TR20 8QT

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