Arthurian England Part 8: Sacred Springs and Holy Wells (Part 2)

The altar at the ruins of St. Madron Chapel

The altar at the ruins of St. Madron Chapel

In my last post, I took you to two of the four sacred springs/holy wells we visited on my June trip to England. Today, we’ll explore the other two:

St. Madron’s Well

The baptistery where the spring surfaces at Madron. Until the 18th century, it was the only source of water for Madron and Penzence.

The baptistery where the spring surfaces at Madron. Until the 18th century, it was the only source of water for Madron and Penzance.

This lovely spring is one we visited after Tintagel. There is a sign at the entrance which says, “Don’t change the site. Let the site change you.” I know it is meant to stop people from taking things, leaving things or defacing property, but the sign really resonated with me. And it is a place that will change you.

The hawthorns that smelled so lovely

The hawthorn that smelled so lovely

This one had a much shorter walk from the road, compared to others. We were surrounded on both sides by wildflowers and hawthorn, which gave off a scent similar to amoretto.

The chapel itself is built over an old pagan site and only part of it remains. Someone had left a beautiful wreath of flowers on the altar. You could also see where the stream, which was dry the day we were there, flowed into a basin-like area that later became a baptistery. While I was disappointed that the sacred spring was dry, nearby, another spring came to the surface and people had left an array of ribbons to honor the spirit of the spring.

The where the energy felt like it was going to pull me back in time. The "gateway stones" in the foreground.

The where the energy felt like it was going to pull me back in time. The “gateway stones” in the foreground.

The area behind the chapel held a special kind of energy for me. There were two large stones that seemed to me like a gateway to another world. Standing there with them, I could totally understand how the stone in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander caused her main character to go back in time. These had a similar, strange energy to them. That is where I chose to leave my ribbon.

Jamie admiring the tall, ancient trees.

Jamie admiring the tall, ancient trees.

On the way out, we walked a different route through a stand of ancient trees. I can’t even begin to  describe how tall they were. I’ve never been to the redwoods in California, but I had an experience of awe looking up into these trees that I’d imagine is similar. They creaked and popped in the wind in a very ghostly way. I could have listened to it for hours. (I actually took video of them in case I use them in a future novel.)

Sancreed

Sancreed Holy Well

Sancreed Holy Well

This Cornish holy site is much like many of the others I’ve described, with the path lined with flowers and hawthorn. It also had a rocky, mossy area watched over by pines and oaks that looks exactly like I pictured the Beltane bower in my first book. I tried to get pictures, but none of them do its beauty justice.

One of the ancient Celtic crosses, rare for both its age and the fact that there's a crucifix on one side.

One of the ancient Celtic crosses, rare for both its age and the fact that there’s a crucifix on one side.

Behind the chapel ruins is a Celtic cross which is a modern replica of the older ones in the church graveyard. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down how old it is. There is also a beautiful glade with a rope and tire swing, which Tres and I had fun playing on. On the way out, we toured the graveyard of the modern church, which boasts two ancient Hiberno-Saxon Celtic crosses.

That’s it for the holy wells. Next week we’ll start on standing stones and stone circles, so stay tuned!

What do you think about these two sacred wells? Have you been there? Would you want to go?

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Arthurian England Part 8: Sacred Springs and Holy Wells (Part 2)

Comments are closed.