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St. Agnes Beacon



Women can be cruel. But you expect better from a saint.
There lived then in that part of the country a famous Wrath or Giant, by name Bolster, of that ilk. He got hold of the saint [Saint Agnes], and obliged her to gather up the stones on his domain; she carried them in three apron-fulls to the top of the hill, and made with them three great heaps, from which the hill is now called, sometime Carne Breanich, sometimes St. Agnes' Beacon.

At last this Giant or Wrath, attempted to seduce her; she pretended to yield, provided he would fill a hole which she showed him with his blood: he agreed to this, not knowing that the hole opened into the sea; she thus cunningly bled him to death, and then tumbled him over the cliff. This they still call the Wrath's Hole. It is on the top of the cliff, not far from St. Agnes' chapel and well; and, enlarging as it goes downward, opens into a cave fretted-in by the sea, and, from the nature of the stone, streaked all over with bright red streaks like blood.

After this she lived some time here, and then died, having first built her chapel and her well. The water of this well is excellent; and the pavement, they tell you, is coloured with her own blood, and the more you rub it, the more it shows, = such being, indeed, the nature of the stone.

She likewise left the mark of her foot on a rock, not far from it, still called St. Agnes' foot, which they tell you will fit a foot of any size; and indeed it is large enough to do so. These monkish stories caused great resort here in former days, and many cures are pretended to have been done by the water of this well, so blest by her miraculous blood." Polwhele's History of Cornwall, i, 176-7
Found in the 'Poetical Works of Robert Southey' v1, 1843 - on Google Books.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th April 2005ce
Edited 18th October 2007ce

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