The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Alsia Holy Well

Sacred Well


'We know not if "this fount" is still regarded as a holy well; but many years ago we have often heard an aged lady, who was born and bred near Alsia, and was well acquainted with legendary lore and old customes of the district, say that in her younger days the Saint's Well of Alsia was almost as much frequented on the three first Wednesdays in May as the noted well of Chapel Uny. Mothers came from far and near with their weak and rickety children that they might be strengthened by being bathed in its waters. Moreover, the same old lady to whom we are beholdened for many of the incidents of the legend, Nancy Trenoweth (the fair daughter of the miller of Alsia), informed us that it was not unusual for these pilgrimages to be the occasion of a fight between the women of Alsia and the pilgrim mothers, when the good housewives caught the strangers dipping their precious babes into the enclosed part of the well, or the place from which the neighbours drew their drinking water.'

A cross formerly stood near this fountain, and its socketed pedestal was until lately to be seen.

The Alsia Well was also one of the wishing or divining sort. Of a summer's evening scores of maidens might be seen around it, eager for their turn to see what sweethearts would be united or parted, which they discovered by the fall of pebbles or pins. As the articles sank near or apart so their future was foretold; and the number of bubbles raised bespoke the number of years before the happy or unhappy issue could befall. Another method of consulting the spirit of the well was by floating bramble leaves on it. -- T.Q.C.
From 'Ancient and Holy Wells of Cornwall' by M and L Quiller-Couch (1894).

The initial quote is from William Bottrell's 'Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall' (1870).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
10th April 2012ce
Edited 11th April 2012ce

Comments (0)

You must be logged in to add a comment