Trelill Holy Well – Cornwall’s first scheduled monument

Trelill Well sits in a quiet wooded valley that, at this time of year, is swathed in billows of cow parsley, campions and fox gloves.

This pretty well which was the first monument in Cornwall to be scheduled in 1922 (CO 1), was almost forgotten until quite recently. Dedicated to St Wendrona in 1423 it was known as Fenton Wendron and is typical of medieval structures of its type.

There are around 600 holy wells in the UK and surprisingly 200 of those can be found in Cornwall. Many of these ancient water sources have Christian associations but most have been sacred sites since pre-christian times. These venerated springs usually have interesting folk tales connected to them too.


Folklore and tall tales

According to tradition, it is bad luck to visit Trelill well without leaving a pin behind. A gift for the piskies apparently.

The other tale about this well involves some pesky wildlife. It is said that many moons ago the people of Wendron decided to build a new church. The building got underway and was nearing completion when one night a huge flock of crows descended. By morning the birds had removed nearly all the stones from the new church, except the porch, which then became the holy well.

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In recent years Trelill Well had fallen into serious disrepair and was in danger of collapse. But luckily the building, which is made of killas stone, was extensively restored by volunteers between 2011 and 2013. (Killas is a Cornish mining term for a metamorphic rock of sedimentary origin.)

Trelill is now a peaceful spot for a picnic, although watch your step, the ground is often marshy even in summer because of the rising spring, and the piskies would love to see you fall in!

Further reading

Figgy Dowdy’s Well – Carn Marth

or Venton Bebilbell – Cornwall’s Well of the Little People

or maybe Quenchwell Spring & a Pocket full of Nonsense.

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10 thoughts on “Trelill Holy Well – Cornwall’s first scheduled monument

  1. I thought about trying to get to this some years ago when I spotted it marked on an OS map. I was making lino-cuts around the theme of water and people. I chickened out and made one of St Ruan’s well over near Cadgwith instead. Maybe I will try to get to Trelill again. Thanks for this.

    1. Access us pretty easy just watch crossing that busy road! Then just follow the lane and there is a new fenced off footpath down the side of the field.

  2. Such a gentle walk along the verdant path through the woods lead by our quiet Elizabeth guiding us through its history. What grand idea for this troublesome time.

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