St Piran's Well, Perranwell, Cornwall, UK
St Piran's holy well at Perranwell is a delightful place to visit. Unusually, it is clearly signposted and well maintained, albeit in a private garden. However, the landowners allow access via the public footpath and clearly tend the well. It has a more modern well house but the ancient well is enclosed within and is beautified naturally by greenery and liverwort plants.
We parked by Perranaworthal church which is tucked down a tiny lane behind the Norway Inn on the Truro to Falmouth Road. Time seems to have stood still in this spot. From the church is a very short walk down an ancient green lane, entered via an unusual turnstile which presumably prevented livestock from entering. The lane leads downhill towards the creek. Before long there's a clear brown sign pointing to the path to the well. It's in the garden of a house called Bryher and the granite steps though steep and a bit slippery in autumn were readily accessed. There's a sub tropical garden of gunnera and palms leading to the well, which is housed in a granite well house, with natural stone behind.
The water is fed from above filtering through the rocks and was flowing freely and fast when we visited. It was clear and the iron deposits clearly visible on the surrounding rocks. The well was known as a place where mothers brought their ailing children to bathe in the water. Perhaps the high mineral content was helpful in healing certain conditions. Perhaps it was also that St Piran prayed for the sick here and a healing anointing remains.
Little is known of Piran's involvement. He is greatly honoured in Cornwall and is the patron saint, reputedly discovering tin which made the county wealthy, supplying the world at one time. The flag of Cornwall, a white cross on a black background is said to represent Piran heating a rock and the molten tin pouring out.
The fact that there are several hamlets here referring to St Piran suggests he did either visit or live for a while in the area. Perranwell, Perranwell Station, Perranaworthal all point to his presence.
We did pray at the well but it was hard to relax totally with the windows of the neighbouring house facing the well but it felt peaceful and a delightful place.