Lewannick Church and Holy Well
LEWANNICK church and holy well
We drove through Lewannick randomly on our way elsewhere.
We had to go through the village and I was instantly struck that the church was right in the centre and on a raised circular enclosure. It was clear that this was an ancient ‘lan’, (an early Celtic enclosure usually associated with a Christian hermitage), circular in nature and probably of Celtic origin. So we decided to return the next day and investigate.
We entered the church by the north door and there is an ogham stone in the courtyard nearby. This is a stone which has markings on it that are an ancient Celtic language from Ireland which started in the third century A.D. There was another ogham stone within the church that was really interesting and also had a latin inscription.
However, apart from being of historical interest, I didn’t find it easy to pray in the church. Instead we went and sat on the steps by the north entrance in the churchyard. This has been verified as the location of the Christian Celtic community. I found it was easier to pray sitting on the steps and settled in, to sense God’s peace. All I wanted to do was exalt God in that place, lifting up his name as holy.
We knew that nearby there was a holy well and it has been suggested that this was the original settlement of Lewannick . So we set off to find it. This wasn’t an easy task but we parked up by a green sunken lane that was overgrown with nettles and walked down, being careful to avoid obstacles and detritus.
The narrow green lane leads downhill a short way and it’s clearly very ancient. We soon came to a T-junction and what appeared to be a stream bed coming in from the left. It was totally dry as we were in the height of summer andhad a heat wave.
There was what appeared to be a capped well on the left but then my husband spotted something a bit further down the river bed that looked more promising so we went to explore. Having found our way through a gate and under an electric fence we came in to what looks like an enclosure. It was a flattened compound between hedges and a level grass marshy area. In the centre was the well. It’s called Blaunders Well and doesn’t have a well house. It is enclosed by three slabs of stone and a low stone wall. There is also a kneeling stone so that you can kneel to pray. The well is full of water, fresh and clear. It flows out forming a beautiful little stream running through the enclosure.
It is suggested that the original settlement of Lewannick was here and possibly a prayer oratory although there isn’t any definite evidence for this anymore. Lewannick may be a derivation of lan and Wenic or Gwenuc but this can’t be confirmed. I was a bit intrigued by some straight cut markings in the stone by the kneeling stone. They were remarkably similar to the markings on the Ogham stone that I’d seen in the church and it did make me wonder if these too were ogham writings but I haven’t been able to verify this yet. If they were they would be from between the 3rd and 11th century so very old.
We put some stones down to step across the marshy grass to reach the well. It’s a very pretty well and the water is clear and looks pure. I knelt to pray using the kneeling stone. I was immediately overwhelmed by the presence of God and almost wanted to cry. I knew that I had stepped into something very precious spiritually.
I went into a vision and saw a red mist coming down, enveloping me. It felt like I was kneeling within the robes of a red angel. There was such a strong presence of God. And this led me to exalt Jesus as the Lamb of God, singing about the blood of Jesus, focusing on salvation and the washing away of sin by his blood. I kept being aware that he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. I carried on praying for the release of whatever deposit was laid in the spirit realm at this place to be released once more across Cornwall. It felt a very ‘out of time’, ancient place where modern life just hasn’t penetrated. It would be easy to imagine a hermit living here, praying, ministering to people and loving God.