Linkinhorne Holy Well and Church
Location: Holy Well: OS map SX319 732
Linkinhorne is a hamlet of three farms, a pub and a scattering of cottages on the edge of Bodmin Moor. Time feels as though it has stood still here and it's a joy to hear the birdsong and feel the hush in the air. We knew there was a holy well here as a friend had taken us there several years ago but it was difficult to find and across a large field. We went the long way and the wrong way, initially. We followed the edge of a field, down towards the valley, passing the remains of an old water wheel and what might have been a millhouse to do with the wheel. This could initially be mistaken for the well, as it's a similar stone built construction but it's clearly old industrial remains. Following the water downstream, passing badger setts and bogs, bramble thickets and clambering over willow trunks, we finally spied the well house in a green glade.
It's such a striking contrast to the rural surroundings and really quite surreal. A small stone built house, covering the spring and well, it sits in boggy ground with the water continually trickling out from the well house. There was once a baptismal pool here and we remember seeing it on our first visit but this time it was mid summer and the undergrowth was up and we couldn't access it. Even in summer waterproof footwear is advised.
The well is dedicated to St Melor (there are other optional spellings, Mylor, Melar, Meloir, Meler or Milorus. This is not unusual when most was an oral rather than written tradition with no standardised spelling.) It's said he was a son of Melianus, the Duke of Cornwall and was martyred in 411AD by beheading. However, legend goes that his uncle Rivoldus killed his father for the throne and was going to kill Melor but instead mutilated him by cutting off his right hand and left foot. These were replaced with a silver hand and bronze foot which miraculously grew as the child grew. He was sent to a remote monastery to be educated and by the age of 14 his artificial limbs worked as though they were natural limbs. However, his uncle Rivoldus was infuriated and had Melor killed. It's said he touched the decapitated head and died three days later himself! However, this is the stuff of hagiography and nothing really is known for certain of this man who lived 1700 years ago!
The well is in a stunningly pretty setting alongside a stream at the bottom of a steeply sloping field. We sang 'Spring up oh well' Numbers 21:7 and prayed for holiness to spring up, for the peace of Jesus to remain in this place and be experienced by any who visit, for the Light of the World to be glorified. As we were walking away from the well I looked back and laughed. A very happy angel was perched on the roof of the well house smiling and waving at me. I wave back and walked on, happy.
We went back to where we'd parked the easy way and this is the route we would recommend anyone visiting. From Linkinhorne take the road to Bowdra. Coming from Upton Cross this is just before the pub and church. Look for field openings and you want to take the second gate. (It's best to park by the church). If there's stock in the field please be respectful and any dogs must be on a lead. Even better, get the landowner's permission to visit the well. Go through the gate, turn immediately right and follow the field boundary, all the way down the hill to the stream at the bottom. As you go down the steep part of the field near the stream you will see a random fence post in the ground and this seems to be a marker to the still hidden well house. Keep going and you will swiftly see the well off to your left. Enjoy.
Whilst in Linkinhorne we also visited the beautiful church which was open. This is a much grander church than Southill yet it still exudes the presence of God. Once inside it was totally silent. No sound penetrated from outside and all I could hear was the rushing of my own pulse in my ears. It took a bit of getting used to as we are not often in the presence of silence but once I'd relaxed I was able to embrace the peace of God and pray.
I became aware of an angel kneeling at the altar who didn't engage with us whilst we were there. As I sat praying silently I then saw huge white wings gently flapping. They filled the whole of the church aisle. At first I assumed I was watching angel's wings but before long realised this wasn't the case at all. They were the wings of a white dove (representing the Holy Spirit) and they were creating a gently wind which in turn was blowing embers into flames. The Holy Spirit then began to speak to me. 'I haven't forgotten these places. I haven't forgotten these sites, nor the people who lived and prayed here. They dedicated this land to me and it is holy, set apart for Me and My Kingdom glory.'
As these words are being spoken in my mind's eye I'm watching the flame which is now a column of fire from which little ripples are spreading out, like when a fuse is lit and the flame chases along it. The fire was spreading out from this ancient holy site. There may be few in number now in the congregation of the church but there's an abundance of prayers from generations of Christians and God is answering with the release of His fire, perhaps even the anointing and fire which St Melor carried and his martyred blood is crying out before the throne of God. Perhaps.
I wonder what you will experience of God when you visit! It will be different from me. Go with the expectation of worshipping Jesus and who knows what will happen. It's not a matter of seeking angels, or visions such as I get; it's about lifting up and honouring the King of Kings, Jesus and if His Holy Spirit chooses to reveal something further then that's a beautiful bonus.