St Crida, Creed, Cornwall
St Crida's church is in the hamlet of Creed, near Grampound in Cornwall. I was excited to stumble across this church, as it's the first church in Cornwall where I can remember the main sign acknowledging this is a Celtic Christian site.
St Crida established her nunnery in 450AD on this land. She was the youngest daughter of King Mark (Conomorous in Cornish) who ruled over mid Cornwall from 515 to 560AD. He had a castle at Castle Dore near Golant and St Sampson's settlement. He is associated with Arthurian legends as having interaction with Tristan and Iseult a the nearby St Sampson Church in Golant.
Crida persuaded her father to give her the land by the River Fal to establish her nunnery. Just like the River Fowey, many travellers set sail from the River Fal having crossed central Cornwall to avoid sailing the dangerous waters around Land's End. Often they were refugees fleeing the invading Saxons. Many were traders or Christians on mission like herself. They then travelled on to France and the continent. This was her mission field and weary travellers found rest and sanctuary at the nunnery which was situated on the River Fal, probably at the top of its most navigable point and opposite the busy Roman fort at Golden on the opposite shore.
As the information board in the church says, 'Legend tells us that St Crida told her nuns to choose a different place to pray each day in the belief that as they prayed Jesus would come and stand beside them to hear their prayers. Thus where His feet touched the ground the land became holy. She wanted them to pray in different places so that all the land would become sanctified.' Perhaps it sounds 'twee' to you, a bit fanciful or perhaps she had a revelation which we've lost.
Anyway, I was delighted to find a library about the Celtic Christians in the church and borrowed two books I wasn't familiar with. Celtic quiet days and retreats are still held here and people are encouraged to pilgrimage and pray in St Crida's church. The long tradition of the Celtic Christians is still being kept alive in this out of the way church. The churchyard is a riot of primroses in the spring and there are copious benches encouraging you to linger in God's presence and enjoy the wonderful scenery.
In the church there was a beautiful presence, a deep peace of God, a serenity that went far deeper than the walls. The place felt saturated in faith filled prayers and a real sanctuary. I wasn't sure if I'd pray here initially, not feeling anything in particular until I read the sentence about St Crida encouraging her nuns to pray in different places each day because Jesus would come and listen. Immediately and without any warning, a strong spirit of intercession fell on me to pray. The Holy Spirit just took over and I found myself weeping and crying out to God for the land of Cornwall, for the salvation of the people, for them to know how much He loves and cares about them and so it went on and on. I'm not one who easily cries and it's only on odd occasions that I weep in intercession. This was a whole different experience and it indicated to me the anointing which rests in this place which was initiated by St Crida, is still in place. It is a holy 'set apart' place, a place of prayer, of sanctuary, of salvation, of encounter with the living God. I will be returning often, just as the visitor is encouraged to do. Perhaps you too will visit with an open heart and meet with God in this place.