St Cuby's Holy Well, Duloe, Cornwall
Location: OS SX241 579 St Cuby's Well, Duloe, Cornwall
St Cuby's Holy Well is a remarkable find, hidden on the edge of a busy B road, in a leafy glen. To visit it we discovered it's much easier to walk in through Duloe Manor, rather than try to gain access from the main road where there is no parking and it's too dangerous. We asked at reception and they were happy for us to park and walk through the grounds to the well house. This does entail a bit of a scramble over a low barbed wire fence and down a bank but it's the best way in.
Whilst locating the well driving on the B road it's best to look out for the sign for Cornwall Orchard and directly opposite is the brown sign indicating the site of St Cuby's well. If you continue past with the orchards on your right, you soon come to the entrance to Duloe Manor on your left.
The well itself is astonishing. There's no other word really. It's in a granite well house shrouded by large rhododendrum shrubs, providing leafy shade. The outer chamber has a stone seat where you can sit and look through to the inner chamber which is like a manmade cave or grotto. It helps to have a good torch as there is no natural light penetrating this far in. The well itself sits inside the inner chamber, is large and has steps leading into it. The water is continually moving very slowly as water permeates inside and it is clear and fresh.
We sat lingering in the outer chamber worshipping joyfully and adoring Jesus. It was once again easy to worship in this place and there was a holy stillness. Two angels were guarding the door of the outer chamber, one blue on the left side looking out and the other red on the right side.
The inner chamber is compelling. You go through a narrow entrance of rocky wall and the chamber is in front of you. It feels mysterious, holy, secret, reverent, as though many Christians have been here before you and many faithfilled people have passed through praying. It's a lovely place to linger, to wait in God's presence, and to pray.
An ancient font was once located in the well house and this has now been moved to the nearby church in Duloe.
St Cuby was the son of St Selevan and born in Callington, Cornwall, making him actually a Cornish saint. His father was a powerful chieftan and one legend suggests he was grandfather to King Arthur. His mother was called Wenna and was the sister of Nonna, the mother of St David the patron saint of Wales. Cuby became a monk, living in a cell for a while, next to the well at Tregony on the Roseland in Cornwall. However, this well is also dedicated to him . His name and those of his family vary depending on the Cornish or Welsh versions. He travelled extensively and in early life went to Rome and Jerusalem on pilgrimage. He also travelled throughout Cornwall preaching the gospel and establishing churches at Duloe (this one), Tregony, Cubert and Landulph.
However he is also known in Wales, founding churches and a monastery in Holyhead, Anglesy where he was buried. He died on 8.11.555AD.
Versions vary as to his life and this is why it is part of hagiography, a mix of legend and fact. Afterall it is 1500 years ago and much of the tradition for passing on information was oral rather than written.