St Guron’s Wellhouse and Well, Bodmin, Cornwall
St Guron’s well house stands in the grounds of St Petroc’s parish church in Bodmin, Cornwall. The well is in the churchyard walls and the water flows clear and continually. The fact two saints’ names are mentioned points back to the history of this important site.
Initially St Guron founded a prayer cell on the site which is now St Petroc’s church. However, Petroc already having established a community in Padstow was led by an angel inland to Bodmin. Guron handed over his prayer site to Petroc and travelled south to continue as a hermit at Gorran Haven. Meanwhile Petroc gathered a community around him which became an important monastery in Celtic times, training monks and releasing them to share the gospel. It was one of the largest at the time, hence Bodmin, meaning the town of the monks. Sadly nothing remains of the Celtic monastery except the holy well and the church built on the same land. However, it does mean worship and prayers honouring Jesus have been happening here for over 1500 years. Amazing!
We visited on a rather grisly December day. The Christmas tree festival was in full swing in the main church making it very hard to engage quietly in prayer. However, we had a look at the reliquary containing St Petroc’s bones but don’t really hold much importance to such traditions, other than a bit of curiosity.
Instead we wandered out to see the well house and well. St Guron’s wellhouse is a granite structure in the churchyard, sadly locked, so we couldn’t see inside.
The spring water is channelled underground to emerge on the churchyard boundary at what is now a major busy road roundabout.
Nevertheless the site is still impressive. The water gushes out of granite runnels sloshing into various troughs and even emerging from two gargoyle heads, and it’s well maintained. I found I could easily block out the traffic noise and stepping down in to the well enclosure found I was worshipping Jesus. It was a joyous, spontaneous expression and I enjoyed lingering in this special place, albeit it quite public.