St Morwenstow, Morwenstow, Cornwall
Morwenstow, a tiny hamlet on the north Cornish coast near Bude, is named after one of King Brychan’s daughters, Morwenna. It’s thought her original hermitage was on the site of the existing parish church and there are two holy wells nearby. One, St John’s Well is just outside the graveyard and near the drive leading to the old vicarage. It’s signed by the National Trust with an easy path down to the well house. Sadly the door is padlocked shut so I couldn't get even a glimpse of the water. Nevertheless we stopped to pray and it was surprisingly easy. In the natural the surroundings are deliciously rural and unspoilt. We were there in spring and daffodils were in full bloom in the churchyard and fritillaries in the vicarage orchard. Rams grazed contentedly in the field adjoining. Yet the natural harmony was mirrored in the Spirit. There was a deep settling of God’s comforting peace. It settled on us like a blanket.
As we moved into the church to pray the peace once more enveloped. I found myself talking honestly with God about some difficult situations and whilst there was nothing dramatic, there was a settling inside that He had heard.
We walked from the church out onto the cliffs to see if we could any trace of St Morwenna’s holy well but everything I’d read said it’s no longer accessible. Sadly we found no trace of it but continued to Reverend Hawker’s Hut cut into the cliff side and looking out to sea. Built of driftwood and protected from the gales, it too was a wonderful place to pray and the peace of earlier continued to linger and comfort.
I talk about ‘thin places’ and this is one. The whole area surrounding the church seems steeped in prayer and the heaven open to our very heart cries.
A few days later after talking to someone ’in the know’ we again went searching for her well. We followed the path from the church where her hermitage would have been, down the river valley to the cliff edge. The OS map indicated the well was positioned on the cliff face here but it wasn’t! We had to hike up a very steep hill to reach the cliff tops where a tiny ‘path’ tips over the cliff face and leads to the well. I’m not fit enough to attempt such a dangerous path so I stayed at the top whilst my husband ventured down the cliff, often on his backside as it was so steep. I sat with our dog, praying for his safety.
He found the wellhouse dug into the cliff face. Sadly it now runs dry as the spring has burst out elsewhere on the cliff face. He stayed and prayed, worshipping as Christians have done over the centuries in this place. As we were trying to find the well a very strange phenomenon appeared in the sky. It wasn’t exactly a cloud but a ring, a halo, a portal? I’ve never seen anything like it before. Also, a little while later God surfaced a really deep wound in my heart which He wanted to heal and I didn’t know was there. Was this as a result of visiting a ‘thin place’ where God’s healing anointing still flows? I can’t say for certain but the timing would suggest this.