The pretty village of Veryan sits on The Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall, UK. It's picturesque church, village pond and square make it look like a quintessential English village. At each entry point to the village are quaint round houses, unique to this village.
The name Veryan could be derived from the Celtic saint Buryan and there's certainly a likelihood that this was a Celtic hermitage site, perhaps that of Buryan, although there's no substantial evidence and some would say the norman church was the first established here. Whilst the church is dedicated to St Symphorian, this may well have been a name change when monks from France were associated with the church and who came from the area where St Symphorian was venerated and renamed the earlier church. There is the head of a Celtic cross embedded in the fabric of the porch and the shaft of one remaining in the churchyard near the war memorial.
We started by visiting the church entering the churchyard over an old slate bridge. The site is raised, again suggesting it could be a 'lan', a holy enclosure. It's beautifully cared for and entering the church there's a still, rich, presence of God. It was a peaceful place to pray for a while. We then went looking for the holy well. It proved remarkably easy as it's situated in the village square adjacent to the primary school. However, it is in a sad and neglected condition, virtually inaccessible due to parked cars and enclosed in iron railings. The well is dry and filled with leaf litter and rubbish. I didn't feel any desire to stay and pray, not least as it was playtime and there were children happily playing adjacent to the well in the school yard.
But, I've learnt to look beyond the natural and what I see with my physical eyes. I would rather check with the Holy Spirit whether He wants me to do anything than just dismiss a forgotten place. This well isn't even mentioned in all the information about the village, yet it's centrally located and at one time would have held huge significance in the village.
So, we lingered a while, perambulating the well enclosure, trying to block out the noise of shrieking but happy children. So imagine my surprise as I stand in front of the well and suddenly smell a beautiful aroma of gorse (it smells like sweet coconut and grows wild in Cornwall). It's a heady, sweet smell but looking around there were no gorse bushes anywhere near. I walked around the enclosure again thinking I'd perhaps imagined it but when I came back around to the front of the well again, there was the gorse smell only stronger. I called my husband over and asked if he could smell it. He could too and yet we couldn't smell it anywhere except right in front of the well. I've experienced this once before when visiting Mannacan Church on The Lizard, the same distinct smell of gorse as I approached the porch of the church. Now, we have five physical senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. These are mirrored by spiritual senses and I do sometimes 'smell' in the Spirit. I smell the fragrances of Jesus and the stench of demons. So, smelling this beautiful fragrance I thought I should take note.
As soon as I stopped and really took the well seriously I realised there was a very bored angel sitting on top of the well house dangling his legs but clearly delighted to see us. It made me smile. Without drawing attention to ourselves we quietly prayed that whatever God wanted to release from the heritage of this place, it would once again come forth and bear fruit, that the 'anointing' from previous generations where God had been honoured here, would once more resonate through the area. And that was it. Nothing more was prayed but just a lovely assurance that God was still aware of Veryan and prayers from previous generations were still being answered for our current generation. Where angels have been assigned to guard a holy place, God still has a purpose for it.