North Petherwin Church and Holy Well, Cornwall
North Petherwin is a small village in North East Cornwall near the border with Devon. It's a hidden gem with the church central and the holy well situated a short walk away across fields. The church is dedicated to the Cornish Celtic saint Paternus. It is situated on a circular enclosure, a 'lan' which indicates the early Christian Celtic origin of a prayer community. There is some discussion as to who Paternus actually was but the consensus seems to be that he was a local Cornish man, the father of St Constantine. The church at South Petherwin is also dedicated to him.
Inside the church there are two small ancient crosses, one in the porch and one in the side chapel by the large ancient altar slab. This altar has five small crosses cut into it to consecrate it and it is certainly pre-reformation and probably belonged to the earliest church on this site, even perhaps the Celtic one. I decided to stop and pray here rather than in the main church as there was such a sense of holiness and God's presence. As soon as I settled I found it very easy to worship God here in song. Our dog was with us and as is often the way, she picked up on the presence of God and started joyfully participating. I was myself exalting Jesus, the Holy Lamb of God and proclaiming His unchanging nature; the same yesterday, today and forever. A weight of intercession descended and I found my prayers consisted of the Holy Spirit groanings. Sometimes I know what is being prayed about, on this occasion I didn't but just carried on until the prayer burden lifted. It feels like a very special place, a 'thin place' a holy place and one to revisit.
We decided to find the Holy Well and thankfully directions were good. The village honours and recognises its presence. You turn from the church and walk down the footpath to Barton Millenium Wood.
Cross through the stile and walk across the field to where there's a big gap in the hedge and a water container.
Turn right beyond the hedge and the well is immediately on your right tucked into the bank. It was restored in 1999 and has an iron barred gate but you can still see the water and well. Like in the church I settled to pray and once again a spirit of groaning intercession welled up in my spirit. I found myself decreeing FREEDOM for the angels to be released across Cornwall, Devon, Wales and France. As I continued in worship, birdsong erupted. This has happened at a number of wells and I'm beginning to recognise that creation does respond to the presence of God. More intercession followed as I prayed for this ancient well in the Spirit to reopen. There was a tangible, beautiful presence of God. It's a very special 'thin' place. Definitely worth visiting and revisiting.