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HER Number:29702
Name:LOWER BOSCASWELL - Medieval holy well


The remains of a holy well thought to have been associated with a nearby chapel.

Grid Reference:SW 3767 3470
Parish:St Just, Penwith, Cornwall
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Protected Status

  • Conservation Area: BOSCASWELL

Other References/Statuses

  • OS No. (OS Quarter-sheet and OS No.): SW33SE 55
  • Primary Record No. (1985-2009): 29702
  • SMR No. (OS Quarter-sheet and SMR No.): SW33SE 6

Monument Type(s):

Full description

A holy well is marked at Lower Boscaswell on current OS maps (5). It was sketched by Blight in the 19th century (1) and was recorded by Henderson (b2). It appears to be associated with a chapel but there are now no traces of this (29702.01). Lane-Davies noted the well is protected by a cairn of stones and that the water could be seen (in c1970). According to local tradition, people used to take their heaviest washing and a boiler to the well. It was also noted for horse leeches, which were used medicinally for cattle and humans (4). Survey by the OS in 1960 revealed the well is a sub-rectangular enclosure formed of drystone walling approx 0.5m high. The north half of the enclosure consists of a level surface a little below ground level with steps from the north. The south part consists of a flight of stone steps leading downwards towards the east to a small semi-circular extension roofed with stone slabs (h1). By 1975 the well was in dilapidated condition. Its drystone wall had been robbed, some of the steps were missing and rubbish dumped into the chamber which had previously held water (h2).

Site history:
1: 1960. QUINNELL, NV / OS
2: 1975. FLETCHER, MJ / OS

<1> Blight, JT, 18--, Sketch Books, VOL I, 10 (Unpublished document). SCO2869.

<2> Henderson, C, 1914, Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities, VOL II, 98 (Unpublished document). SCO3503.

<3> RUSSELL, V, 1958, UNKNOWN TITLE, VOL II, 3, 101 (Unedited Source). SCO7694.

<4> Lane-Davies, A, 1970, Holy Wells of Cornwall, 92, PHOTOS 65-66 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3814.

<5> Ordnance Survey, 1970s, 1:10,000 OS Map (Cartographic materials). SCO4045.

<6> Meyrick, J, 1982, A Pilgrims Guide to the Holy Wells of Cornwall, 61-62 (Bibliographic reference). SCO3936.

<7> Russell, V, 1971, West Penwith Survey, 74 (Bibliographic reference). SCO4314.

<8> Cheryl Straffon, 1998, Fentynyow Kernow: In search of Cornwall's holy wells, 45 (Bibliographic reference). SCO21066.

Sources / Further Reading

[1]SCO2869 - Unpublished document: Blight, JT. 18--. Sketch Books. MS At Morrab Library. VOL I, 10.
[2]SCO3503 - Unpublished document: Henderson, C. 1914. Notebooks of Parochial Antiquities. MS At RIC. VOL II, 98.
[3]SCO7694 - Unedited Source: RUSSELL, V. 1958. UNKNOWN TITLE. PWCFC. VOL II, 3, 101.
[4]SCO3814 - Bibliographic reference: Lane-Davies, A. 1970. Holy Wells of Cornwall. 92, PHOTOS 65-66.
[5]SCO4045 - Cartographic materials: Ordnance Survey. 1970s. 1:10,000 OS Map.
[6]SCO3936 - Bibliographic reference: Meyrick, J. 1982. A Pilgrims Guide to the Holy Wells of Cornwall. 61-62.
[7]SCO4314 - Bibliographic reference: Russell, V. 1971. West Penwith Survey. 74.
[8]SCO21066 - Bibliographic reference: Cheryl Straffon. 1998. Fentynyow Kernow: In search of Cornwall's holy wells. 45.

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Related records

29702.01Parent of: LOWER BOSCASWELL - Medieval chapel (Monument)