What looks like a little chapel, but isn’t? Our latest Curiosity of the Week, which is a well with a difference. Dupath Well in Callington, Cornwall, is not only deceptive in its appearance, but also has an interesting history.
Dupath Well, known as a holy well, is a natural spring that has had a chapel-like structure built over it. Wells such as these were quite popular during the middle ages, but Dupath Well was built slightly later, in around 1510.
Holy Wells were popular in a time when folklore and legend were taken more seriously. The spring water at Dupath Well was believed to cure the sick, and in particular cure Whooping Cough. This small building would have been quite a good money spinner for the nearby priory of St Germans, as visitors would have left offerings at the well.
Dupath Well is larger and more ornate than many other holy wells in Cornwall, unusually decorated with a little steeple and turrets. Local legend has it that the well was decorated in this way to help the builder, Sir Colan, atone for his sins. Sir Colan, a knight, fought a duel against a wealthy gentlemen, to win the hand of a Saxon maiden. Sir Colan allegedly killed the gentleman and didn’t manage to marry his love.
Dupath Well is looked after by Cornwall Heritage Trust and is free to visit.
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