Thursday, November 6, 2008



St Keyne was not "a fair lady who went round Cornwall doing good and cast a spell upon a well" as at least one website has written.

She was a Princess of the Christian family of King Brychan Brycheiniog of Brecon and aunt of St Cadoc who often visited her on the way back from Armorica (Northern France) and walked through Cornwall to return to his various monasteries. Keyne is thus closely linked with Gwent, her sister, Gwladys having married the pirate saint Gwynlliw and hence produced St Cadoc, who eventually became King after his father.The names Cadoc and Keyne are found together in a number of places and there is a langattock in sevral places in Cornwall, including Harlyn Bay.Statements in a mediaeval life of St Keyne, together with the names of places which commemorate here give us an idea of her life.She began by leaving Wales, a consecrated Virgin or nun after the manner of St Tecla and St Winifride and first went to the banks of the Severn where she founded a small settlemtn-possibly on the very site of the St Tecla's monastery in the small piece of land between which there are now the two Severn Bridges.She can be traced to Herefordshire and can be traced to Keynsham and she made numerous missionary journeys and is commemerated in St Martin in Looe and at St Keyne itself between Looe and Liskeard.

Her Well is fascinating

This is abut half a mile from the church on the hill, which was probably the site of the original monastery. The well is in fine condition. It has been restored by a local charity and flowing water runs from the spring into the little pool, which has a traditional cover on it, shaped like a small house.It is often adorned with flowers, remembering this fine woman who spread the news of Jesus Christ at a very dark and dangerous time.Because it is a Holy Well, used for baptisms and no doubt a water source as well, it is almost a magical place and a lot of legends have been made up about her. She is said to have been a kind lady wandering round in COrnwall doing good for people and then casting a spell on the waters, that whoever drinks of it, if it is a newly married couple, one will have mastery of the other.A quaint tale, but the truth is so much more amazing.

A Welsh princess from the Holiest family in Wales, descended from the line of Joseph of Arimathea is a consecrated virgin, travelling with a priest and various other religious to dark parts of Cornwall-as in my blog and podcast about St Materiana of Tintagel. She comes to rest in this part of Cornwall and sanctifies her own monastery doing good works of healing and praying the Divine Office, the prayer of the Church. She is visited by a gread Bishop, Saint Cadoc who made seven trips to Rome in the time of seven Popes and created a beautiful community, where love and care was paramount, and of such goodness, that a thousand years after her passing on to the Lord, she is still remembered with a smile, and people still place flowers on her well. She probably lies in the churchyard of the present church, though her relic may have been destroyed at the 'Reformation.' Isn't that a more amazing story. St Keynes Feast Day is on October 8th!

We came upon this prettyplace at the bottom of a hill where she lady's church (though reincarnated in a Norman re-incarnation stood) and almost gasped at it's real atmosphere and beauty. A place of peace and prayer and definately off the beaten track.


Al Iguana said...

I'm all depressed now. That's what St Sannan's Well looked like before they took down the "house" and replaced it with that wicker thing that will blow down in 3 years. Gah, no respect, some people :?

Al Iguana said...

I love this:

Mary in Monmouth said...

Glad you do Al. It was lovely, but a bit off the beaten track really from her church up the hill. I wonder why they did that to St Sannan;s well? Sorry you were depressed but LOVE the well. Perhaps you should start a campaign to restore the 'house'as it was?
Glad you liked it, anyway.
Perhaps you can find out who did it?
Eve x

Al Iguana said...

I know who did it, the local council's Environmental Division.

(I'm not really depressed, I just find it sad)