Ancient Monuments

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Holy well called St Julian's Well

A Scheduled Monument in Maker-with-Rame, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3489 / 50°20'56"N

Longitude: -4.1848 / 4°11'5"W

OS Eastings: 244652.59783

OS Northings: 52171.154729

OS Grid: SX446521

Mapcode National: GBR NT.WJWH

Mapcode Global: FRA 2833.ZCP

Entry Name: Holy well called St Julian's Well

Scheduled Date: 11 June 1969

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004344

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 646

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Maker-with-Rame

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Maker

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a holy well, situated on a coastal headland between the Hamoaze and Plymouth Sound in Mount Edgcumbe Country Park. The holy well survives as a small rectangular well house measuring approximately 3m long by 2m wide internally. It has a pointed arched doorway and steeply-pitched corbelled stone roof with gable ends. The entrance is to the west and the well itself is sunk into the east end floor. There is a lancet-shaped niche in the east wall and an ogee headed aumbry in the south wall. The interior was originally covered with a thin coating of plaster and fragments of red and green glazed floor tiles have been found. The well house was restored in about 1890 and is probably of 14th to 15th century date. It is also known as St Leonard's Well.

The holy well lies within the registered park of Mount Edgcumbe (1030) and is Listed Grade II* (61878).

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-437654

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Holy wells are water sources with specifically Christian associations. The custom of venerating springs and wells as sacred sites is also known to have characterised pre-Christian religions in Britain and, although Christian wells have been identified from as early as the 6th century AD, it is clear that some holy wells originated as earlier sacred sites. The cult of holy wells continued throughout the medieval period. Its condemnation at the time of the Reformation (c.1540) ended new foundations but local reverence and folklore customs at existing holy wells often continued. The holy wells sometimes functioned as sites for baptism but they were also revered for less tangible reasons, some of which may have had origins in pre- Christian customs, such as folklore beliefs in the healing powers of the water and its capacity to affect a desired outcome for future events. Structures may include lined well shafts or conduit heads on springs, often with a tank to gather the water at the surface. The roofing of walled enclosures to protect the water source and define the sacred area created well houses which may be simple, unadorned small structures closely encompassing the water source, or larger buildings, decorated in the prevailing architectural style and facilitating access with features such as steps to the water source and open areas with stone benching where visitors might shelter The number of holy wells is not known but estimates suggest at least 600 nationally. Of these, over 200 are recorded from Cornwall, providing one of the highest densities of surviving examples. They provide important information on the nature of religious beliefs and practices and on the relationship between religion and the landscape during the medieval period. They holy well called St Julian's Well survives well and retains many features of note.

Source: Historic England

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