Ancient Monuments

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Cadiho Well, 370m north west of Higher Kenneland

A Scheduled Monument in Bradford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8254 / 50°49'31"N

Longitude: -4.2569 / 4°15'24"W

OS Eastings: 241138.682573

OS Northings: 105298.871319

OS Grid: SS411052

Mapcode National: GBR KG.X9DS

Mapcode Global: FRA 16ZX.FD5

Entry Name: Cadiho Well, 370m north west of Higher Kenneland

Scheduled Date: 27 October 1997

Last Amended: 16 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016546

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28646

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bradford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bradford with Cookbury

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a holy well situated on the eastern side of the valley
of a tributary to the River Torridge, in the grounds of the former Dunsland
House, south east of Cookbury. The well lies directly south of the main drive
to the house and to the east of a bridge across the stream.
The monument survives as a square-shaped earth well, which is water filled,
around which a stone and brick-built roofed structure has been constructed.
The building measures 1.5m square. The walls are 0.4m thick and the doorway to
the well is west-facing and measures 0.7m wide and 1.7m high. The well itself
measures 0.7m square and is defined at the base of the door by a slab of slate
placed on its edge and thus acting as a small dam. The well structure is built
into the valley slope and has an internal corbelled roof, although from the
outside this appears as a pitched slated roof which measures 2.3m high at its
The well reputedly marks the site where the first Cadiho owner of Dunsland
killed the previous Saxon occupant.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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, in some cases to the present
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 effect a desired outcome for future events. Associated
rituals often evolved, usually requiring the donation of an object or coin to
retain the 'sympathy' of the well for the person seeking its benefits.
At their simplest, holy wells may be unelaborated natural springs with
associated religious traditions. Structural additions 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. At their most elaborate, chapels, and sometimes
churches, may have been built over the well or adjacent well house. The number
of holy wells is not known but estimates suggest at least 600 nationally. They
provide important information on the nature of religious beliefs and practices
and on the relationship between religion and the landscape during the medieval

Cadiho holy well survives comparatively well and there are architectural,
archaeological and documentry records about the development and use of the

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS40NW20, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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