Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Trezance Holy Well and chapel enclosure

A Scheduled Monument in Cardinham, Cornwall

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 50.4945 / 50°29'40"N

Longitude: -4.6453 / 4°38'42"W

OS Eastings: 212474.829104

OS Northings: 69414.975306

OS Grid: SX124694

Mapcode National: GBR N6.L6LR

Mapcode Global: FRA 175R.649

Entry Name: Trezance Holy Well and chapel enclosure

Scheduled Date: 9 January 1957

Last Amended: 18 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018494

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31826

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Cardinham

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Cardynham

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a medieval holy well with an enclosure containing the
site of a chapel at Trezance, on the south west edge of Bodmin Moor.
The holy well survives as a small granite structure built into the bank on the
southern edge of the enclosure. The well house measures 2.03m east-west by
1.85m high. The facade is constructed of large blocks of granite forming a
wall to either side of the entrance which is a simple retangular doorway with
two iron hinges on the east side, originally holding a wooden door. The large,
rectangular well chamber is constructed of large granite blocks. The walls are
approximately 0.68m thick and the well chamber measures 2.07m north-south by
1.66m east-west. The roof is flat and consists of large slabs of granite. The
uneven granite floor of the well chamber forms the well basin where the water
varies in depth from 0.05m to 0.22m. Water seeps out through the well entrance
to join a nearby stream. The well has never been known to run dry.
The holy well at Trezance is one of the largest in Cornwall and was an
important site of pilgrimage in the medieval period. Up to the mid-19th
century water was taken from the well to be used in baptisms.
The rectangular enclosure above the well contains the site of the chapel. This
enclosure survives as a stone and earth bank enclosing an area approximately
30m east-west by 15m north-south, which has been levelled into the hillside to
form a level platform. To the north, east and west it survives as a low bank.
To the south, it forms a substantial bank approximately 2m high as the ground
slopes away downhill and the bank has been built up. Substantial remains of
the chapel were still standing in the early 19th century, after which
stone was reused as building stone in the farmhouse and outbuildings at
Trezance and at another farm nearby. By the late 19th century the chapel had
been demolished and the site planted with trees.
The post and wire fence around the chapel enclosure, the pipe taking water
from the well and the metalled drive to the north of the enclosure are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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

Trezance Holy Well and its associated chapel enclosure survive well. Though
the chapel itself has been demolished, its site within the enclosure is known.
The well is one of the largest in Cornwall and was an important site in the
medieval period. Until the mid-19th century water from the well was still
being used for baptisms.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Quiller Couch, L, Quiller Couch, M, Ancient and Holy Wells of Cornwall, (1894)
Consulted July 1996, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN No. 1536,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SX 06/16; Pathfinder Series 1347
Source Date: 1989

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.