product_data

Holy Wells: Cornwall

Phil Cope
ISBN-13: 
9781854115287
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
0
No votes yet
£20.00

Sacred wells have played an important part in the culture and landscape of Cornwall for several millennia, and continue to do so. Holy Wells: Cornwall is a collection of beautiful colour photographs of forty-five of the most important and pre-eminent wells in the county, accompanied by an informative text about the history and legends associated with them, and a number of poems celebrating them by Robert Southey, Arthur Quiller Couch and others.

Like Wales and Ireland, Cornwall was an influential centre for the Celtic church and pagan places of worship were taken over by Christianity. Many Celtic saints – St Piran, St Euny, St Nonna, St David, St Mary, St Cuby, St Anne, St Sampson – are referenced in the names of churches and wells which stand in towns and villages, alone on moorland next to stone circles and iron age settlements, hidden in valleys and even in sea caves. Phil Cope takes the reader on a journey of discovery through densely wooded terrain, past bare tors, into ancient churches and along almost forgotten road and tracks, to lead us to special places of wonder and enrichment.

Holy Wells: Cornwall includes over 150 photographs, together with a map, bibliography and index.

 

User Reviews

Anonymous's picture

Review by FfynhonnauCymru

0
No votes yet

In 2008, Phil Cope, who is a member of the Welsh Wells Society, published an excellent book, Holy Wells: Wales (220 pages long), which was printed by Seren of Bridgend. This is a book which would adorn any bookshelf and in it there are some outstanding photographs of some of the most important wells with map references for each one. The price of the book is £20. The photographs are truly amazing and Phil has managed to visit some wells that nobody else has had the privilege to do so. The photographs are a very important record of the past which should be treasured for the future. Now Phil had journeyed through Cornwall and in his book, Holy Wells: Cornwall (250 pages price £20), he describes the locations of the wells and offers a number of photographs of each one.

It is interesting to compare the architecture of these wells with those that we have here in Wales. There are those which only have plain stones surrounding them but some which, more often than not, boast hewn stones over the source. It is evident that the Cornish people respect and care for their Holy Wells much better than we do and take advantage of them to attract visitors and raise the wells' status. Our Celtic cousins in Ireland do the same thing. Isn't it time that we in Wales woke up to the importance and wealth of hour heritage before it's too late?

www.FfynhonnauCymru.org.uk

15/03/2011 - 10:55
Anonymous's picture

Review from Western Morning News

0
No votes yet

With enthusiasm and learning, Phil takes the reader on a journey of discovery to these scattered sites, pushing through dense woodland, wading into heather and bracken, climbing over bare tors, peeping into ancient churches and striding along out-of-the-way tracks and paths. Holy Wells Cornwall is full of similarly enlightening tales, but despite this the book is a pleasure even without reading a single word. With page after page of evocative images, it is a feast for anyone interested in Cornwall's history. However, enjoyable though this may be, after an hour in the armchair it's time to reach for coat and boots and head off on a quest. My nearest holy well, though like many parts of Cornwall there are several contenders, is St Melor's in the parish of Linkinhorne. Sitting at the bottom of a steep field, the spring is difficult to find and to access. Built from blocks of cut granite, the present structure dates from the 15th century, though a place of worship existed there long before that. With a small niche to hold the good saint's effigy or relic, it is tempting to imagine the many pilgrims who passed this way over the generations. St Melor's holy well is a peaceful place, untroubled by modern life, with only the sounds of nature... until Phil Cope turns up to shatter the illusion. this is devon.co.uk Feb 2011

17/02/2011 - 14:24
Anonymous's picture

Review from Tavistock Times

0
No votes yet

These half hidden and half-forgotten landmarks are the subject of a new book by Phil Cope, a photographic journey of Holy Wells from the wild, windswept Penwith peninsula to the sheer, Atlantic defying cliff-face at Morwenstow in North Cornwall. In between, at the delightfully named Menacuddle, near St Austell, is St Guidel Well where, in the early 19th century, according to a contemporary report, 'weakly children were carried thither to be bathed, ulcers have also been washed in its sacres water, and people, in seasons of sickness, have been recommended by the neighbouring matrons to drink of its salubrious fluid'. But it is not just enhancing and enticing wells that make this book a gem - Phil Cope is rightly praised as being 'a genius with a camera'. Photographs, such as that taken inside the well chapel at St Clether, near Launceston have a timeless beauty that evoke the mystical past of these fascinating structures. Colin Brent, Tavistock Times, November 2010

12/11/2010 - 10:14

Comments

Anonymous's picture

Review from The Sunday Times

0
No votes yet

“Like the city he grew up in, Liam Carson’s memoir of life in Belfast winds like a tangled web of streets, dreams, cultures and philosophies, where every page, pavement and street corner offer another dab of colour to a fascinating picture… Carson’s natural push against his parents in the 1970s coincided with the devastating change in Belfast’s complexion. Its nascent punk scene offered a soundtrack to life in a war zone. While Carson read new-wave science fiction and moved to London, his mother, Mary, drifted away from a language partly hijacked by republican violence. His father, though, retreated to his books. It seems he was living, writes Carson, ‘just off reality.’

“In time, the detached universe William created offered his son profound truths that defined the rest of his life. His father often spoke of tearmann—the idea of the Irish language as sanctuary where the language’s power to shape culture could be celebrated and explored. It is a daunting idea, but Carson handles his journey to accepting the ideas with great skill, successfully conveying the concept of the Irish language as a living, breathing organism without alienating the simplest, most compelling episodes of family life that make this book so moving in parts.

“His description of his mother’s Alzheimer’s disease and eventual death are blessed with clarity, gentleness and a heart-wrenching sadness. His memories of shared moments with his father are beautifully rendered… Carson’s greatest achievement is recycling a complex mix of emotions and ideas on language into a deeply moving read.”

Michael Foley, The Sunday Times

04/07/2012 - 15:28
Anonymous's picture

Review from The Sunday Telegraph

0
No votes yet

"A tender, contemplative memoir examining Carson's upbringing in a happy but complex Irish-speaking household during the Troubles; it eulogises not only his parents but the Irish language itself"

The Sunday Telegraph 2012

17/12/2012 - 10:43
Anonymous's picture

Call Mother a Lonely Field New Welsh Review

0
No votes yet

"Amy Mc Cauley discovers language is sanctuary in this memoir nominated for the Ondaaje Prize"

Liam Carson’s Call Mother a Lonely Field is a memoir of a very strange kind. Although it features some of the standard characteristics of memoir: family narrative, the odd humorous anecdote, photographs, etc, the book is much more than the sum of its parts, chiefly because Carson turns the usual chronological format inside out. Time here is fluid; like memory, it doesn’t simply represent the accumulation of events in a sequential manner. Carson instead puts forward an alternative view – one popularised by JW Dunne - which argues that ‘all time is eternally present. In other words, the past, present and future coexist.’ Carson goes on to suggest that ‘we exist on two levels, both inside and outside time.’ This idea is absolutely central: it relates not simply to the philosophical atmosphere but to the structure of the text, which embodies the very concept it proposes.
The book is also about our experience of identity. Carson comes across as a protean character – a man who reads, dreams and wanders. At various stages of his life he adopts different selves, each of which he rejects. But his relationship to these selves is alive with the spirit of enquiry. Carson is careful to resist the monomania of autobiography, however. This is firstly (and most importantly) a paean to his parents, and secondly a love letter to the Irish language.
Carson, who was born in 1962 in Mooreland, part of the Falls area of Belfast, writes lyrically about his parents, ‘the Ma’ and ‘the Da’. He says:

My parents were Falls people, with all that they entailed. Catholic people. Nationalist people. They belonged to a particular world with particular values […] In the ritual of the mass they were bound to their neighbours, to the world, to God. In the incense, the statues, the Stations of the Cross, the rosary, the stained glass, the Latin, they reaches a from of communion and community that held up their daily lives.

He goes on to say that ‘One afternoon [my Da] told me if he’d been in Iran, he would have been a devout Muslim. Perhaps it was not so important to be Catholic as it was to believe.’
‘The Da’, for me, is the most fascinating character. His singular strength is underlined by a story Carson hears only after his father’s death. When the Da joins the IRA in the 1940s, he soon realises he will have to kill. Unable to square this with his strong Christian faith, the Da leaves, only to find himself arrested and jailed. When he is released from prison he returns to work (as a postman) he finds his pay has been docked for his time spent inside. Carson writes, ‘He took a court case, logically arguing that since his employer and his gaoler were one and the same – the Royal Mail and His Majesty’s Prison Service, in other words, the King - then it followed what his employer was the cause of his absence.’ The Da wins the case and sets a legal precedent.
Call Mother a Lonely Field is full of these unrecorded, ‘unofficial’ histories. Personal family mythologies – songs, stories, poems and dreams – stand shoulder to shoulder with violent reality of Belfast’s ‘Troubles’ from the 1970s onwards. Structurally. I is like a home, each chapter is a different room witits own distinctive atmosphere and pressure, while the presence of dreams is a brave and valuable addition. They represent the hidden strand – the inner supports – of a person’s experience, and it is Carson’s unification of physical, human, linguistic and psychic geographies which make this a real stand-out read. If I had to pick a weakness I would say the ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ section of the book (detailing Carson’s love of comic books) felt slightly out of place, but otherwise I found it quite gripping. Most powerful for me was Carson’s suggestion that language is an environment we inhabit - a sanctuary which can be used to represent the various visible and invisible environments we occupy both physically and in our imaginary lives. The hidden places of memory, childhood, identity and dreams therefore become achievement is the meshing of the public and private worlds so often kept separate by the official records of history.

Amy McCauley for New Welsh Review

04/09/2013 - 11:45
Please Login or register to post a comment or review