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Dupath Holy Well chapel
Dupath Farm, Dupath, Callington, Cornwall
associated engineer
Anon
date  circa 1510
era  Tudor  |  category  Building  |  reference  SX374693
The small stone chapel that houses Dupath Holy Well is the largest well building in Cornwall. It was built around 1510 by the Augustinian Canons of St Germans Priory, which is some 12km to the south, and they owned it until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538.
The chapel is constructed of dressed granite blocks and, unusually, the roof is of granite too. The roof consists of overlapping moorstone blocks, trapezoidal in section, that fit tightly together without mortar. The weight of the roof is supported by a stone arch inside the chapel at its mid-point, as well as by the walls. There are small turret-shaped vertical stones at each corner of the building and a bellcote-like steeple rises over the entrance in the west wall, although there is no bell. There is a single window in the east wall.
There may once have been an altar in the chapel, as it was used as a baptistery and oratory. Spring water enters under the west doorway and runs through a channel to a shallow stone trough beneath the east window. The basin is long enough for total immersion and the water was said to cure whooping cough. The spring was revered for its healing properties long before it was housed in a chapel, and this may have been the site of a pre-Christian shrine.
During the 19th century, the building was rediscovered and restored by a local historian and clergyman, Reverend H. M. Rice, after many years of abandonment. In 1936 the well was bought for £100 by Mr A. de C. Glubb of Liskeard from the landowner Mr J. Hicks. Later it passed to the ownership of the Office of Works, now English Heritage.
The well building is a Grade 1 listed scheduled monument, with free public access, though located on farmland. English Heritage still owns it and it is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
“Cornwall Strange But True” by Joan Rendell
Sutton Publishing Limited, Stroud, 2007
“Cornwall’s Archaeological Heritage” by Nicholas Johnson and Peter Rose
Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Twelveheads Press, Truro, 1990
www.bath.ac.uk
www.englishheritage.org.uk
www.waymarking.com
Location

Dupath Holy Well chapel