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St. Clether

OS Grid ref:- SX 20 84

St Clether, Holy WellThe small and pretty village of St. Clether is situated on the eastern side of Bodmin Moor, and lies around eight miles (13 km) to the west of the town of Launceston. Known in Cornish as Sen Kleder, the village lies beside the River Inney.

The village church of St Clederus dates the from Norman era, but apart from its tower, it was rebuilt in 1865. The tower is built of granite and is of late medieval date; the font is Norman.

A short distance from the village church stands a holy well and chapel, situated in a moorland meadow in the beautiful valley of the River Inney. The well is the largest and reputed to be one of the best preserved in Cornwall, it is covered by a steep gable and is reputed to have been originally built in the fifth century by St. Cleder.

St Clether ChapelThe small austere chapel stands between the river and an outcrop of limestone rocks, it measures around 11 by 12 feet, with a basic three light window and altar at one end. The chapel and holy well are dedicated to Saint Cleder (or Clederus), a Welsh prince who left Wales and went to Cornwall where he became a hermit, the twelfth century 'Life of St. Nectan records that he was one of the twenty-four children of Saint Brychan, a Welsh saint and King of Brycheiniog in the fifth century.

Over the centuries the chapel has fallen into disrepair on a number of occasions, always to be eventually restored. Major work was carried out in the fifteenth century and again in 1900 when the Reverend Baring-Gould rebuilt the chapel from nothing more than a pile of stonework found covered by weeds and brambles.

A clear spring flows beneath the altar in the well-house and on into the adjoining baptistry chapel, beneath the great granite altar and near to the alcove that once held St Clether's bones. The water was once renowned for its miraculous healing qualities.

There are five stone Cornish crosses in the parish, three of these have public access and the others, can be seen from the minor road or public footpath. All wheel-headed wayside crosses, one stands by the road a short distance from Lower Basil Farm, another at a crossroads known as Cross Gates and the final one, New Park Cross is near Trevillians Gate.

Cornish Towns and Villages