MDE1066 - Parracombe Well northwest of Holwell Castle (Monument)


A natural spring described as a holy well, but with no accompanying structure.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 6689 4467. Holy Well (NR). [1] "Holy and Notable Wells of Devon", a tentative but well documented list, gives the Ordnance Survey as the sole authority for Parracombe well [2]. An ooze rather than a flowing spring with no evidence of any basin or former structure. There seems to be no independent local tradition though a former holy well in the area is implicit in the name Holwell used for the Castle and the local estate in the early 19th Century (vide Lysons "Hist of Devon" 1822). [3-5] Jones refers to a holy well, not dedicated to St Helen, with a burial place which is dedicated to Helen, at Parracombe. However, Parracombe Church was dedicated to Petrock. N.B. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map refers to St Petrock's Church as St Helen's Church. St Thomas' Well (MDE1031)is 175 metres northeast of the site and Lady's Well (MDE20142) is 340 metres to the southeast; either could also be the well referred to here. [6-8] Site of holy well shown on 25 inch 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map as a small circle with a straight possible water course running northnortheast to the River Heddon. [7]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <2> Serial: Devonshire Association. 1862 -. Devonshire Association reports and transactions. Volume 89 (1957), "Holy and Notable Wells of Devon", 214 (Miss T Brown).
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Rev. J.F. Chanter, rector of Parracombe.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Object Name Book reference . Rev. ONB Devon V1.7. 1905. 21.
  • <5>XY Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 18 September 1972. [Mapped feature: #46107 ]
  • <6> Serial: Society for Landscape Studies. 1979-2019. Landscape History. Volume 8 (1986), "Holy Wells and the Cult of St Helen", 62 (G Jones).
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. 1999-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 22 May 2019.



Grid reference SS 6689 4467 (point)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2083
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/17
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20143
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE24
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 34739

Record last edited

Dec 10 2019 9:11AM


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