Liskeard, St. Keyne Well
published F. Frith & Co.
Keyne was a 5th-century holy woman and hermitess who said to have traveled widely through what is now South Wales and Cornwall.
Keyne was one of the 12 daughters of the Welsh king King Brychan Brycheiniog (Bin what is now South Wales (A different source, De Situ Brecheniauc, says that he actually had 24 daughters, all of whom were saints). Although she was a great beauty and received many offers of marriage, Keyne took a vow of virginity and pursued a religious life (hence her Welsh name, Cain Wyry, or Keyne the Maiden). Her vita reports that she traveled widely, and is said to have founded several oratories, including Llangeinor in mid Glamorgan, Llangunnor and Llangain in Dyfed, and Rockfield (Llangennon) in Runston, Gwent. Eventually she is said to have crossed the Severn into Cornwall, where she resided as a hermitess for many years. The village of St Keyne in Cornwall, is named after her, and is the site of a church and a holy well which also take her name.
The holy well of Saint Keyne is located near St. Keyne’s Church, and currently features a well building made of dressed granite. The original housing was built in the 16th century, but was rebuilt in the 1936 after the adjoining lane was widened. The plaque next to the well describes the spell which Saint Keyne cast upon the water of the well. The plaque reads:
“The legend of Saint Keyne Well. Saint Keyne was a princess who lived about 600 AD. She laid on the waters of this well a spell thus described by Richard Carew in 1602 AD—
‘The quality that man or wife
Whom chance or choice attaines
First of this sacred stream to drinke
Thereby the mastery gains.'”