For anything to survive over 4,000 years of continuous agricultural disturbance, and still have a story to tell, is quite a feat. Yet, lounging unobtrusively in the corner of a field in Duloe, is an impressive and seriously interesting Cornish stone circle, at least that old and still in good voice.
We traced the course of a hedge, removed in Victorian times, which formerly bisected the circle. John found five circular lines of force outside the structure, while Annie found three inside, together with three water lines entering the site, and two leaving. I traced the energy lines around the stones and nearly disappeared down a strong spiral in the middle of the circle. There were also two ley lines present, one of which is reputed to align with The Hurlers on Bodmin Moor, while the other points straight at the war memorial (clearly post 1945!) situated on the village’s only traffic island. It is a moot point as to whether this was an intentional, intuitive or coincidental alignment.
Although there was some disagreement about how many stones there may have been originally, those that had been re-erected during the middle of the 19th century seemed to have been relocated faithfully - with the exception of one, which appeared to be half a metre away from the convergence of the energy lines it was presumably intended to mark, or concentrate. It was interesting that this latter stone seemed far too warm for a cold, damp and windy Cornish Sunday afternoon – and this was not the first time that the Tamar Dowsers had encountered unexplained hot-spots on standing stones.
Ruth and Annie investigated the ‘chakras’ of some of the stones, while most of us tried to establish the age of the construction of the circle. Jill felt around 3100bc to be the date, while my dating hard-drive was stuck firmly at 2300bc. Even the use of Allan’s handsome, handmade, heavyweight rods couldn’t shift that particular dowser’s block. Needless to say, neither of these dates agreed with the official information board - but then, they were presumably working without dowsing assistance.
As the drizzle picked up pace, we opted to move on to the next target and - in what passes for a consensus with the TDs - we decided to walk to St. Cuby’s Well. It was a good job really, as the Well is about as inaccessible as it’s possible to get at a road-side location.
At the end of the path at Duloe city-limits, we studied the OS map using Val’s magnifying glass. However, before we could misinterpret the document, Graham had the wit to use his rods for their intended purpose - and led the group down a busy, pathless road - straight to St. Cuby’s Well.
Buried into the hillside and cloaked in vegetation, thousands must zoom past this spot in their cars and not even be aware of this hidden morsel of Cornish culture.
Despite being shrouded in laurel from behind and obscured by knotweed from the road, the well ‘chapel’ is an attractive, largely unmortared structure with little benches in the porch and, formerly, a stone font (now sadly removed to the church to save it from the wanton damage of current times) emblazoned with dolphins and gryphons, inside - a feature which, according to the history leaflet of the church, was already considered to be ancient when St. Cuby started using it in the 6th century.
We traced the crossing water lines and the female energy line traversing the site - and the busy road. For all its simplicity, and the continual presence of emissions from passing vehicles, this felt like a special place.
On the way back, we stopped off to survey Duloe church, also dedicated to St Cuby. The heavily-buttressed ancient tower was resplendent with energy and water lines, but the atmosphere of the much-altered, but well-cared-for main church building seemed a little flat. The energy lines present had little relevance to the architecture, or vice versa.
Interestingly in the new graveyard extension, where just two headstones nestle under the wall, looking as if they are sheltering from the prevailing sou’westerlies, someone had decided to fill up the unallocated area of grass by planting a floral spiral. Sadly, there was no earth energy present in the spiral, but it just goes to show how the attraction of these elemental symbols lives on, despite the changing social veneer.
Some of us also stopped off at the Holy Well in the next village, that of St Keyne.
It shares with St. Cuby’s Well the roadside location and the Victorian restoration, but there the similarity ends. This is a well-loved (unintentional pun!!) and much-visited site, in a little sunken wild flower garden, with clear, drinkable water and even a night-light for the pilgrims.
Again the crossing water lines and the female energy line were clearly evident.
Cheryl Straffon, in her 1998 book In Search of Cornwall’s Holy Wells mentions the former presence of oak, ash, elm and willow trees around this well, indicating its pre-Christian origins. I can only agree with her conclusion that this is ‘still a lovely and interesting place’.
Even in less-than-perfect weather conditions, every trip out with the Tamar Dowsers seems to turn up the unexpected and the unexplained. This was no exception.