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November 2005 - Trecarrell

Trecarrell Manor

Dowsing Across the Spectrum

on a Cornish Country Farm


This was our third visit to an ancient Manor this season. Yet every one has been different - and each has had its share of unexpected features for the visiting TDs. In the space of a couple of hours, the 15 of us had the chance to examine water, ley and earth energy phenomena, seriously old religious and secular buildings, tunnels and wells – and various entities, to complete the portfolio. It was like a dowsing course workshop in miniature.


We were welcomed onto the site by the current owners, Ruth and Neil Burden. Standing in the 12th Century Great Hall, Neil gave us an excellent potted history of the Manor - a history that he is continuing to unearth. Ruth had prepared appetising refreshments, so we were off to a cracking start!



A recently transcribed document from the Lambeth Palace Library, written around 1200, and called ‘De Omnibus’, has come to Neil’s attention. This describes, inter alia, the history of the then owners of Trecarrell over the previous century.


The recorded historical time-line of Trecarrell (formerly Trecarl or Trekarl) goes back beyond the Norman Conquest. The defeat of the Saxons and the arrival of King William resulted in a change of ownership for the Manor, with the former owners becoming tenants of their own land, but the subsequent return of much of the lands to the Trecarrell family seems to imply that, on balance, they were more in tune with the incomers from France than the incomers from Wessex. The two sieges of Royalist Trecarrell by Cromwell’s men took its toll, while the subsequent reconstruction and extension of the buildings changed the format to what we see today. While it has a rich architectural and social heritage, Trecarrell is still very much an operational farm, with a traditional mix of livestock.


The jewel in the crown of this diverse location is the free-standing chapel, which has miraculously (no pun intended) survived the various changes of ownership and attitude over the centuries. The foundations of the current building dowsed to around 850, although it is known to have been restored in the 1500s. The first (Celtic) Christian building on that floorplan dowsed to around 500 – 600, which would make it one of the earliest places of its type in the country. Before that, it had clearly been a pagan site, although there was no energetic evidence of a pre-Christian structure. Only the dedication to St. Mary Magdalene provides the most tentative of links to the reverence of the Green Goddess in an earlier age. All the usual earth energy and water lines were present in the chapel and several members found a strong energy current flowing up the aisle. For such a tiny building, barely 5 metres x 3, it was full of energy lines. Ruth and Neil have embarked on an ambitious programme of restoration and have just installed a tasteful modern stained glass window. The chapel felt as if it was on its way to reclaiming its role as an energy centre – the purpose of its original construction.


The other magnificent building on the site is the Great Hall. This vast room was used in a feature film a few years ago, and still contains the reproduction mediaeval gallery constructed as a set. The energy in the hall felt comfortable, if a little flat. However, there was a considerable network of water and energy lines, picking out the doors, windows and hearth. Several members detected three entities here - one male, two female - all seemingly content with their timeless lots. A less tranquil spirit, which had seriously spooked the security guard from the film company, was nowhere to be found. Indeed, the marked absence of negative energy generally, on a site with such a long and chequered history, was most surprising. Perhaps a sensitive had visited the farm previously and had carried out a thorough clearance.

The only ley line on the Manor appears to track through the hall, running parallel to the west wall and out through what are now farm outbuildings - but avoiding the Chapel. Perhaps there was another location formerly used for religious purposes on the estate, which we could look for another day?


Pete discovered previous domestic structures on the lawn; Ruth dowsed water flowing under the main house - and not very deep – while Gordon located part of an (escape?) tunnel in the orchard, and a possible pre-Christian burial site on higher ground to the West of the farm. Joan, Jenny and John investigated the route of another potential underground feature (bit small for a tunnel, but huge for a land drain) in the adjacent field.


We studied what looked to have been the last well to have been used for supplying water to the house. Its hewn granite superstructure, nestling in the encroaching undergrowth, indicated a much older structure than the more recently installed painted metal gates implied. However, we would have needed wet weather gear to search for the tell-tale lines bestowing Holy Well status - and anyway we needed to save something for a return trip!


Just up the hill from the Manor is the remains of a Neolithic settlement, indicating the length of time that this place has been attractive to human habitation. Only the intrepid Gordon visited this prehistoric site in the strengthening drizzle.


We were attended throughout by the farm’s affectionate (if a little muddy) working collie dogs - and the sight of a cluster of resident feral kittens lapping up newly produced milk was endearing even to a non-feline person like myself. The ceaseless chatter of a cloud of visiting starlings in the nearby trees added to the sense of a place full of life and living history.

Neil and Ruth made us very welcome and gave us a free reign to dowse and delve. They answered our questions - even the strange ones - with genuine courtesy and interest, and even provided tea and traditional saffron cake to keep us going. Many thanks indeed to them both – and also to John & Ruth for setting up the event.


Neil seemed willing to suffer us again at some point in the future, so I have logged it away for a potential revisit - hopefully for a day when it is a bit drier underfoot.


Nigel Twinn

Tamar Dowsers

November 2005

© TAMAR DOWSERS