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News Archive > General > 'Beast' spotted at holy well

'Beast' spotted at holy well

By Natasha Swift 29th July 2015

'Beast' spotted at holy well

VOLUNTEERS seeking to restore a historic site in St Austell back to its former glory have been warned to look out for a “large black animal” that lives there.
“It’s not a dog, it’s not a cat,” was how Cornwall Councillor for Gover and St Austell town councillor, Sandra Heyward (pictured left), described the creature which she claims she has seen near Menacuddle Well.
Former town councillor Wendy Earl approached members of St Austell Town Council last week to propose clearing the “jungle” which is now covering the ancient site of baptistery just off Bodmin Road.
But Mrs Heyward warned councillors to be aware of the large black animal which lived at the site.
She told them: “It’s a very special place. It’s an important site and I welcome the work. But be careful clearing the trees as there is a large black animal. I have got to be careful what I say, living up there.  It is not a dog, it's not a cat. I have seen it.”
Built in the late 15th century, Menacuddle Well lay forgotten until one St Austell family brought it back to life.
Around 100 years ago Admiral Sir Charles John Graves Sawles, of the Penrice Estate, restored Menacuddle Well and bequeathed it to the people of St Austell in memory of his only son who was killed in action at Ypres in November 1914 at the age of 26.
The historic monument was sited in the St Austell Parish, but now lies behind Treverbyn Parish Council lines.
Mrs Earl said they had dishonoured the memory of the site by letting it become overgrown with weeds and explained her plan of action to councillors.
She said: “Menacuddle Well and the site was given to the St Austell parish 100 years ago in memory of an only son lost at Ypres, but look at it now, thoroughly overgrown and the glorious, mature trees largely hidden from view.
“How we dishonour that memory. Who would bother to give such a gift today?”
She said she had met with David Stevens who is the clerk of Treverbyn Parish Council and the proposed carrying out a one off clearance.
Mrs Earl asked councillors to contribute towards the proposal, telling them: “Three tree specialists I’ve taken around have all said “wow” to the rare, exceptional, mature trees to be found on the site and the huge potential for enhancing the whole area for public enjoyment.
“To further improve the wider area I have been in discussion with the brewery who own the land to the south down to Trenance Viaduct and Trenance Road and they area keen to open up their old footpath up to the well from the town.
“Menacuddle Well and Riverside is a unique historic site for our town. It is our history. It should be more widely known and enjoyed. It would provide major additional green space that we are so short of in our town and with the old riverside walk from Gover restored it would not only enhance our green credentials but also the health and wellbeing of our citizens.
“South West in Bloom would be thrilled, the scouts are keen to get involved and I have signed up the first friend of Menacuddle Well.”
She said she wanted to cover the proposal at the council’s meeting in September and urged councillors to visit the site during the holidays.
Mayor Brian Palmer said Mrs Heyward had “whetted” his appetite, adding: “It’s a fabulous site and is such an important part of the ancient history of St Austell. It’s one of the places where it all started and is very important to us.”

By Natasha Swift 29th July 2015

Peter W Marks 30th July 2015 16:20
As an ex-Mount Charles boy who after living in the Home Counties for many years emigrated to the USA twenty years ago, may I say how uplifting it is to read of someone who is prepared to do something to enhance life in St Austell.
Now my regret is that my wife and I having just returned Stateside after a month in the area did not take the opportunity to at least attempt to explore that area (black-beast not withstanding!).
Kudos to the two ladies mentioned and to the brewery, scouts and others involved.
Should we have the opportunity to return next year, Menacuddle Well will be on our ´to visit list´.
Simon Gratton 3rd August 2015 10:25
Perhaps the less specialist clearing work could be done by the community?
With the right advertising and co-ordination the people of St Austell could help bring the area back to life, whilst also raising much needed awareness the site.
Jane Fuchs 15th August 2015 11:15
That would be wonderful if it became a community project, something the whole town could be proud of.
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