Cadiho Well, 370m north west of Higher Kenneland


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016546

Date first listed: 27-Oct-1997

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cadiho Well, 370m north west of Higher Kenneland
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Torridge (District Authority)

Parish: Bradford

National Grid Reference: SS4113905299


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Holy wells are water sources with specifically Christian associations. The custom of venerating springs and wells as sacred sites is also known to have characterised pre-Christian religions in Britain and, although Christian wells have been identified from as early as the 6th century AD, it is clear that some holy wells originated as earlier sacred sites. The cult of holy wells continued throughout the medieval period. Its condemnation at the time of the Reformation (c.1540) ended new foundations but local reverence and folklore customs at existing holy wells often continued, in some cases to the present day. The holy wells sometimes functioned as sites for baptism but they were also revered for less tangible reasons, some of which may have had origins in pre- Christian customs, such as folklore beliefs in the healing powers of the water and its capacity to effect a desired outcome for future events. Associated rituals often evolved, usually requiring the donation of an object or coin to retain the 'sympathy' of the well for the person seeking its benefits. At their simplest, holy wells may be unelaborated natural springs with associated religious traditions. Structural additions may include lined well shafts or conduit heads on springs, often with a tank to gather the water at the surface. The roofing of walled enclosures to protect the water source and define the sacred area created well houses which may be simple, unadorned small structures closely encompassing the water source, or larger buildings, decorated in the prevailing architectural style and facilitating access with features such as steps to the water source and open areas with stone benching where visitors might shelter. At their most elaborate, chapels, and sometimes churches, may have been built over the well or adjacent well house. The number of holy wells is not known but estimates suggest at least 600 nationally. They provide important information on the nature of religious beliefs and practices and on the relationship between religion and the landscape during the medieval period.

Cadiho holy well survives comparatively well and there are architectural, archaeological and documentry records about the development and use of the site.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a holy well situated on the eastern side of the valley of a tributary to the River Torridge, in the grounds of the former Dunsland House, south east of Cookbury. The well lies directly south of the main drive to the house and to the east of a bridge across the stream. The monument survives as a square-shaped earth well, which is water filled, around which a stone and brick-built roofed structure has been constructed. The building measures 1.5m square. The walls are 0.4m thick and the doorway to the well is west-facing and measures 0.7m wide and 1.7m high. The well itself measures 0.7m square and is defined at the base of the door by a slab of slate placed on its edge and thus acting as a small dam. The well structure is built into the valley slope and has an internal corbelled roof, although from the outside this appears as a pitched slated roof which measures 2.3m high at its apex. The well reputedly marks the site where the first Cadiho owner of Dunsland killed the previous Saxon occupant.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28646

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS40NW20, (1987)

End of official listing