'Halge Wylle'.


The Parish of Halwill has a name that recalls the religious beliefs of Medieval and Dark Age Devonian Indeed,

 when first used, 'Halwill' would have been written 'Halig' or 'Halge Wylle'   Reading it out loud, we might guess that 'wylle' is the ancient word for 'well';but 'halig'—the early version of our word 'holy'—needs a specialised dictionary. So what you might ask went on at a Holy Well in north-central Devon?

Here we have a spring which had sacred or miraculous associations for the people. As the name was coined in Old English rather than Celtic we must suppose it dates from the Christian centuries when the Anglo-Saxons, the early English, were settling in Devon.

But Christian holy wells were often associated with Pagan shrines and even Neolithic monuments,


suggesting that they had not only Pagan but even Stone Age origins.

So though given an English name in the Dark ages, the spring at Halwill might have already been revered for centuries by the time the first person was muttering their blessings over it.

Today the site of the original Holy Well has been lost, though it is believed by many to be sited close to the Holsworthy road near to Chapel Farm. If anyone knows more, or has evidence of a precise location, please let us know.

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