Saint Anne


the mother of Mary and the maternal grandmother of Jesus.

Mary's mother is not named in the canonical gospels. In writing, Anne's name and that of her husband Joachim come only from New Testament apocrypha, of which the Gospel of James (written perhaps around 150) seems to be the earliest that mentions them. 

holy and healing wells , the folklore , history and mystery of the ancient water supplies – 

St Anne in the Wood, Brislington by a medieval shrine and holy well , who these days, when ancient pilgrimages to Canterbury and Walsingham retain their renown, remembers St Anne in the Wood And yet, even in the 19th century, ‘this spot is but little known even to many long resident in the neighbouring city’  The neighbouring city is Bristol which, by the 20th century, has swallowed up the village of Brislington in which lay this once famous medieval chapel and well.

The site is in a bend of the River Avon , bounded to the south by the Bristol-to-Bath railway planned by Brunel , and until 1957 travellers from North of the river crossed over by ferry. A stream has carved itself a rocky valley in what is now known as St Anne’s Park before emptying itself into the Avon.Nowadays the situation is rather sad. The railings around the park are dilapidated, the stone steps down the sides of the valley overgrown. Dutch elm disease has ravaged 800 trees in what is marked on maps as ‘Nature’s Garden’, and bikes have mashed up the ground in St Anne’s Wood. In late summer 1985 some of the once grassy banks had been re-seeded but rubbish littered the stream.
In the late 15th century the scene must have been different. Four hundred years ago the newly victorious Henry VII visited the chapel of St Anne in the Wood. The contemporary William Wyrcestre, a native of Bristol, described it as 19 by 5 ‘ virgas ’ in size, with nineteen buttresses. Six thick square candles, rather improbably described as eighty feet tall (though only costing £5 each), were provided just before each Whitsuntide by the guilds of weavers and cordwainers and placed before the altar. There were thirteen other candles before an image of St Anne.
The chapel may have been built by the Barons de la Warr who held the nearby manor of Brislington from the 12th to the 16th century. Six hundred years ago (1378-82) pressure was exerted by the two English Archbishops to include the feast of St Anne on the 26th July in the Roman calendar, though official recognition took another two centuries. St Anne was said to be the mother of the Virgin Mary, though she may have been invented in the 2nd century in imitation of the mother of Samuel (who had the same name) [2]. Her cult was brought to the West in the Dark Ages, first by her relics being carried to Apt, near Avignon in France, and then by her special veneration in Brittany, at Notre Dame d’Auray.
In fact, a 20th century writer noted that ‘Recently (before the 1960s) Brittany onion boys came and said a prayer’ at St Anne in the Wood [3]. This would be rather remarkable in view of the fact that in 1682 a pottery had been erected amongst the ruins of the chapel when only a century before St Anne in the Wood was ‘a highly popular place of pilgrimage’ [4]. It appears to have been under the guardianship of Keynsham Abbey, but after the Dissolution of the monasteries no-one seems to have cared for it.
St Anne was the patroness of sailors, ports and harbours, which explains the presence in the chapel of thirty-two model ships and boats, then worth about 20 shillings each, used for receiving offerings in the 15th century. Five silver ships had incense burned in them.
What precisely drew the pilgrims there I have not yet ascertained. Perhaps there was a medieval legend that brought the Virgin’s mother there, rather in the manner that Mary Magdalene went to Provence, or Joseph of Arimathea to Glastonbury. Or, more likely, a relic or statue.
Certainly a focus of attention must have been the well. Accounts before this century seem to ignore its presence. Ironically, it is all that remains above ground, but in a rather desperate state. There is a stone surround, but a modern roof has been built over so it looks like a twee wishing well. The council however have made offerings difficult by padlocking an iron cover over the top. Local vandals have found a way round that, and modern offerings are rather less reverential. The interior, though damp, has no visible water, so any attempts to wash sheep in it – a past practice – would come to grief. Railings surround the site but only give a token protection, there being no lock on the gate.
There are two priorities here, I think. One is further research on the well, chapel and history of the site, rather more than this superficial note has revealed. The other is the rehabilitation of this sacred site to a semblance of its former glory, by enlisting local official help, certainly, and perhaps by encouraging the foundation of a voluntary Friends of St Anne’s Well association or similar. If St Anne in the Wood was reputedly so famous in the Middle Ages, perhaps sacred even before that, then there must have been good reason. We might learn from the fate of its former guardian, Keynsham Abbey. In the 1960s its former site was obliterated by the building of a by-pass (Sic transit…). In the 1980s, bikers shatter St Anne’s peace and morons deposit unwanted rubbish. It cannot continue.

Brychan – father of keyna 

Listed in the Life of Saint Nectan are, by his wife, Gwladys:

Adwen, Canauc (Cynog), Cleder (Clether), Dilic (Illick), Endelient (Endelienta), Helie, Johannes (Sion), Iona, Juliana (Ilud), Kenhender (Cynidr), Keri (Curig), Mabon (Mabyn), Menfre (Menefrewy), Merewenne (Marwenna), Morewenna (Morwenna), Nectanus (Nectan), Tamalanc, Tedda (Tetha), Wencu (Gwencuff, Gwengustle, name of Saint Nennocha), Wenheden (Enoder), Wenna (Gwen), Wensent, Wynup (Gwenabwy) and Yse (Issey).

According to Robert Hunt, of theholy children that settled in Cornwall, we learn that the following gave their names to Cornish churches

Johannes at St Ive

Endelient at St Endellion

Menfre at St Minver

Tedda at St Teath

Mabon at St Mabyn

Merewenne at Marhamchurch

Wenna at St Wenn

Keyne at St Keyne

Yse at St Issey

Morewenna at Morwenstow

Cleder at St Clether

Keri at Egloskerry

Helie at Egloshayle

Adwen at Advent

Lanent at Lelant

Hanham Court once belonged to the monks of Keynsham Abbey.

Complete with fish ponds and dovecote, stately Hanham Court once belonged to the monks of Keynsham Abbey. Did a long tunnel under the river, as legend has it, once connect the two?Unfortunately for a good story there is no evidence that one ever existed. Historians think that there must have been some kind of house here, possibly a wooden structure, as far back as late Saxon times. The strangely named Earnulf de Hesding was named as the owner at the time of the Domesday survey. Yet another legendary story relates how John, the last of the Keynsham abbots, pronounced a curse on the property as he was thrown out by King Henry’s henchmen during the Reformation. Whether true or not,  Henry Creswicke, who bought the court in 1638, certainly had his share of troubles.

Although this wealthy merchant had a town house in Bristol’s Small Street, the country property remained in family hands for the next 200 years.

 Sir Henry, who was Bristol’s Mayor in 1660, was knighted by the newly restored monarch, King Charles II, for remaining loyal to him throughout the bitter  Civil War.

Despite this honour the family were frequently in dispute with their neighbours, the Newton’s of Barr’s Court, over manorial rights and boundary issues.

The ensuing lawsuits eventually led to a bitter hatred springing up between the two families.

Things came to a head in 1685 when the Duke of Monmouth and his rebel followers, who were defying the King’s troops and moving towards Bristol, camped

nearby. Sir Francis Creswicke, quite naturally, decided to ride out and see what was happening on his land.But after being spotted talking to the rebels by one of the Newton’s servants he was arrested and flung into Gloucester jail, somewhere he would remain for the next two years.
With his innocence finally proven (in fact by Lord Grey, one Monmouth’s men , King James II arrived to pardon him in person and share a roast deer under an oak tree by the church.
An acorn taken from that very tree, now long dead, has been planted in exactly the same spot.

In 1704 Sir Francis was in trouble again, this time for stabbing Queen Anne’s Attorney General after a quarrel, an act that put him back in prison for another nine years.

Aged 89 when he died in 1732, the old jailbird lies buried in Bitton church.
     In later years the court became so heavily mortgaged that it was lost to the Crewicke’s forever.
Finally, after marrying a Keynsham publican’s daughter, the very last member of the family went off to live in Canada.
Was there a curse on the court? Who knows.

Although the west wing and stately tower are Elizabethan the gargoyles that adorn it are medieval (reclaimed) and the pointed roof added in Victorian times. 
           The Arts and Crafts kitchen wing was added in about 1900 but the adjoining barn, complete with massive walls and buttressed tower, date back to Norman times.
The church, however, is 15th century.
Although the court is privately owned it’s possible to visit the beautifully restored gardens when they are open to the public during the summer months.

acceptance of Christianity

The acceptance of Christianity by Wessex

 The Frontier between Wessex and Dyvnaint The position of Dorset with regard to Dyvnaint .

Extent of the Roman Province of Dumnonia.

Permanence of the name, and late use of it.
688 to 710 a.d. The battle with Gerent of Dyvnaint. Influence of Aldhelm in averting war. Decisive check to Welsh, and advance of Wessex frontier. MrFreeman’s conjectures as to results. Founding of border fortress at Taunton . Trace of Keltic …Difference between wars with Dyvnaint and Welsh fighting on midland frontiers . Slow stages of Wessex advance, and length of time required for conquest of Dyvnaint. The result of the conversion of Wessex not altogether making for peace
Page xiii
The comparative readiness of Wessex owing to the war with Dyvnaint. Question
of pacts made with the invaders. Independence of the chiefs and their followers.
The lesson learnt at Wareham. Norse invaders classed with Danes by early …
Page 24
It severed the land communications between the Britons of the country north of
the Severn and those of Dyvnaint, and the campaigns against the Welsh from this time accordingly follow two lines. At the present time, apart from possible …
Page 25
the west, or to challenge the power of Dyvnaint. The northward advance was continued up the Severn valley in 584, Ceawlin taking many towns and much booty, but losing his brother Cutha at the battle of Fethanleag1. With this
expedition the …
Page 27
A new stage of the advance of Wessex commences from the days of Kenwealh, in which the kingdom of Dyvnaint comes into prominence. THE FRONTIER BETWEEN WESSEX AND DYVNAINT The territory CERDIC TO …

                      THE FRONTIER BETWEEN WESSEX AND DYVNAINT The territory in which for upwards of a century after the battle of Deorham the Britons of the south-west maintained their independence, comprised the ancient Roman …

              He was evidently quite aware that Dumnonia, or Dyvnaint, included Glastonbury in British times. It is evident then that a great part of the modern Somerset lay in Dumnonia. There would be no need to go further into this question but that, for the …

Up to the time of Alfred, at least, the ancient boundaries of Dyvnaint were of importance, and recognised for administrative military purposes1. Asser speaks
of the ” western part of Selwood,” meaning the whole territory lying to the
westward of …
Page 31
… Elworthy, is well known. 2 ‘ ‘ Excavations in Bokerly and Wansdyke ” (Vol. Ill of
Excavations in Cranborne Chase), p. 8. easily accessible from the sea is Poole
Page 32
389. 1 Ancient Dorset, Chas. Warne, pp. 180—4; Roman Roads in Britain, T. Cod
– rington, p. 312. of the Romans1.” The discovery made by Mrs Cunnington,
Page 33
… that the inner entrenchment is undoubted Roman work.  story of the siege of the ” Mons Badonicus,” wherever. Hod Hill and Lydsbury Rings. M. 3 CH. III] THE FRONTIER BETWEEN WESSEX AND DYVNAINT 33.
Page 34
… conditions remained unaltered until a far later period, for one may date the
general commencement of modern changes to the drainage, enclosure, and
extension of cultivation of 34 THE FRONTIER BETWEEN WESSEX AND
Page 35
The Axe skirts the base of the Mendips and reaches the sea to the eastward of
Brean Down, between that promontory and Weston, and the Brue runs from Glastonbury 3—2 THE FRONTIER BETWEEN WESSEX AND DYVNAINT… slopes of the Quantock foothills is not more than three miles. From Borough Bridge to Bridgwater on one side and the Poldens on the other the present road
BK …
Page 37
… so surrounded in all directions by waters that save for one bridge there was no
access to it except by boat.” Between the islands and the Polden Hills similar
Page 38
… of man part of Sedgmoor has been practically impassable at these periods,
and still when a heavy rainfall or melting snow increases the supply of land water
Page 39
… when it came into the possession of Walter de Douay at the conquest, and the
present local pronunciation ” Burge-water,” with the accent on the penultimate,
Page 40
… of the Poldens. The ancient trackway would follow this line, even in pre-
embankment times, across the estuarine levels. thence to the great early camp of
Danesborough, or Dows-. 40 THE FRONTIER BETWEEN WESSEX AND
Page 41
… these roads were further guarded by the Quantock camps at some point or
other of their line. 1 See pp. 108 and 110. Dorset also is traversed by a great
Page 42
… and upwards of two miles to the east of the Roman road, are sufficient in our
view to put any such theory out of court. was even more numerous. Every hillside
Page 43
The kingdom of Dyvnaint still occupied an important position two hundred years
later than Cerdic, although after the battle of Deorham it had been cut off from
communication by land with the Welsh kingdoms beyond the Severn. In spite of
this …
Page 44
CHAPTER IV THE WARS OF KENWEALH (643—672 a.D.) It is doubtful whether
the frontier between Wessex and Dyvnaint changed materially during the seventy
-five years which followed the battle of Deorham, though in the long peace it is …
Page 59
40, 41, entered Saxon territory from Dyvnaint. The exact date of the grants made
by Kentwine himself is not given, but, as we have no reason to believe that the
Wessex frontier was advanced across the Parrett until after the defeat of the Welsh, …At the same time the abbey was given possessions which covered the main routes of pilgrimage from the West to the Holy Island, at points where they passed
from the kingdom of Dyvnaint into Wessex. Cruca covered the landing-place at …...His power was fully recognised by the Saxons, and there had been, previous to the outbreak of the war, some 1 Dyvnaint, the remains of the old Roman province
of Dumnonia, at this time included Devon and Cornwall, and also all Somerset …...The only evidence of the success of Wessex is in the founding of Taunton in advance of the frontier won by Kentwine. It is certain that Wessex made another step westward, but how far is not evident. At the same time the power of Dyvnaint
was …… as must previously have been the case with the frontier marches between the Parrett and the Quantocks. This royal domain would therefore form an administrative province of its own, cut off from Dyvnaint, yet not 70 THE WARS OF INE  province of its own, cut off from Dyvnaint, yet not incorporated in Wessex proper.
This gives an explanation of an expression which occurs in the Chronicle under
the year 876, when we are told that the brother of Ingwar and Healfdene came to

Page 74
Beyond it there is no sharp, defensible line of country in any way comparable to
the physical boundaries which marked the first stages of the conquest of Dyvnaint
. The Saxons had reached the wild approaches to the great moorlands of …
Page 75
822 A.D.) Five years after the defeat of Gerent there was war with Mercia, the
reason of its outbreak not being evident, though as Ine met Ceolred at the old …
Page 77
… Saxonica, by J. W. Collen. Unfortunately Mr Collen does not give his authorities
, an omission which seriously impairs the value of his work. Cynewulf seemed to
give him his chance of escape, if CH. VII] 77 THE CONQUEST OF DYVNAINT.
Page 79
During this period of Mercian overlordship and intrigue it is not possible that any
westward advance on Dyvnaint can have been made. As we have pointed out, it
is far more likely that an actual loss of territory gained by Kentwine and Ine took …
Page 80
It would be a fair deduction from the bringing up of a Saxon within the lands of the
hated British Church that the parents of the saint were fugitives who had sought
shelter from the raids of Ceadwalla with the prince of Dyvnaint; but it is far more …
Page 81
… Journal of the Arch. Institute. 2 Cf. the contemporary Scandinavian settlements
in S. Wales and N. Somerset, Book 11, chap. II. of conquest. Possibly Beorhtric’s
attitude was influenced by that of M. 6 CH. VII] THE CONQUEST OF DYVNAINT
Page 82
of conquest. Possibly Beorhtric’s attitude was influenced by that of his father-in-
law, but it is almost a commonplace to say that Wessex trouble with Mercia was
the opportunity of Dyvnaint, and the close alliance that now existed between the …
Page 83
The known close alliance of these newcomers with the Welsh of Cornwall
seriously retarded the pacification of the far west, and enabled Cornwall, the last
cantle of Dyvnaint, to retain some sort of independence for nearly a century after
Devon …
Page 85
We can therefore only claim for the central or Blackdown section of the boundary
between Wessex and Dyvnaint that it represents Gerent’s frontier. His wars with
Ine settled some sort of “march” between the two kingdoms, but the sharp line …
Page 87
In the case of the other kingdoms there was nothing quite like the long struggle in
which, by slow degrees, the old British kingdom of Dyvnaint was conquered, and
absorbed into the kingdom of Wessex. The Welsh states which they had to …
Page 88
powerful and less able to offer a sustained resistance to encroachment than
Dyvnaint, and their internal jealousies rendered it impossible for them to act in
concert. From the first, Dyvnaint suffered from no disunion, and was slowly forced
into …
Page 89
thought of aggrandizement by the Danish peril at the end of the ninth century,
and consider the conquest of Dyvnaint as ending with the battle of Gafulford in
822, when Ecgberht completed the conquest of Devon, and may have
established …
Page 90
their holy spot. On the other hand, the fact that Glastonbury had passed into
Saxon power must have had its full influence in the prosecution of the war by
Dyvnaint, so long as that ancient kingdom retained its independence. It is hardly

Page 91
fought, and Taunton was built. Then Wessex strove with Mercia, and Dyvnaint
was at rest for forty years, unless she regained some of her lost ground. Probably
that was the case, for with the end of the Mercian trouble in 753, Cuthred of …
Page 102
In the eighth and ninth centuries the ” Danes ” appear as the allies of Dyvnaint.
The Britons of the west knew them as friends from the first, and looked to them for
help as the growing power of Wessex pressed on Devon and Cornwall.
Page 103
Up this valley was practically the only road from the Severn sea into Dyvnaint,
and the haven of Watchet must always have been of some importance, the close
connection between the British kingdoms on either side of the Severn sea being

Page 104
The sharp racial definition implied by the name renders it almost certain that here
at Williton was the guarded point at which the British traders from Dyvnaint met
the outland seafaring merchants from the haven which they occupied.
Page 105
A haven at Combwich therefore had the same advantage of direct routes to Wessex as that at Watchet possessed with regard to Dyvnaint. Combwich was
superseded, probably after the foundation of Taunton and the consequent
diversion of …
Page 113
… Park could have originated and taken firm root there after the conquest of the
district by Christian Wessex is impossible. A pre-conquest settlement of heathen
Saxons in what was then independent Dyvnaint is for political and other reasons

Page 118
Against such trained forces England had no men available except in Wessex,
where the long wars with Dyvnaint had kept alive the knowledge of the value of
discipline ; had produced a line of veterans who knew the leaders of their
counties …
Page 123
It is noticeable that they seem to have left Dyvnaint unharried still. By this time the
Danes were active in the eastern counties, where the first landing had been
made in 838, fifty years after the first attack on the west. In that year and the next
the …
Page 135
… to him afresh and heartily, winning a battle on the old frontier line of Dyvnaint at Penselwood, and passing forward to fight the drawn battle of Sceorstan, followed by the disastrous defeat at Assandun, again due to Edric Streone’s treachery, …
Page 137
… the last unconquered kingdom left in England, an attempt foiled when within an
ace of succeeding by the king’s determined resistance and his rally of the
Wessex levies for another fight in the ancient cock-pit of the war with Dyvnaint.
Page 143
… objected to. considered Exeter as in Dyvnaint, and outside Alfred’s dominions,
Page 144
considered Exeter as in Dyvnaint, and outside Alfred’s dominions, for the purposes of a wartime arrangement. However that may have been, in that fortress they were blockaded by Alfred, until, some time in 877, the fleet from Wareham, …
Page 222
Anton or Test, Valley of the, 9 ; advance up, 20 Appledore, 126, 180, 185
Armorica, relations with Dyvnaint, Arthur, British account of his warfare with Cerdic, 2 ; victor at Mons Badoni- cus, 20; gave Brent and Polden to Glastonbury,
52 and …
Page 223
… accounts of the Saxon conquest, t, 2 ; Roman organisation of, 4, s ; in alliance with Saxons, 24 ; of Armorica and South Wales, relations with Dyvnaint, 43 ;
driven ” to the sea,” 53 ; probable explanation of the phrase, 63 Brittany, 129Brogger, …
Page 224
… 204, 205, 206 Chochilaicus, 96 Christiania, 107 Christianity, Wessex accepts,26, 45, 50, 216, 218; effect of, on struggle between Wessex and Dyvnaint, 89, 90 ;
and heathen traditions in West Somerset, 113, 114; acceptance of, by Guthrum, …
Page 226
… near Andover, 10 Devizes, 134 Devon (see also Dyvnaint), extent of, in former
times, 29-31; “in Wessex,” meaning of, 30, 71, 82, 146, 153, 182, 185, 186 and
footnote; Roman roads to, 42 ; boundary between, and Somerset, 66-71, 185,
186; …
Page 227
Durleigh, 57 Durston, 57 Dyvnaint, Welsh of, severed from the North Welsh, 24 ; position in the time of Kenwealh, 27, 43 ; developed out of Dumnonia, 28 ; extent of, 28-3 1 ; frontiers of, 44, 52, 66-71, 136, 137, 154 ; pilgrim routes into Wessex …
Page 228
… 146 Gautelf, River, blocked by Harald Fair- hair, 17 footnote Geoffrey of Monmouth, on Gormund and Africans from Ireland, 99 Gerent, King of Dyvnaint,
80, 85; his leading position, 65, 66 ; Ine’s war with, 65-71, 77, 90; position after it,
74. 75.
Page 232
… early English coins in, 119 footnote; conversion of, 131; falls under Denmark, Norwich, 133 Nunna, King of the South Saxons, helps Ine against Dyvnaint, 65, 66, 76; his death, 76 Nydam boat described, 3 Nyland Hill, see Andreyseye Oakley …
Page 234
… 88, 181, 194, 218; character of coast-line of, 35, 185 ; position of Old Burrow Camp overlooking, 69 ; prevailing winds of, ioi, 183 ; trade routes from, into Dyvnaint, 102-105, into Wessex, 102, 105 ; Danish fleets in, 120, 123 and
footnote, 125, …
Page 235
… 187 Somerset, North, physical features of, 3J, 37; Danish settlements in, Book
11, Chap, ii, 120 Somerset, West, partly included in Dumnonia (Dyvnaint), 29 ; a
battle ground between Wessex and Dyvnaint, 34 ; royal domain in, 70 ; dialect of,

Page 236
… regained by Wessex, 65 ; won by Ecgberht, 82 Sussex, 134, 209, 210; won by
Wulfhere from Wessex, 48 ; regained by Wessex, 65 ; helps Ine against Dyvnaint, 66 ; Ealdbriht the exile connected with, 75- 78 ; connection with Taunton, 76-78 …
Page 237
Walpole in Pawlett (Wallepille), 203 ; Domesday record of, 57 Wansdyke, 44, 141,168; eastern termination of, 9; as to date and name, 23 footnote; frontier between Wessex and Dyvnaint, 24, 34 Wantage (Waneting), bequeathed by King Alfred …

Rivers and navigable creeks, p. 36. Tamar, Lynher, p. 38. Tide, or Tidi, p. 40. Seaton, ib.
Loo, or Eaft-Loo, ibid. ProfpoCt of Loo Bridge," ib. Duloo, or Weft Loo river, p. 41. fawy, ib.
Fal, 42, and it’s harbour. Hel, or Heyl river in Kerricr, p. 43. Lo or Low river in Kerrier, p 44.
Heyl in Penwith, ibid. Ganal creek, p. 45. River Alan, al Lamel, ibid. Wade navigable rivers in
may be made notbeneficial, p. 47. Subject: to obftrudtions, p. 49.