Photographer and Documentary Filmmaker Conan Marshall is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From his project ‘Madron Well‘ . To see Conan’s body of work click on any image.
“Madron Well, a place of history and Superstition”
Tucked away near the village of Madron (in Cornwall, England), down a muddy path, lies an ancient place of superstition which has attracted visitors for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Madron Well has long been known as a place of reputed healing powers from the water which bubbles up from the underground spring. Near the well is a ruined 12th century chapel and baptistry which sits on a much older Celtic monument.
As you arrive, colorful strips of fabric, notes, poems and even other objects like children’s toys will be seen tied on the branches of the tree. This tradition of tying things onto the tree goes back to the Pagan period and even to this day is followed in several parts of the country.
Due to the amount of people who come here year on year, there needs to be conservation of the site. Madron Well, along with hundreds of other ancient sites across Cornwall (including stone circles and castles along the cliffs) are looked after by the Cornish Ancient Sites Protection Network (CASPN). Once a year, volunteers from this group come to Madron Well as part of a clear up effort to conserve the site. One of the most important things which they do is clearing all the non-biodegradable materials away from the tree. CASPN is a local partnership organisation which looks to educate the wider community about the significance and the fragility of these historic sites. The ever-increasing pressure of people visiting means that the conservation of these sites is important. Because of its natural beauty, Penwith is undeniably a popular tourist destination, and over the year’s ancient sites have become ever more popular. Unfortunately, this growing public interest has meant that the sites are frequently overused and misused. As well as this, many of the ancient sites also suffer from neglect. Fortunately, due to CASPN’s work, Madron Well and other sites across Cornwall are being monitored and looked after but there is always more to be done.
By Conan Marshall