Newlyn, Morvah, Lanner and Moushole

In some parts of Cornwall there is a rather curious tradition that occurs during the Easter weekend, often on Good Friday. In the villages of Newlyn and Mousehole it was common for young girls to baptise their dolls at the site of a holy well or special place.

Ziggy Dowdy's Well near Redruth
Figgy Dowdy's Well on Carn Marth near Redruth. This is also known as Margery Daw's Well and local girls baptised their dolls here on Good Friday Reproduced courtesy of Paddy Bradley as featured on cornishmemory.com
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Holy wells can be found all over Cornwall and are often associated with a local saint. Many started as natural springs that provided the local community with water. Some places in Cornwall were notorious for being short of water, and because of this the springs were considered holy or magical places. Many holy wells have small buildings built over them to protect the water source, while some were just left as they were or with ancient stone structures around them.  

Easter Bonnet competition at Halzephron Inn
A more common tradition is the Easter Bonnet Competition, featured here Halzephron Inn in 1981
Reproduced courtesy of Paul Yockney as featured on cornishmemory.com

Today the custom of baptising dolls has been revived in Venton Bebibell and Figgy Dowdy’s Wells. Venton Bebibell is near the village of Morvah, and is the source of the Newlyn River that flows into the sea on the south coast. Figgy Dowdy’s Well is near the Cornish village of Lanner.



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