This painting is framed
St. Nectan’s Glen, near the Mysterious Arthurian Tintagel Castle, In Cornwall, sometimes said to be one of Britain’s “most spiritual sites”. In the Sixth Century AD, Saint Nectan had a Hermitage above the Waterfall and rang a silver bell to warn ships of the dangers of offshore rocks. He believed that the marauding Romans were ravaging his faith, so before he died he vowed that unbelievers would never hear the bell and he threw it into the basin of the waterfall. If the bell is heard today, bad luck will follow. Ghostly monks have been witnessed chanting along the pilgrim path as well as two spectral grey women, said to be St Nectan’s sisters who are buried beneath a large flat slab in the river, near the bottom of the waterfall. St Nectan himself is said to be buried in an oak chest somewhere below the river. St Nectan was the eldest son of King Brychan of Brycheiniog. Brychan was born in Ireland but moved to Wales when he was very young in 423 AD. St Nectan was born in 468 AD. He had 24 brothers and 24 sisters and decided to become a hermit after hearing the story of St Anthony in the Egyptian desert. He set sail from South Wales landing at Hartland Point in Devon. Nectan lived a solitary and reclusive existence at Stoke in the Hartland Forest. The only time he wasn’t alone was when his brother and sisters came to visit each year, just after Christmas, to pray and give thanks to God. One day in the year 510 AD when Nectan was 42, a swineherd named Huddon was wandering through the forest looking for his master’s best breeding sows. Huddon came to Nectan’s hut and asked the hermit if he’d seen the pigs. Nectan was able to show the swineherd where they were and so Huddon rewarded him with two cows. On June 17th of that year, two passing robbers stole the cattle and headed east with them. Nectan tracked the thieves through the forest until he caught up with them. They responded by cutting off his head. Nectan picked up his head and carried it back to his home, feeling very weary (as you might without a head). He laid it on a rock by a well and collapsed. It’s said that red streaks of blood can still be seen at St Nectan’s Well in Stoke, Devon. It’s situated in a lovely location – a small wooded sanctuary down a bank from the main lane through the village. Three flagstones pave the way to the building that covers the spring. June 17th is now the feast day of St Nectan.