St Neot, was a Saxon monk that settled in the Cornish village of Hamstoke (later named after him), in hopes of an isolated life of prayer. According to legend, approving of Neot’s devotion to the faith, God sent an angel to the solitary saint to share that, to support Neot’s isolated existence, God would provide for his needs. The angel informed Neot that he could find three fish at all times within the local well.
Neot was told that each day, one of these three fish was his to eat, and if only one fish was taken daily, their number would never decrease.
This went swimmingly until one unfortunate day, St Neot became ill and was forced to rely on his servant, Barius. A well-meaning, though thoughtless servant, Barius took a double serving of fish from the well to assist in his master’s recovery, thereby breaching the piscine promise.
Upon discovering the breach of the agreement, Neot prayed for God’s mercy and returned the fish to the well where they were restored to life, thereby restoring the miraculous three.
Though now fishless, the well of the Patron Saint of Fish is said to cure illnesses within children. Still accessible since Neot’s death, the well is situated within a grassy mound just a short walk along the River Loveney from the village church, where a stained glass retells the legend.
Restored in 1852, then further in 2009, an archaic bolted wooden door welcomes pilgrims and those with a careful curiosity to enter the small, cool space to view the now fishless water. It’s now filled with coins holding wishes and other offerings, as well as some rather large spiders.