Homer Well, Looe, Cornwall

Holy Well (lost):  OS Grid reference – SX 25 53

Archaeology & History

This curiously-named and long lost well would almost have us believe that the Greek poet and philosopher himself was a-wandering in this neck of the woods.  But that sadly wasn’t the case.  It seems to have been mentioned just once in Looe’s early Town Books:

“In 1621 that part of West Looe Down which lieth on the West part of the Homer Well, was let to rent, for two crops, at 6s.8d. per acre”

In Courtney & Couch’s (1880) Cornish dialect work, the word homer is said to mean “homeward”; this is also echoed in Wright’s (1905) magnum opus. It seems to imply that it was a drinking well used by folk traveling the short distance from Looe village, across the river and onto or over West Looe Down towards their cottage or farmhouse; akin to a refreshing resting place halfway home, so to speak.  Sometimes the word homeward can be taken to simply mean “at home,” in which case it would suggest that the Well was simply next to someone’s house.  We may never know…


  1. Bond, Thomas, Topographical and Historical Sketches of the Boroughs of East and West Looe, J. Nichols: London 1823.
  2. Courtney M.A. & Couch, T.Q., Glossary of Words of Use in Cornwall, English Dialect Society: London 1880.
  3. Wright, Joseph, English Dialect Dictionary – volume 3, Henry Frowde: London 1905.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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