Partrishow, north of Abergavenny, under the Black Mountains in Monmouth, is another very remote place with a tiny church dedicated to St Issui (Isho or Ishaw). Everything about the location suggests he was an early hermit. He is said to have been murdered by a passing traveller to whom the saint had given hospitality. His holy well and tree will be found in a charming hollow by the roadside before one ascends to the church. Here is one of the few remaining ‘Eglwys y bedd’ (‘Church of the Grave’) left in Wales. An altar has been built over the grave. It is an astonishing place. Words are simply inadequate.
An ancient healing:
‘The church was built using money given by a pilgrim who visited Issui’s well in the mid eleventh century and was healed of leprosy there. He left a bag of gold as his expression of joy and thanksgiving. It was this money which was used to build the first stone church on the site of Issui’s former cell.’
A modern healing:
‘[This is] St. Issui’s well – long considered a place of healing, and regarded as a special place even in the pre-Christian times before Issui adopted it as his own, and began preaching the gospel of God’s love through Christ to all who came to it. Today it has a distinct new age feel to it, given the nature of some of the objects left there, and yet this is a site still stongly connected with the healing power of God Himself.’
‘[Kathy Pridis] had been used for some years to visiting Partrishow with her clergyman husband whenever they wanted to visit somewhere quiet, peaceful and remote, and yet within easy reach of their home in Hereford.In October 2008, suffering from a severe case of plantar fibromatosis, or growths in the arch of the foot, she had undergone an operation on her foot which did not have the desired outcome. Kathy was left in considerable pain, and unable to walk freely. Almost a year later in September 2009, she and her husband again visited the tiny church at Partrishow, bringing some friends with them this time. With great difficulty, Kathy was helped to descend the steps from the narrow lane down to St. Issui’s well.’
’When she arrived there, Kathy felt to remove her shoes and soak her bad foot in the water for a few minutes. She did so not with any hope or expectation of anything happening or with any specific prayer. Nevertheless, she was gradually filled with a great sense of peace and joy as her foot was in the cold water.
After a few minutes, she dried her foot on a towel they had with them, and without realising it, was able without difficulty to ascend the steps back up from the well to the car. It was only after they were driving the short distance on up the hill to the church that she thought to herself: ‘How did I get up those steps?’
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