HomeEnglandIrelandNorthern IrelandScotlandWales
New This Month
N. Ireland
National Parks
Tourist Information
Web Links
About Us
Contact Us


Holy Well of St. Winefride, North Wales Coast and Borderlands

There’s an atmosphere of peace in this place—a place of pilgrimage for 1300 years. A place where people come in faith to ask for God’s favors. This is St. Winefride’s Well.

Holy Well St. Winefride by Barbara Ballard This holy place began with a legend. In AD 660 the town of Holywell, located in northern Wales, was a cluster of huts centered around a church. Caradoc, the son of a prince living in the area, pursued Winefride, the daughter of a local prince. Refusing to marry him, she sought sanctuary in the church, but, before she reached it, Caradoc caught her. Angry at her refusal to marry him, he beheaded her.

It is said a spring of water rose where Winefride’s severed head came to rest, a spring with healing powers. St. Winefride’s uncle placed her head next to her body. He then prayed over her, and she rose to her feet, head attached, became a nun and was eventually made Abbessof a convent. She died 15 years later.

As the fame of the well’s healing power spread, pilgrims journeyed to the spring to pray for healing, passing through the cold, clear, bluish water three times. Walking down limestone steps, they kneeled and kissed a stone cross. An ancient carving of one pilgrim carrying another is etched into the worn stone.

Holy Well St. Winefride by Barbara Ballard Royalty visited the site. Henry V, who relied on the Saint’s aid at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, made a pilgrimmage of thanksgiving to the well the year following his victory. In the 15th century, Lady Margaret, Countess of Richmond, and the mother of Henry VII, commissioned an elaborate arched crypt to be built above the spring. Emblems of the family are found in the stained glass. Carvings of St. Winefride and her legend adorn the weathered stone. High in the crypt ceiling St. Winefride is seated with a staff in her hand and a crown over her head.

Five hundred years of graffiti on the walls of the crypt attest to the years of unbroken faith in the well’s healing powers. Thousands of visitors continue to come today. Candles of hope still shine. St. Winefride’s Well is a place of pilgrimage, the Lourdes of Wales.

Essential Information

St. Winefride’s Well is located in the town of Holywell off the A55, B5121, in northern Wales. It is one hour by car from Manchester Airport.

The legend of St. Winefride is the basis for Ellis Peter’s, “A Morbid Taste for Bones”, the first book in her Brother Cadfael mystery series.

Photos by Barbara Ballard

Go Back: [Top of Page] [Articles Main Page]

Be a Destinations-UK-Ireland Sponsor
Our North Wales Coast and Borderlands Articles
Holy Well of St Winefride
Rug Chapel
Plas Newydd
Wildlife on the Great Orme
Llyn Brenig Reservoir and Visitor Centre
Other Wales Articles

© Destinations-UK-Ireland. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission is prohibited.
Site maintained by andyfellwalker
England | Ireland | N. Ireland | Scotland | Wales | About Us | Contact Us
United Kingdom England Ireland Scotland Wales