Well Hopper

Exploring the ancient holy wells and healing wells of North Wales


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St Beuno’s Well, Holywell

There are days when you begin to  imagine that St Beuno was in the franchise business. His wells seem to have branches everywhere, from Gwyddelwern to Clynnog, from Bala to Aberffraw, he almost had the North Walian market sewn up back in the day. Interestingly, although he is now remembered by so many solely for his role in  the story of  Winefride (more accurately Gwenfrewi in Welsh), Baring Gould and Fisher in their Lives of the British Saints suggest that traces of the presence of Beuno himself in Flintshire are much slighter than elsewhere.

His well at Holywell has, in recent years, been overshadowed by its more famous neighbour that of St Winefride. When I first tried to track it down I soon found myself waist deep in nettles and brambles and was forced to retreat in failure. Now, however, Beuno’s well seems to be making a comeback, making a bid to regain its place on the tourist trail and on the pilgrim trail. It is set to become a landmark on a new St Beuno’s Heritage Trail linking Holywell and Basingwerk. A new path has been constructed. It begins with a few steps leading out of the corner of the St Winefrides’s Well car park, follows a short woodland path and then leads up a vertiginous, exhausting flight of 75 steps climbing the hill. This is where, they say, Beuno’s chapel stood, where, they say, Winefride fled when pursued by Caradog, and from this spot here then severed head bounced and rolled until it came to rest at the point from which her well still issues forth.

Ff Beuno Holywell. Photo Wellhopper

Over the last hundred years, Beuno’s well has received rather disparaging comments. The Royal Commission in 1910 reported

A pool of water which at present can hardly be considered a well. It is situated beneath a tree in a meadow below Pen Dre House west of castle Hill. The pool is of irregular shape, and a bank projects into it. Two of its sides are about 8 and 5 yards respectively. It has recently been cleaned out. There is a slight spring

The HER records

A pool of water, rather muddy, 2m by 3m, partially enclosed by a stone wall, with a slight spring evident.

Ff Beuno Holywell. Photo Wellhopper

The site now resembles a small crater, CPAT suggest it looks more like a mine shaft than a well. The hollow on the hill top is some 10 by 15 yards, with steep sides and at its maximum depth the bottom is some six or seven feet below the surface level.

When I first saw it last autumn – see below – it was completely enveloped in trees. Hawthorn trees grew all around the well and up the slopes of the edge of the pit, and larger tress grew in the bottom of the well.

ff Beuno

These have now largely been removed so that the outline can be seen more clearly. Although nature has replaced them with tall grasses, flowers and weeds, so that the shape of the bottom of the bit still cannot be seen clearly.

Ff Beuno Holywell. Photo Wellhopper

A 1:500 scale map from the 1870s shows the feature as with a very distinctive shape. A spring appears to rise towards the north, which flows in a short dog-legged stream to a pool some feet away. It is, with faith, possible to trace this pattern. There appears to be evidence that the water rises at the very northern end of the pit and flows down through it. It forms a small muddy pool towards the centre of the pit, with evidence of the remainder of the pit southwards being considerably waterlogged. It maybe that the cleaning out reported in 1910 may have changed the shape of, or even eradicated, the dog-legged stream; however evidence of a slight spring and water remain.

A number of accounts make reference to a tree above the well. It was, apparently a custom for pilgrims to hammer coins into the tree by way of an offering. It seems that this practice led eventually to the death of the tree and I believe it was finally removed by the council at some point in the 1950s. Baring Gould and Fisher record that “All trees growing on land belonging to Beuno were deemed sacred and no one dared to cut any of them down lest the Saint should kill them or do them some grevous harm”. I’m not sure whether those responsible for removing the trees here have felt the effect of this. 

There is no obvious evidence of the stone wall mentioned in the HER file, although recent excavations, carried out in connection with the restoration report having found evidence of a stone pathway, dated to the eighteenth century, around the top of the well at some points.

The recovery of St Beuno’s well is clearly a work in progress, and may well repay further visits. If and when any changes occur I shall update this report.

Update June 2016 – A new interpretation sign has been erected recently providing the story of the well and that of Beuno and Gwenfrewi 20160625_132816

 


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Ffynnon y Saint, Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr

Saints Well
From one Llanfihangel to another – because that’s how Wellhopper rolls. Today we visited Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr in search of Ffynnon y Saint – the Well of the Saints.

Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr lies between Corwen and Cerrigydrudion, a little off the A5. The village consists of a pub, the church and a few scattered houses. The church of St Michael which gives the village its name is a plain building, parts dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but with little of note. A plaque high on the east wall marks the height reached by the water from the River Alwen that runs alongside, during a notorious flood of 1781

Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr

Ffynnon y Saint – the well of the Saints – is marked on early twentieth century maps around 300 yards to the north west of the church on the land of Tyddtyn Tudur, once home to the noted eighteenth century Welsh cultural historian and publisher Owen Jones (Owain Myfyr). Who is commemorated in the church The well was visited in 1912 by the Royal Commission for Ancient Monuments, who reported that

“The spring is now dry and the well chamber is practically empty. A depression to the east affords proof that the overflow was copious.”

The current historical record, Coflein, reports a chamber, 0.2 metres deep, dry and partly filled. and a visit by the Clywd Powys Archaeological Trust in 2003 reported  that

Ffynnon y Saint was still visible as a spring within living memory, lying beside the farm access road. It has now been completely filled in and no visible sign remains, even the well chamber of an earlier report being of uncertain form. The farmer could vaguely remember it from his youth.  (from Archwelio database)

The maps record the well as lying on the left hand side of the track approaching the farm beside the track and the field boundary. On our visit a small stream was flowing beside the track, although the gap between the track and the fence seemed much less than that implied by the maps, suggesting that possibly either the track or the field boundary has been adjusted in the 100 years since the maps were drawn up.

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The other side of the track was marshy with tracks of streams flowing through it; a stone covered, concrete lined tank was there filled with water. The farmer said that all signs of the well had vanished, but then one kind of thought that he would, wouldn’t he?

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I have found no accounts associated with the well or any customs associated with it. No evidence that it is linked with the church and with St Michael, or with some other now lost ecclesiastical foundation, there is a field across the river  known as Cae’r Saint, again with no recorded history or reason attached. Clearly there is a distant memory a religious significance now long lost, preserved only in these names within the landscape Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr.

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As we returned to the car, through the drizzle and gathering gloom, I tried explaining that it is just as interesting and important to document finding nothing as it is to record finding an impressive well chamber. I have a feeling few were convinced by the argument.


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Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian

Update November 2014. During the summer of 2014 considerable work has been undertaken to clear the well. In addition a slate plaque has been attached beside the site, making it much easier to find.  In 2012 on our first visit the well was completely overgrown and very difficult to find – the post below reflects that in describing our problems in finding it. The original photographs, which were mostly of weeds and long grass have been largely replaced by new ones showing the well as we found it in November 2014.

In passing here is a sign of how things have changed over the last 100 years. In the 1915/16 Report of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society we read that ” Rev J J Ellis called the attention of the Society to the condition of Ffynnon Eilian which was almost obliterated, and it was decided to spend a sum not exceeding £1 in restoring the well. On going closely into the matter it appeared that a restoration of the well might encourage the public to trespass on the adjoining land and in consequence the proposed work has not been proceeded with.”

St Eilian’s Well
We had walked a mile or so along the cliff tops from Porth Eilian on the North East coast of Anglesey, in search of St Elian’s Well. Not having a good description with us we had investigated a couple of possible, though unlikely, candidates before resting and having a picnic beside a fast running stream flowing into the sea at a gap in the cliffs. 

Deciding by that stage that we had clearly missed the well, we returned to Llaneilian to visit the church. There, chatting to a very helpful couple, who were tidying the church, made us realise that we had actually eaten our picnic virtually beside the well, although it was so overgrown that you would never have noticed it otherwise. A finger post points from the church towards the well, a more direct route than along the coastal path so we returned to find the site.

Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian. WellhopperThere are no early records of Elian’s life, most accounts were first written in the middle ages. It is said that Elian came to Wales from Rome, arriving in the fifth century with oxen and other animals, landing on the Anglesey coast to start a mission. Caswallon, the local lord, father of Maelgwn Gwynedd, offered him land on which to establish a church. His generosity extended to granting an area to be determined by the distance Eilian’s pet doe could cover in a day. Unfortunately whilst the doe was measuring out the land it was attacked and killed by a greyhound. Elian was so upset that he immediately cursed the place such that no man would be able to keep a greyhound on that land ever again.

Eilian’s well, Ffynnon Eilian, is at the foot of a rocky outcrop close to the sea. Water emerges from a cleft at the base of the rock. In August the area was extremely overgrown, and the layout of the ground was difficult to see. It appears that the water flows away from the source in a stone lined channel towards the nearby stream. Further stone marks the base of a small chapel that once surrounded the well. The rock formed the back wall and three other walls enclosed it with an area of some six yards by four yards.

Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian. Wellhopper

Eilian’s well was very well visited as a healing well for many years. It had the advantage of requiring that a financial donation (usually a groat) was made for a cure to work, and the parish grew wealthy on the payments from pilgrims. A chest, dating from the early seventeenth century, Cyff Elian can still be seen in the church into which groats were placed. It was opened annually and apparently yielded sums of the order of 300 pounds a year. Two farms were purchased with the proceeds which supported the church. Latterly proceeds from the chest were distributed to the poor.

 On the eve of the saint’s day pilgrims seeking a cure would first drink from the well and then kneel before the altar in the well chapel. They would then progress to the church where further rituals took place. Here they would make offerings for the health of their oxen and cattle and for cures for ague, fits and scrofula.

 Further customs surrounded pilgrimages to Llaneilian. Wakes were held in August, originally on each of the first three Fridays. In the church is the remains of Elian’s shrine. An oak construction, formerly a box though now just its skeleton, semicircular, some six feet long, three feet wide and four feet high. Parishioners would take turns in crawling inside the box, once inside they would turn around three times and then crawl out again. Those who could successfully complete the task were guaranteed a healthy life for the coming year, those who couldn’t may not expect to live until the next festival.

These two pictures are a before and after comparison, the one above taken in 2012, the one below in 2014 from roughly the same spot on the cliff top above the spring.

Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian. Wellhopper

Later the well developed a reputation as a cursing well. A number of such wells exist in the region, the most famous now being another Ffynnon Elian near Conwy. A number of cursing rituals grew up. Most commonly at this location the would be curser paid the well custodian to engrave the name or initials on a slate with a pin, the pin would then be bent and thrown into the well. The typical witch’s method of making a dummy of the person to be cursed and piercing of drowning the dummy were also carried out. Such a marked slate and dummy were found close to the well in 1925 and are now in the museum at Bangor.

Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian. Wellhopper

While for those who preferred a more gruesome approach, it has been recorded that a live frog was pierced with a skewer, to which was attached two corks. The frog was then floated on the water of the well and so long as the frog lived the person being cursed would suffer.[1]

 Once again cursing was a very lucrative business, charges were levied both to place a curse and again to attempt to lift a curse. However in this case the monies were kept by the person who operated the well rather than by the church.

 The well still retains its reputation, and has been known locally as the Witching Well.[2]

Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian. Wellhopper

There is a local desire to have the well better marked for tourists. There is a signpost to it from the church, and inside the church there is an information sheet describing the well and the route to it. The people working in the church on our visit suggested they would like an engraved slate plaque (now there)  to be fixed close to the well naming it and ensuring that casual visitors can better find it.Ffynnon Eilian, Llaneilian. Wellhopper

 The church at Llaneilian is one of the most impressive on Anglesey. The square lime washed tower dates from the twelfth century, the nave and chancel from the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. There is an impressive rood screen bearing a painted skeleton demonstrating the transiency of life, and much fine sixteenth and seventeenth century carving.

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St Elian’s feast day falls on January 13 although the wakes at Llaneilian were held on Fridays in August.

 [1] Janet Bord (1995) Cursing not Curing; The Darker Side of Holy Wells.  Source The Holy Wells Journal.

[2] from comments on The Megalithic Portal


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Ffynnon Ifan, Cerrigydrudion

Ffynnon Ifan lies on the slopes of Mynydd Hiraethog, on the path from Cefn Brith to the Alwen Reservoir above Cerrigydrudion. It is clearly marked on the current OS maps, and has been identified as Ffynnon Ifan on earlier maps for over 100 years, however nothing appears to be written about the well.

The name appears twice in the ancient monuments database coflein, however not in its own right but solely in relation to defining a nearby post medieval sheep fold and a small quarry from which it is assumed that the stone to build the sheep fold was extracted.

We were led to search for Ffynnon Ifan following the recent visit to St Mary Magdalene’s Well at Cerrigydrudion. In the discussion of  that well I note that the church had originally been built by St Ieuen Gwas Padrig, and that a well dedicated to that saint in the Cerrigydrudion area was recorded by Lhuyd [1], which was noted for possessing very cold water which was known for curing swelling in the knees, etc.  This is noted in Jones [2] as Ffynnon Gwas Padrig, although no further information is provided there.

There has been speculation, as mentioned in the previous post, that the well by the church had originally been his well; however comments I have received subsequent to making that post indicate that the Ffynnon Ifan shown here is the well originally identified as Ffynnon Gwas Padrig.

The photographs show the area marked on the map as Ffynnon Ifan. The area above was fairly boggy after recent rain, so it wasn’t totally clear whether the water was actually emerging from the hillside at this point or flowing down from the marshy areas higher up. On balance however it did appear to be a source of the stream that collected in the stony t the point marked and forming a small but steady trickle creating the small stream that flows down the hillside at this point.



[1] Edward Lhuyd (1698) Parochial Queries – see references page for more details
[2] Francis Jones(1954) The Holy Wells of Wales – see references page for more details


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Ffynnon Sarah, Nannerch

I’m afraid that whilst this post may be  heavy in pictures it will be necessarily exceedlingly light in text.

Ffynnon Sarah has appeared on all the maps of Nannerch, at least back into the Victorian era, but remarkably little appears to have been written about itThe only reference I have come across comes from Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary of Wales from 1849. His entry on Nannerch states:

The surrounding country is boldly varied, displaying good mountain scenery. In the parish are some fine springs; one of them, called “Fynnon Sarah,” near the new turnpike-road, is considered to be the source of the river Whieler, which, pursuing a western course, falls into the Clwyd near Pontrufydd.

The well has survived the construction of the new turnpike road, the building of a railway soon afterwards, and it’s eventual replacement by the A541 on which you can now rush past Ffynnon Sarah from Mold to Denbigh, scarcely noticing the high stone wall behind which Sarah still flows.

Located in a secluded woodland behind the wall, the water bubbles up from the ground in a small stone lined recess into a bank. It is fast flowing and soon merges with other water sources to form a wide stream which represents the start of the River Wheeler.

There is no evidence that Ffynnon Sarah was ever regarded as a holy well or attributed any healing powers, it is probably just noted for the strength and volume of its output.

One other feature we noted was a small stone lined chamber, up against the roadside wall also containing water. This is clearly man made, however we have no knowledge of its purpose.

Given the lack of documentation, any comments on or stories about  Ffynnon Sarah would be most welcome.


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Llanddwyn Island

Llanddwyn Island lies on the south west corner of Anglesey, close to the village of Newborough. Although in the past it was an island, it is now so only at the highest tides, It was at one time connected to the mainland by a stione built causeway, today it is possible to walk across a sand bar that has gradually formed to link it to Newborough beach. In summer months there is a constant stream of visitors to the island which seems to be leading to ever increasing measures to create paths and fences to direct walkers, and reduce erosion.

 

The island is the site of a church established by St Dwyn, more commonly known as Dwynwen (holy or blessed Dwyn). She was a sister to Ceinwen, commemorated nearby at Cerrigceinwen and Llangeinwen; and one of twenty four daughters of Brychan, king in Brecon. Her first church here was supposedly founded in the late fifth century.. St Dwynwen’s church was already virtually ruined by the seventeenth century, however small portions still remain, along with the traces of the monastery buildings. It is said that hoping to cash in on the benefits of the shrine a a Benedictine monastery was established on the island in the Middle Ages. No visible evidence of the monastery remains, and it is generally considered now that it never actually  existed.

St Dwynwen is known throughout Wales as the patron saint of lovers, effectively a Welsh saint Valentine, and her wells and shrine have been visited constantly, even after the ruin of the church. The parish at Llanddwyn was at one time among the wealthiest in North Wales due largely to the offerings left by visitors to Dwynwen’s shrine, and from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries it was considered the richest prebend in the principality. Wax candles were kept constantly burning at Dwynwen’s shrine, possibly a golden image of St Dwynwen was displayed and here “A thousand broken hearts her power invoked”

The church was largely abandoned following the reformation and local residents removed and re-used wood, stone and lead from the  building. The community that grew up around the church dispersed, and some houses were lost to the sea.
In the late eighteenth up until the early twentieth centuries, the island was inhabited again, as beacons were built and pilots housed to guide ships into St Georges Channel. The rocks off shore had historically been the cause of numerous wrecks on a then busy shipping route. At present the beacon, lighthouse and old lifeboat station remain, although unused. The pilot’s cottages have been converted into a small museum which reflects the life of Dwynwen and recreates that of the more recent inhabitants of the island.

Traditionally lovers would visit her well or shrine to divine the identity of future partners or to test whether existing love would last. According to accounts of her life, Dwynwen was loved by Maelon Dafrodill, whom she loved in return. However, he was said to have made inappropriate advances, which she rejected; and as a result he stormed off, spreading rumours and gossip to besmirch her reputation as he went. Heartbroken, Dwynwen swore that she would never love again and prayed to God to cure her of her love. God granted that in future she should never wish to be married, and also her wish that all other true hearted lovers should either obtain their desires or be cured of their passions. He also finally released Maelon at her request, whom he had temporarily frozen into a block of ice. Dwynwen then took the veil and founded her church on Llanddwyn Island.

Not only lovers resortedto the shrine, Dwynwen’s well also gained the reputation for curing aches, stitches and pleurisy. Her church also developed a reputation for the cure of farmer’s beasts. The following story is widely reported.

Around the year 1650 the ploughing oxen at Bodeon took fright when at work, ran over a steep cliff and perished in the sea. This occurred on St Mark’s Day and the farmer concluded that it was due punishment for working on the saint’s feast day. To prevent future accidents he decreed that this day should henceforward be kept as a holiday and that two wax candles should be burned on that day in the porch of Dwynwen’s church. This practice was maintained well into the eighteenth century, the owner of the farm and other local farmers paying to maintain the church porch for this purpose at a time when the remainder of the church was in ruins.

There are three wells of note in the immediate area, Crochan Llanddwyn on the mainland and,on the island itself, are found both Dwynwen’s own well and also Ffynnon y Sais.

Crochan Llanddwyn

Crochan Llanddwyn, Llanddwyn’s Cauldron, is a pool on the mainland, hidden in the Newborough forest a little way off the road that runs from the toll gate to the beach car park. It was to this pool that the youth of the area would come to predict the course of their love. Perhaps as her island shrine fell into ruin, devotions paid at the shrine were transferred to this well. Another widely reproduced account; this by William Williams of Llandegai who recorded many local customs in the early 1800s records that

There was a spring of clear water, now choked up by sand, at which an old woman from Newborough always attended and prognosticated the lovers’ success from the movements of some small eels which waved out of the sides of the well, on spreading the lovers’ handkerchief on the surface of the water. I remember an old woman saying that when she was a girl she consulted the woman at this well about her desting with respect to a husband, on spreading her handkerchief out popped an eel from the north side of the well and soon after another crawled out from the south side. Then the woman told her that her husband would be a stranger from the south part of Caernarvonshire. Soon after, it happened, that three brothers came from that part and settled in the area, one of whom made his addresses to her and in a little time married her. So much of the prophecy I remember. This couple was my father and mother. [1]

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The pool is not currently clear, rather it was choked with pond weed on our visit and no eels were to be seen.

Ffynnon Dwynwen, Ffynnon Fair, Ffynnon Dafaden

Dwynwen’s Well is considered a little problematical. There are records of a well dedicated to St Dwynwen, also often called Ffynnon Fair (St Mary’s Well) on the island although its precise location has been open to dispute. Although Dwynwen’s well was certainly resorted to for its curative powers there also remains some confusion over whether the lovers’ ceremonies were performed at Crochan Llanddwyn as described above or at St Dwynwen’s Well on the island, though i believe the former to be the correct location. Some sources state that the well on the island it is now lost.

There is a well on the island clearly marked on most maps as Ffynnon Dafaden (wart well). It has been recorded that at some period in history this well was resorted to for the cure of warts, and numbers of corks with pins stuck into them, a part of the wart cure ritual, were to be found in the well.

It is more than probable that this well is that dedicated to St Dwynwen. It lies high on a cliff above the sea on the north side of the island, little more than about 50 yards from the church. The water cascades from the well over the rocks into the sea. On our most recent visit the pool was swarming with little tadpoles.

Dwynwen, who is remembered for the maxim “There is none so loveable as the cheerful”, has been the subject of numerous celebratory songs and poems over the centuries.

Dafydd ab Gwilyn (ca 1315-1350) commences:

 Dwynwen, your beauty like the hoar-fros’s tears:
from your chancel with its blazing waxen candles
well does your golden image know
how to assuage the griefs of wretched men.
What a man so ever would keep vigil in your choir
(a holy, shining pilgrimage), (you with) Inded’s radiance,
there is no sickness nor heart’s sorrow
which he would carry with him thence from Llanddwyn.
[2]

 

St Dwynwen’s Day is celebrated on January 25th.

Ffynnon y Sais

On the same side of the island, a little closer to the mainland is Ffynnon y Sais. This is a small fresh water spring that emerges from the shingle at the top of the beach and runs in a small stream across the beach towards the sea. I am unaware of any traditions or stories relating to the spring, it is relatively small, and probably just noted as a source of fresh water; however the bay in which it is located is called Trwyn  Ffynnon y Sais

A final notable feature on the island, close to the path that leads onto the island is actually marked on the visitor’s display boards as an old well. This is the feature generally known as Merddin Cil. It is a narrow stone lined chamber that goes down to a depth of some ten feet. Its purpose is unknown, however there is no evidence of it ever having held water or having been a well

 

NOTE
On a visit in September 2012 we noted that excavations had been taking place inside the church. The floor level had been taken down, exposing the footings of all the external walls. Turf had been cut back to show the circular external wall around the area. One of the remaining window arches has also been taken down for restoration. The site is apparently being restored and conserved, with interpretative material to be displayed on site. BBC News Item 

– for more information on the work being carried out see comment below from Tim Morgan.

[1] William Williams Manuscripts, quoted by Baring-Gould and Fisher in Lives of the British Saints

[2] Selected Poems of Dafyyd Ap Gwilym. Translated by Rachel Bromwich Penguin Books 1985   Quoted at http://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/01/prayer-to-st-dwynwen-daffyd-ap-gwilym.html

There is an interesting general blog that covers Newborough and Llanddwyn Island here


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Ffynnon Cerrigceinwen

For sale!  St Ceinwen’s church and holy well are currently on the market. Unfortunately the sale conditions specify that the name of the building must be changed by the purchaser and that no reference to St Ceinwen or a church can be made. There goes my chance of a lucrative business selling cures at the well then.

The well is actually known as Ffynnon Cerrigceinwen, taking on the name of the village rather than that of the saint herself. Cerrigceinwen being translated as “the stones of St Ceinwen”,   which refers to a rocky outcrop close to the church (editted). Cerrigceinwen is in the centre of Anglesey, a couple of miles south west of Llangefni.

St Ceinwen was one of the many daughters of Brychan, a fifth century king of Brecknockshire (Breconshire). Brychan is variously reported as having had up to three wives and up to sixty children. It was  written that of these children twelve males and twelve females became known as saints. Ceinwen’s name was actually Cein, with the alternative spellings Cain and Keyne. Ceinwen is formed from “Cein” and “gwen” meaning the holy or blessed Cein. Cein has, in some accounts, been credited with skills in dragon slaying and turning lizards to stone.

Brychan was based in South Wales, and Cein has a number of churches dedicated to her there. However, in common with many of Brychan’s children, her main ministry was in across the Severn in south west England, particularly Somerset and Cornwall; and she is reputed to have died in Cornwall. It is here that her most well known well is found at St Keyne near Liskeard. [1]

Commemorated in poems by Richard Carew (1602) and nineteenth century poet laureate Robert Southey, the belief was that whichever partner drank first from the well following a wedding would have the upper hand in the marriage.

I hasten’d as soon as the wedding was done
And left my wife in the porch
But i’faith, she had been wiser than me
For she took a bottle to church
 Southey – The Well of St Keyne.

So her associations further north and in particular with this area of Anglesey are unclear. However, there must be definite reasons for it, since apart from this church there is another in the nearby village of Llangeinwen supposedly founded by her, and her sister Dwyn’s own church and well are found on Llanddwyn island also close by. Baring  Gould’s Lives of the British Saints suggests that both sisters settled in Anglesey as neighbours.

Ffynnon Cerrigceinwen lies in the churchyard opposite the main door of the church. It is a simple well consisting of a deep pool backed by a natural rock wall set in a grassy hillside. It had a reputation as a healing well, although details of its efficacy for any specific ailmenst have been lost.

St Ceinwen’s festival is celebrated at Cerrigceinwen on October 7th, although other authorities suggest that it should be either October 8th or the second Sunday after Michaelmas.

[1] Janet Bord (2008) Holy Wells in Britain: A Guide