According to legend, St Winefride's Well first erupted at the spot where her would-be rapist Caradog cut off her head with his sword.
Restored to life at the prayers of her uncle St Beuno, Winefride lived as a nun until her second death some 22 years later. Whatever the exact truth of her legend, Winefride herself was real rather than legendary, and the extraordinary and enduring personality of this seventh-century Welsh woman has meant that she has been venerated as a saint ever since her death. Her well at Holywell has subsequently been a place of pilgrimage and healing for over 13 centuries. Surviving records of cures claimed after bathing at the well begin in the 12th century, and continue to the present and the shrine still possesses a fine collection of wooden crutches discarded by the cured in former times.
The present shrine building is a glorious two-storey late Perpendicular Gothic building erected in the sixteenth century. It is a Grade I Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument . The well precinct also houses an interpretive exhibition outlining the story of the saint and her shrine in detail and the Victorian former custodians' house has been converted to house a museum of the pilgrimage. Audio-trail facilities are available to enable visitors to guide themselves around the shrine. The holy well is still a major place of Catholic pilgrimage, but all visitors are made welcome to share its unique mixture of history, beauty, and peace described as one of the Seven Wonders of Wales.
Furnished rooms and an audio-visual presentation show daily life from different periods in its history. Open daily except Tuesdays.
St. Winefride's Well, Plessington House, New Road, Holywell, Flintshire CH8 7LS
Tel: 01352 713054