The Story of St Winefride
Accounts vary in detail about the story of St Winefride but the main features of the legend are as follows...
Winefride (Gwenfrewi) was the daughter of a local prince named Tewyth and his wife Gwenlo. Her uncle was St. Beuno.
One day, around the year 630, Caradoc, a chieftain from Hawarden attempted to seduce Winefride. She ran from him towards the church which had been built by her uncle. Caradoc pursued her and cut off her head. In the place where her head fell, a spring of water came up. St. Beuno came out from the church, took up her head and placed it back on her body. He then prayed and raised her to life. A white scar encircled her neck, witness to her martyrdom. Caradoc sank to the ground and was never seen again.
Winefride became a nun and, after her uncle’s departure from Holywell for the Monastery of Clynnog Fawr, joined a community at Gwtherin where she became the Abbess. She died there some 22 years later.
Pilgrimage to St Winefride's Well has taken place throughout the 1,300 years since St Winefride was restored to life. It is of great historic significance that the crypt was not destroyed during the reformation of the middle ages and that pilgrims continued to come despite the threat of persecution which existed for those practising the Catholic faith.
Pilgrims have come to St Winefride's Well throughout its history, to seek healing. Records dating back hundreds of years are testimony to the many cures from sickness and infirmity received through the intercession of St Winefride and the stories who have come in thanksgiving for healing for themselves or others.