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Home | Chapel of St Winefrides and Holy Well, pictures of St Winefride's Holywell and information about St Winefride's and the Holy Well, in Flintshire north east Wales
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St Winefride's Church and Sacred Well has been a place of pilgrimage for over a thousand years and although the belief in the healing power of sacred waters has become rare, tSt Winefride's Chapel and Sacred Wellhe spring which flows from the hillside below the town of Holywell continues to attract substantial numbers of pilgrims.

Winefride, the niece of St Beuno, was pursued by the over amorous Prince Caradoc, but Winefride resisted his advances and fled to her uncle for safety. Prince Caradoc was furious and hacked off her head which rolled down a steep slope. Waters gushed from the place where it came to rest. St Beuno came forth from his church and restored the head to Winefride's shoulders, and the evil Prince Caradoc was swallowed up by the ground.

The buildings we know today were built by Lady Margaret Beaufort in the early 16th century in thanks-giving for the victory of her son Henry Tudor over King Richard III at Bosworth Field.

They are not of the usual style of old Welsh Churches found on this website being built of dressed sandstone and in the perpendicular style and they definitely have a more English or Border country look to them.
Located below the small town of Holywell on a steep hillside there are a number of buildings associated with the Church and Sacred Well of St Winefride. The spring itself is housed in a Well Chamber that forms the basement to St Winefride's Chapel. The waters flow from the Well Chamber to an outdoor bathing pool.
The Chapel itself has a battlemented look to it and there are beautiful corbels with fine carvings of animals which unfortunately are now showing signs of ageing.
(The churches of St Peter's in Northop and St Mary the Virgin in Mold were also built by Lady Margaret Beaufort and have the same perpendicular style and fine carved sandstone).

St Winefride's and St James Church towerNext to the Chapel is the Church of St James which was much restored in the 18th century and may be on the site of the original church of St Beuno.

On the lower slopes of the site there is a modern interpretive centre displaying information boards on the story of St Winefride. You are able to buy bottles of the Sacred Water for a small sum.
TIP ! Take your own container and fill it from the pump adjacent to the pool.

St Winefride's is said to be the finest example of a medieval holy well in Britain, and, the well is regarded both as one of the seven wonders of Wales, and as the nation's equivalent of Lourdes.

The Church / Chapel is variously spelled as Winefride's, Winifred's, Wenefride's and the Welsh version Gwenffrewi.


Opening Times - The Shrine is open daily throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas Day. Opening times for the Holywell complex, the Interpretive Exhibition, and the Shop are as follows:

1 April - 30 September: Sunday -- Friday 09.00 - 17.30
Saturday 09.00 - 17.00

1 October - 31 March: Sunday - Saturday 10.00 - 16.00

The Museum is open between 12.00 and 16.00, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1 April until 30 September, or at all other times by prior appointment.

Admission Charges - Adult: £0.60 (over 60: £0.40); Child:£0.20; Family (2+3): £1.50; Student (with student card): £0.20 There are no additional charges to the Interpretive Exhibition or the Museum, or for use of the Audio-trail facilities. All proceeds from entry charges and the Shop go towards the upkeep of the Shrine.

Bathing - People have been bathing at St Winefride's Well for over 1,000 years. They still do. Pilgrims wishing to bathe are welcome to do so, at the following times, or by special arrangement with the Custodian:

1 April - 30 September: 09.00-10.00 and 16.00-17.00
1 October - 31 March: 10.00 - 11.00 and 15.00-15.30


For all other events at the Well or to arrange a pilgrimage or group visit, contact Custodian on 01352 713054 for details.Tel: 01352 713054

Directions:

Parking is available in the Town Centre Car Parks in Holywell. It is just a short walk down the hill to the Holy Well

 

Please - click on the pictures - for enlarged pictures of St Winefride's Holywell. © All pictures and text copyright Bernard Wellings

St Winefride's Chapel on the left with St James' Church on the right The sacred well pool in the Well Chamber below the Chapel of St Winefride's
St Winefride's Chapel on the left with St James' Church on the right
 
The spring wells up in the sacred well pool in the Well Chamber below the Chapel of St Winefride's
The decorative vaulted ceiling of the Well Chamber   The outdoor bathing pool at St Winefride's
The decorative vaulted ceiling of the Well Chamber
 
The outdoor bathing pool at St Winefride's
Stone corbels depicting animals at St Winefride's Chapel Carved stone grotesques on St Winefride's Church
Stone corbels depicting animals at St Winefride's Chapel
 
Carved stone grotesques on St Winefride's Church

More ancient Welsh Churches :

 

Related tourist information links :

The town of Mold > Flint Castle > Rhuddlan Castle > Welsh Borders and Offa's Dyke Path > Mountain Bike Trails on the Clwyd Hills > Flintshire >

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