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OCMM Pilgrimage to Sacred Sites in Wales



Holywell in Flintshire is regarded as the finest surviving example of a Medieval holy well in Britain. It is the only shrine in Britain that has an unbroken tradition of pilgrimage since the early Medieval period.

The site was originally chosen by the holy hermit St Beuno who built a chapel there. One day his niece Winefride, attempting to escape the attentions of the local chieftain Caradoc, fled to Beuno's chapel for safety. Before she could reach the doors she was overtaken by Caradoc who in his rage beheaded the young girl. A holy spring appeared at the place where her head came to rest. When St. Beuno saw what had happened he cursed Caradoc who fell dead at the holy hermit's feet. The saint went on to re-attached Winefride's head to her body and she was miraculously restored to life. Winefride eventually became the Abbess of a religious house in Shrewsbury. 

The holy well became site of pilgrimage and healing and in 1490, the Countess of Richmond and mother of King Henry VII, had a two-storied chapel built over the well.

Whatever the truth about the legend of Winefride and her well, she was a real historical figure and she has been venerated as a saint in Wales since the 7th Century.