St. WINEFREDE’S Well is located in Holywell, North Wales and is considered the holiest shrine in Wales. it claims to be the oldest, most continually visited pilgrimage site in Britain and is known as ‘ the Lourdes of Wales’.
Winefrede(Gwenffrwd or Gwenffrewi to use her actual name) lived in the 7th Centuary, was the daughter of a Welsh nobleman. Her other was the sister of St Beuno and closely related to the Kings of South Wales.
As a young maiden, a novice nun of noble birth, she was visited by Caradoc, a local chieftain’s son. Being smitten by her beauty, he tried to seduce her.She rejected his advances and in a violent rage he attempted to force himself upon her but Gwenffrwd managed to escape and run to a nearby chapel where a monk, her uncle, Beuno was preaching. However. The lustful chieftain caught up with her, drew his sword severed her head clean off.
The crime was quickly punished, according to legend, the ground roared, opened up and swallowed Caradoc. Gwenffrwd’s head rolled down the hillside, where it finally came to rest, a spring of water gushed forth.
Alerted by the commotion, the monk Beuno appeared, collected the head and replaced on his nieces shoulders. With the help of his prayers she was restored to life.
The spring became a pool and it is said that Beuno, later St Beuno, sat on a stone in the well pool and promised “that anyone who asked for a benefit from God in the name of St WINEFREDE’S would enjoy grace”.
For hundreds of years, the inflicted have continued to bathe in St WINEFREDE’S Well and to kneel on St Beuno’s Steps asking for her blessing. Until the 1960’s, the crypt was filled with abandoned crutches, a testimony to the healing powers of the waters, or perhaps the enduring faith of its visitors in Gwenffrewi, the seventh century Welsh nun