Saturday, February 09, 2008

The Holy Wells of Anglesey



Recently, some members of U3A Anglesey Branch have formed an Archaeological Group. For our first project - suggested by the Gwynedd Arcaeological Trust - we are going to locate and record all details surrounding the Holy Wells of Anglesey. U3A is an organisation formed to give retired men and women an opportunity to feed their minds. Its full title is University of the Third Age. The first age is that of child hood and education; the second is that of work and adulthood; the third age is that of retirement. The word, University, is used in its earlier meaning which did not require exams and qualifications.

The photo at the top of this blog is of St Sieriol's Well close to Penmon Priory, a short distance from Beaumaris. The well is now sheltered by an old brick structure. The brick structure probably dates from the 18th century. Close by can be seen the old foundations which are all that is left of Sieriol's cell.

Springs were sacred to the ancient Celts, and were often used by the early Christians for baptisms. Indeed, we know of at least one holy well near Cemaes Bay which is actually a stream. It may be that, as we progress, we shall discover more wells which take the form of a small stream.

During Spring and Summer this year, our group will be travelling all over the island in search of the many wells of which we have heard. If you happen to know the location of any of these wells it would be appreciated if you would get in touch with us to help us find them and record details of them. If you have any information please email me as follows:

keith@alexander54.freeserve.co.uk

Some of the ancient wells are said to have certain healing qualities. The well of St Gallgo, just off the A5025 and to the south west of the church, is said to be good for healing and a pin thrown into the water was once thought to bring good luck. On the other hand, near St Gredifael's church, a mile from the village of Penmynydd, nthere is a well which is said to be able to cure warts after they have first been pricked by a pin! So, you see, Anglesey turns out to be a healthy place to live.

I have never come across any place in England or Wales that is quite so full of prehistoric remains and monuments as Anglesey. For the most part this was brought about by people crossing from Ireland to see what opportunities existed on this side of the water. For instance, the passage burial chamber Barclodiad y Gawres at Porth Trecastell is constructed in the style of very similar monuments found in Ireland. As for standing stones, the island abounds with them. Sadly, although we have so many standing stones we know absolutely nothing about them as is the case elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Only in the case of those found in circles have archaeologists been able to provide an interpretation.

3 Comments:

Blogger Mishel said...

great idea finding our wells.
next spring i plan to walk the 125miles of coast( think it ll take a week)I plan to make a visual diary.I'd like to visit monument and springs and spiritul places as i go. look forward finding your re discovered wells .

8:33 pm  
Blogger Andrew C Ross said...

Hi we have stayed on Anglesey 5 times in the last 4 years and will be bringing a hristian walking group to Minffordd at Easter. We are interested in seeing some of the old wells. We have seen St Ceriol's at Penmon and the Boston sulphur well and tried to find St Gwenfaen's Well, Rhoscolyn, but is was going dark at the time and we were unsuccessful. Do you know of any more accessible wells?

7:25 pm  
Blogger Andrew C Ross said...

Hi we have stayed on Anglesey 5 times in the last 4 years and will be bringing a hristian walking group to Minffordd at Easter. We are interested in seeing some of the old wells. We have seen St Ceriol's at Penmon and the Boston sulphur well and tried to find St Gwenfaen's Well, Rhoscolyn, but is was going dark at the time and we were unsuccessful. Do you know of any more accessible wells?

7:26 pm  

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