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St Winifred's Well

IN the seventh century there lived a virgin of the name of Winifred, the daughter of noble parents: her father, Thewith, was a powerful noble, and her mother was sister to St. Beuno. After founding his monastery at Clynnog, St. Beuno visited his relatives in Flintshire, and, obtaining from his brother-in-law a piece of land, caused a church and convent to be erected on it; in charge of the convent he placed his niece Winifred.

Caradoc, a neighbouring Prince, struck by her great beauty, tried to gain her in marriage, but, having dedicated herself to the service of God, Winifred would not listen to his suit. Thereupon the Prince attempted to carry her off by force, but she escaped from his hands and fled. Caradoc, enraged at his disappointment, pursued her, drew his sword and cut off her head. He instantly received the reward of his crime: he fell down dead, and the earth opening, swallowed his impious corpse. The severed head bounded down the hill and stopped near the church. Where it rested a great spring burst forth. St. Beuno, coming out of the church, where he had been preaching, took up the head and carried it to the corpse. After praying to God, he joined it to the body, and the virgin was restored to life, nor was there any sign of the wound to be seen other than a slender white line encircling her neck. Winifred lived fifteen years after this, and became the abbess of a convent at Gwytherin, in Denbighshire.

The spring which burst forth on the spot where her head rested is still flowing, and its stones are annually spotted with blood in commemoration of the miracle. Ever since it has been believed to have virtues like those of the Pool of Bethesda, and great multitudes of sick folic, blind, halt and withered step into it to be made whole of their diseases.

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