St. Dyfnog’s well

A couple of minutes’ walk out of the gates of Oak View Lodge Park you will find the truly amazing historical site of St. Dyfnog’s well.

Dyfog is said to have come from a wealthy family but chose to take the simple life and become a monk. Saint Dyfnog chose to settle in an isolated wooded area with a spring-fed stream and later built a small wooden church which is now on the site of the current Church of St Dyfnog at Llanrhaeadr.

The water springs from the hillside in several places and collects in a large spa like pool with steps down into the water for the faithfull.

According to tradition, St Dyfnog lived at the site during the 6th century and did penance by standing under the torrent of water for extended periods of time, wearing a thick horsehair shirt fastened with an iron belt.


Healing waters

In the 16th Century the well was recorded as a site with ‘strong water’ that could cure ailments. The poet Dafydd ap Llywelyn ap Madog paid tribute to Dyfnog in his works claiming that the waters cured a pain from his ribs.

Over time, devotion to the saint increased and the healing powers became well known. Many people made the pilgrimage to bathe in the waters and pray, in the hope that their aliments would be cured. The waters of the well were reputed to be particularly effective for skin conditions, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Most visited holy well

In the Middle Ages it was thought that the well was one of the most visited holy wells and generated great wealth for the local area. When pilgrims visited the well, they would leave a donation to be used for the upkeep of the well and the church. St Dyfnog received so many donations he was able to buy the elaborate 16th century Tree of Jesse, a stained-glass window that now sits in the church nearby.

The well was particularly popular during the 16th and 18th century, and various additional structures were built to accommodate the many pilgrims. At one point the bottom of the stone bath is said to have been lined with marble and several changing rooms built.

Over the next hundred years the well and the surrounding areas fell into neglect to the point where the baths were choked up and there was little evidence of the former buildings.

Visiting St Dyfnog’s Well

Visit the well today and you will find a beautiful and magical site. The well remains a popular place for pilgrims; in fact some churches have visited the well to conduct baptisms using the water of the well. There is still evidence of the landscaped woodland path which winds over several stone bridges. In recent times a local committee have made an amazing job of restoring the well.

The restoration project began in 2012 when over fifty local residents came together to raise concerns about the state of St Dyfnog’s well after the partial collapse of a bridge next to the well basin.

St Dyfnog’s Well is located at Llanrhaeadr, Denbighshire. The well, which isn’t signposted, can be accessed from the church. A path runs up the left-hand side of the church and then follows the stream through the woods. The well is about 200 yards behind the church.

Follow the link to find out more information about the restoration of St Dyfnog’s Well.

Images – Wikipedia & St Dyfnog’s Well Charity