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Sacred Well

Nearest Town:Tenby (2km ENE)
OS Ref (GB):   SN109009 / Sheet: 158
Latitude:51° 40' 28.1" N
Longitude:   4° 44' 6.87" W

Added by Rhiannon

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Visited 17.11.13

A short distance east of Manor Home Wildlife Park along the B4318.
A real ‘blink and you will miss it’ place - in fact we did and had to turn around and drive back up the road! There is a small sign pointing the way to the church and holy wells along a narrow track. There is a small car park next to the church.

Wow, what a great church / graveyard – this place ‘feels’ really old.

The church is well worth checking out and has a wonderful tiled floor.
There are stone steps leading down the slope, past the graves, from the church to the holy wells. Judging by the crosses / candles in evidence this is clearly a place still in use today.

The wells are right next to each other and you could see the water bubbling up from the base of them. The water looked really clear and I even had a taste of the water (something I don’t normally do) – it tasted ok.

I looked around for the standing stone Rhiannon mentions but couldn’t see it. Hopefully it is still here somewhere and I simply missed it. It would be a shame if it is no longer with us.

If you like old churches / graveyards (and holy wells!) then this is a ‘must see’ when in the area – well worth a visit.

I picked up an information leaflet in the church which gives no mention of any standing stone but does say this about the church / holy wells: (summery)

‘The healing qualities of the wells would have been sought out by the communities that settled throughout the fertile Ritec Valley from earliest times. By the 6th century Celtic saints were at Gumfreston possibly living in bee-hive huts and using the wells for baptism. There is evidence of a ‘Llan’ wall around the church meaning it was an early Christian burial ground with a small simple church. The church porch of today could be the remains of that earlier church, with its original door facing the wells.

Gumfreston would have been an important part of the Pilgrimage routes in Wales., both for itself and St Davids but also stopping off on their way to take a ship for Caldy Island, Llantwit Major, Ireland and Spain.

The wells and church today are still in constant local use and attract many visitors throughout the year who come as pilgrims for healing the mind and spirit.’
Posted by CARL
18th November 2013ce


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Look, I know it's a well, but this has got a stone (kind of) connected with it. I just report these things. You'll have to see if it's still there, if you're passing.
Welsh Folk-lore Items. -- At the Archaeological Association Congress at Tenby some interesting notes were given. The party having halted at Gumfreyston church it was noted that on the hillside, below the church, there is one of the holy wells which are not infrequent in Wales.

Some curious old customs connected with the parish were given in a paper prepared by Miss Bevan, from which it appears that within the last fifty years on Easter Day the villagers used to repair to a well called "the Pinwell," and throw a crooked pin into the water. This was called "throwing Lent away." The field in which this well is situate is called "Verwel"[..]

On Lammas Sunday little houses, called "Lammas Houses," were set up on "corse." They were made of sods, reeds, and sticks, and a fire was lighted inside them, and apples roasted, people paying a penny to go in and have a roasted apple.

At the bottom of the street, near the brook, is a large upstanding stone with a small round hole in the top, and there is a saying that until you have put your finger in this hole you cannot say you have been in St. Florence* church.
(*This is surely St Lawrence's church.)
From Notes and Queries
The Folk-Lore Journal, Vol. 2, No. 11. (Nov., 1884), pp. 348-351.

A Topographical Dictionary of Wales (S. Lewis, 1833), as quoted on the Genuki pages, mentions the 'highly medicinal properties' of the iron-rich springs, and the likelihood of Gumfreston being able to become a fashionable spot.

Some more info and pics on the Cistercian Way pages, here
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd April 2007ce
Edited 3rd April 2007ce