Discover St Seiriols Well, Penmon
by Max Pemberton
St Seiriol’s Well is a spring emerging from a cliff behind the church at Penmon.
It is reached by a path on the left, just beyond the car park, opposite the Dovecote, and skirting the monastic fishpond.
A slab floor surrounds the crystal clear spring with stone benches around the sides.
Springs were sacred to the ancient Celts and were used by the early Christians for baptism. The waters were also thought to have healing powers and were visited by the sick and infirm in the hope of a cure.
Although it was the source of water for the monastery, the present structures are relatively modern. The roofed inner chamber around the pool is of brick and dates from 1710.
One of the wall recesses once contained a slate bearing this date and the initials R B B surmounted by a coronet, indicating that it was built by the Bulkeley family, more specifically (Sir) Richard and (Lady) Bridget Bulkeley (RBB).
The wall surrounding the steps leading up to the Priory Church and Prior’s House also bears the same initials and coronet, and the date 1709.
While the lower courses and lower antechamber with seats on either side may be somewhat earlier, but no medieval finds have been made during excavations.
The foundations of what is believed to be St Seiriol’s Cell (c.AD 540) are to be seen near the well.
Attached to the cell on the level ground in front of the well was a small primitive building in which the surrounding inhabitants assembled for prayer and instruction.
Here is an account by Gaenor from Cardiff whose finger was healed by washing in the St Seiriol Well waters in July 2009.