Welsh Journals

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The RUTHIN aeazme A SI0HTJ3LY J00RHAL FOR ALL CLASSES, To Inform. To Instruct. To Amuse. Wo. 13. Yol. II. FEBRUARY, 1880. TWO PENCE. HOLY WELL j IN AND ABOUT THE VALE OF CLWYD, BY THS BEV. KLIAS OWES, M.A.. "Wells have from prehistoric days been vener¬ ated in consequence of their being supposed to possess extraordinary virtue. There were wishing wells resorted to by the young ; cursing wells frequented by the disappointed and vindictive ; and curing or healing wells visited by the sick or infirm. Possibly the pure bubbling waters oc¬ casionally did good to the afflicted, and perhaps mental ailments were driven away by the associ¬ ations connecting the .distressed with their disease. It is generally believed that previous to the introduction of Christianity certain wells were eonsidered to be sacred by our Celtic forefathers. It was customary for the purpose of inverting the veneration of the people into another channel to erect churches in close proximity to these weils. It was a common thing to obtain water for the rite of baptism from these noly wells, and in this way they continued to be greatly esteemed by their votaries. We find many churches with holy wells V3ry near them, and the well is not uufre- quently named after the patron saint of the church ; thus, we have Ffynon Tecla in the parish of Llandegla. In such oases the well gave riso to the church and not the church to the well. With this introduction I will begin my account of the Holy Wells in and about the Vale of Clwyd. St. Tjscla's Whu.. This well was celebrated greatly in ancient times, and it was said to bo efficacious in epileptio fits. Its fame had spread far and near aud numerous were those who fre¬ quented it and many were said to have been cured by its waters. The well was called after St. Tecla, virgin and martyr, to whom the church is dedicated. Epilepsy was known locally as St. Tecla's disease. Many ceremonies were performed by those who came to be cured. These are mentioned by Pennant in his Tour. The patient first of all washed his limbs in the well, and then offered fourpence aud walked three times round the well repeating the Lord's Prayer each time. The ceremonies always began after sunset. If the patient were a male, he made an offering of a cock ; if a female, a hen. The fowl was iu the first place carried in a basket round the well, and there the suffered went and washed or bathed in Bertiinuiog well, which is about 50 miles, and it also is under St. Tecla's care. Afterwards oir- cumambulations were performed round the church which was afterwards entered. Then the votary got under the communion table and with a Bible for his pillow slept with the beak of the fowl iu his mouth till break of day ; before departing an offeriug of sixpence was made and the fowl was left iu the church porch in an old chest where also the key of th? church was left. If the bird died the cure was supposed to have been effected, and the disease was thought to have been trans¬ ferred thereto. Upon visiting the well it was found to be in an entirely neglected condition. It has a few border stones still around three of its sides, but ifr is overgrown with brushwood ami filled with mud. The spring though is still as fresh and active as it was when Cfflsar invaded Britain, or when Bran preached the gospel. But its fame has departed though its virtue is novr undoubtedly as great as it ever was. (To be oontinued.)