The Journal Of Antiquities

Ancient Sites In Great Britain & Southern Ireland

St Celynnin’s Well, Llangelynnin, Gwynedd.

OS grid reference: SH 75145 73714. The isolated little church of Llangelynnin stands at over 900 feet above sea-level on the moors above the Conwy Valley, 2 miles west of Henryd and 3 miles south of Conwy. At the south-west corner of the lonely, bare churchyard and almost hidden under a tree, is St Celynnin’s holy well (Ffynnon Gelynnin).

Long ago sickly children were immersed in the water of the well in the hope of a miraculous cure. Items of the child’s clothing were placed into the water to help the cure along. The square-shaped well is surrounded by a walled enclosure with stone benches but the roof of what was once the bathhouse has long gone. The water was used for baptismal purposes in the ancient church, though whether this still happens today I don’t know as the church is only used during the summer months, and pilgrims do not frequent the place as often as they did in times gone by.

The place is very peaceful. A solitary place indeed for a hermit saint to come to live back in the 6th century AD. St.Celynnin was the son of prince Helig ab Glanawg. He came as a missionary to Wales from Brittany along with his brother St.Rhychwyn (who lived as a hermit further down the valley at Llanrhyhwyn). The little church here at Llangelynnin dates from 1350 but an earlier building stood on the site – perhaps the one founded by St.Celynnin himself. The remains of an ancient hut circle can be seen in the churchyard.