Holywell has been a place of pilgrimage since the seventh century. It is the only shrine in Britain that can show an unbroken history of pilgrimage to the present day.
The town gets its name from the shrine. “We know not when the place first began to be called Holywell, probably very soon after the Saint’s death, Father Dykes tells us that the first mention of the place in the reign of Henry the Second, about 1150, names it as Holywell; it was then but a small village, and long afterwards it grew into a town. All through the middle ages, we are told, “devotees from all parts of Christendom” were in the habit of coming to the Well, and it doubtless was an inducement for the foundation of a monastery at Basingwerk, about a mile from the site of the fountain.” (Mother Magdalen Taylor, St Winefride, or, Holywell and its Pilgrims.)
We gratefully remember all the saintly Priests who served our church and kept alive the flame of faith even during the darkest times of Reformation when catholic priesthood was considered a deadly crime. Their faith and commitment remain as a perpetual source of inspiration.