Gwynedd Archaeological Trust
Regional Historic Environment Record

St. Seiriol's Holy Well and Cell, Penmon Priory

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 2540
Trust : Gwynedd
Community : Llangoed
Unitary authority : Ynys Mon
NGR : SH6305780797
Site Type (preferred type first) : Early Medieval HOLY WELL
Status : Scheduled Monument , Listed Building I, Cared for by the State

Summary :
Roughly 72 metres north-east of Penmon priory is St Seiriol's Holy Well. The well is actually a spring emerging from the cliff behind the priory church of St Seiriol, which provided water for the monastery, although it has since been modified.

The well is enclosed by a small rectangular building built against the rock face, the upper sections of which date to the 18th century. It has benches around three of the sides, and also has an open antechamber which has a bench on either side, and may be earlier in date. It has been suggested that these structures represent the chancel and nave of St Seiriol's chapel, while the remains of an oval structure nearby are thought to represent his dwelling. However, neither the date or purpose of this so-called 'cell' have ever been established. It is considered by some to be of unsuitable shape to be regarded as a 6th century hermitage, and there is no certain connection to St. Seiriol.

Description :
Holy well and remains of cell 80yds N-NE of St. Seiriol's church. (RCAHMW, 1937)

It is probable that this marked the settlement of St. Seiriol, (C6th) the founder of the religious community at Penmon. The double structure now enclosing the well representing chancel and nave of his chapel, and the adjoining oval hut his dwelling. The well is enclosed by a small rectangular structure, 7ft by 6ft, with an open forecourt 9ft square, from which it is entered. The structure is built against a vertical rock face which forms one side; the lower parts of the walls, showing a batter on the E side, are older than the upper portions and the roof, which date probably from the C18th and are partly of brick (see plan). Internally, a stone bench runs around three sides, and in the N and E walls are recesses, one of which is partly blocked by a slate slab with a coronet above the initials and date 'R B B 1710'. The floor is paved. The forecourt (9ft square) is surrounded by a low stone wall along the inner face of which is a stone bench.

Adjoining the courtyard in the SW and filling the space between it and the rock face is a recessed platform about 4ft 6in above courtyard level. Set in this are the stone foundations of an oval building 12ft 6in by 10ft 9in with a S entrance.

Condition good, cell overgrown. <2>

6th century possibly foundation of monks cell, ancient well with rectangular stone basin. 18th century brick superstructure. Ancient monument. (RCAHMW, Undated)

Old HER records part excavation by C. Smith (Inspector of Ancient Monuments) in 1984. No further information or sources given. <9>

Sources :
Longley, D. , 2006 , St. Seiriol's Church and Prior's House, Penmon ( © GAT)
Parry, I., Smith, G., and Hopewell, D. , 2011 , Cadw Scheduling Enhancement: Holy Wells
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales , RC Buildings Records
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales , 1937 , An Inventory of the Ancient Monuments in Anglesey
Waddington, K. , 2010 , Early Celtic Societies in North Wales
Waddington, K. , 2013 , The Settlements of Northwest Wales: From the Late Bronze Age to the Early Medieval Period
Ordnance Survey , 1967 , SH68SW 2 , <2>
, 1985 , PRN 2540 , <5>
Gem, R. , 2009 , The Archaeology of the Early Medieval Celtic Churches , <7>
Lynch, F. , 2009 , Anglesey Past Landscapes of the Coast , <8>
Steele, N. , 2009 , PRN 2540 , <9>
Longley, D. & Yates, M. , 2001 , Anglesey: A Guide to Ancient Monuments on the Isle of Anglesey , <10>

Events :
40667 : St Seriol's Church and Prior's House, Penmon (year : 2006)
44557 : Early Celtic Societies in North Wales (year : 2010)
45033 : Cadw Scheduling Enhancement: Holy Wells (year : 2011)

Related PRNs : 32173

Compiled date : 31-10-1986

Images :

The above data are supplied by GAT in partnership with its Local Authorities (Anglesey, Conwy and Gwynedd County Councils, and Snowdonia National Park Authority), © GAT 2019 (and in part © Crown, 2019 - as indicated)
This information is supplied for the purposes of personal interest only and may not be used as part of a commercial project.

March 22, 2019, 10:03 am - HTML file produced from Gwynedd Archaeological Trust Regional HER
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