“The First Mirror as a place of the sun at night” as Nigel Pennick says in his book Celtic Sacred Landscapes. You cant help looking into the deep waters and thinking about all the faces who had peered in for maybe thousands of years! From the depths of the earth the water bubbles to the surface and its not surprising that these wells have become more than just places to get water . Marie Flanders Well at Southerndown ,the walk to the well along an old drovers path fuels the imagination as the landscape probably has not changed much for centuries , and another mystery rises out of the past , who was Marie Flanders ?
Some Welsh Wells are finding new life like the recently the restored Taff’s Well which is said to have healing properties and was very popular even in the 19th century .Ladies would have hung a bonnet outside to show that they were taking the waters, so they would not be viewed by other pilgrims looking to be cured .
Also the Salmons Wells named after Dr William Salmon at Penllyn and not the home of a fortune telling fish who is bit of a red herring , the well has been used for at least six centuries and has a saints niche in the second of its three springs gives us little clues as to the importance of these sights .Penllyn is also reputed to be the home of beautiful mythical dragons which fly around the little village .
The big question is do we leave ribbon or a small offering as thanks or prayer.Some of the wells have healing properties and some have been lost like St Barruchs Well on Barry Island the Island being named after this dutiful Priest .
Cowbridge is a little town full of wells that are hidden in the restaurants and shops and great fun to spot !
One thing is for sure when I visit one of the South Wales Wells I hope I will not be needing a bonnet to hang outside I hope !