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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 November 2005, 13:16 GMT
Site of pagan well to be restored
Llanllynfi well
The well at present is little more than a pile of stones
One of Wales' oldest wells, thought to be a pagan site rededicated by early Christians, is to be restored.

Ffynnon Rhedyw in Llanllyfni, near Caernarfon, is believed to be older than nearby St Rhedyw's church, which dates from 600AD.

Gwynedd Archaeological Trust hopes the project will set a precedent for similar projects around Wales.

A public meeting will be held at Llanllyfni Memorial Hall on 17 November (1830 GMT) to show villagers the plans.

"This site is an interesting example of a class of little-understood monuments which are numerous across Wales, but which are often overlooked," said David Thompson, the trust's head of heritage management.

"We hope it will set a precedent for future, similar, projects which seek to record and present local heritage," he added.

The well's restoration is one part of plans by the community group Menter Llyfni, which hopes to create a network of footpaths in the area to commemorate important people or events from the past.

Pagan site

Ffynnon Rhedyw's footpath would run from the church, through the cemetery, to the well site on nearby land.

A notice board will provide information on the well's background.

Llanllyfni Church is dedicated to Saint Rhedyw. No early written history exists, but there is a strong tradition that either he was born in the area or that he founded the first Christian church there.

St Rhedyw's feast day is 6 July, when Llanllyfni Fair is still held each year.

"Llanllyfni was an important pagan site, and pilgrims used to stop here on the way to Bardsey island," said Menter Llyfni chairman O P Huws.

An artist's impression of how the restored well will look

"I only discovered where exactly the well was about two years ago. It was very moving seeing the water come up from the ground," he said.

Mr Huws thinks the well will be an attraction both locally and to the many tourists who visit the region.

"It is very exciting that we have secured the funds to, at least, begin the restoration of this site," he added.

Resident Julie Williams, 33, whose Glanaber Terrace home is close to the village church, said: "I think it's a lovely idea to create a footpath and refurbish the well.

"It's especially interesting for the children in the village to know more about the history of the place."

The village of Llanllyfni itself has many other less ancient wells.

Mrs Williams' parents' home in the village was originally a bakery which used water for the baking from its own well. The original village well, Y Pistyll Bach (small spring) was situated over the road from their house.

"Later on the route from Ffynnon Rhedyw could be extended to include these other smaller wells, to preserve the village history for future generations," said Mrs Williams.

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