According to the legend, St Winefride's Well first erupted at the spot where her would-be rapist Caradog cut off her head with his sword. Restored to life at the prayers of her uncle St Beuno, Winefride lived as a nun until her second death some 22 years later. Whatever the exact truth of her legend, Winefride herself was real rather than legendary, and the extraordinary and enduring personality of this 7th-century Welsh woman has meant that she has been venerated as a saint ever since the moment of her death. Since that time, too, her Well at Holywell has been a place of pilgrimage and healing – the only such place in Britain with a continuous history of public pilgrimage for over 13 centuries.
The present Shrine building is a glorious 2-storey Late Perpendicular Gothic building erected in the first years of the 16th century, and is unique in the world. It is a Grade I Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument . The Well precinct also houses an Interpretive Exhibition setting forth the story of the saint and her shrine in detail; and the Victorian former custodians' house has been converted to house a museum of the pilgrimage.