Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Winefride

1050779Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 62 — Winefride1900Mary Bateson

WINEFRIDE (Welsh, Gwenfrewi) is the name of a legendary saint supposed to have lived in the seventh century. She is said to have been the daughter of Teuyth or Temic ap Eliud, of princely lineage, belonging to Tegengle, North Wales. Teuyth gave land to St. Beino, and put his daughter under his teaching. A chieftain, Caradoc ap Alaric or Alan, cut off the maiden's head, and when it touched the ground a spring appeared, namely, St. Winefride's Well or Holywell, Flint. The head was reunited to the body, and Winefride became abbess of Gwytherin.

There is no evidence that this legend is older than the twelfth century, in the course of which, about 1140, Robert of Shrewsbury [q. v.] found her relics, claimed them for Shrewsbury, and wrote her life. Leland's statement that a monk Elerius wrote a contemporary life is uncorroborated. A Welsh life, probably of the middle of the twelfth century (printed by Rees in Cambro-British Saints, pp. 16, 17, 198–209, 303), does not mention the translation of the relics, but otherwise closely resembles Robert's life.

[Robert's life is given in Surius, iv. 20, and Capgrave; Fleetwood's Life and Miracles of St. Winefride, with her Litanies; Hardy's Descr. Cat. I. i. 179–84, and the article in the Dict. of Christian Biogr.]

M. B.