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Holywell

HOLYWELL (Tre'/ynnon, well-town), a market town and contributory parliamentary borough of Flintshire, N. Wales, situated on a height near the left bank of the Dee estuary, 196 m. from London by the London & North-Western railway (the station being 2 m. distant). Pop. of urban district (1901) 2652. The parish church (i 769) has some columns of an earlier building, interesting brasses and strong embattled tower. The remains of Basingwerk Abbey (Maes glas, green field), partly Saxon and partly Early English, are near the station. It is of uncertain origin but was used as a monastery before 1119. In 1131 Ranulph, 2nd earl of Chester, introduced the Cistercians. In 1535. when its revenues were 150, ^s. 3d., it was dissolved, but revived under Mary I. and used as a Roman Catholic burial place in 1647. Scarcely any traces remain of Basingwerk castle, an old fort. Small up to the beginning of the 19th century, Holywell has increasingly prospered, thanks to lime quarries, lead, copper and zinc mines, smelting works, a shot manufactory, copper, brass, iron and zinc works; brewing, tanning and mineral water, flannel and cement works. St Winifred's holy well, one of the wonders of Wales, sends up water at the rate of 21 tons a minute, of an almost unvarying temperature, higher than that of ordinary spring water. To its curative powers many crutches and ex voto objects, hung round the well, as in the Lourdes Grot, bear ample witness. The stones at the bottom are slightly reddish, owing to vegetable substances. The well itself is covered by a fine Gothic building, said to have been erected by Margaret, countess of Richmond and mother of Henry VII., with some portions of earlier date. The chapel (restored) is used for public service. Catholics and others visit it in great numbers. There are swimming baths for general use. In 1870 a hospice for poorer pilgrims was erected. Other public buildings are St Winifred's (Catholic) church and a convent, a town hall and a market-hall. The export trade is expedited by quays on the Dee.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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