Shrewsbury Abbey

St. Winefride

The Diocese of Lichfield

St Winefride -- Seventh-Century Welsh Martyr

St Winefride — Seventh-Century Welsh Martyr

Winefride, (Welsh: ‘Blessed Stream’) was the daughter of a seventh-century Welsh prince. She had taken a vow of celibacy. However, according to legend, Caradoc, a young nobleman, fell in love with her. One day, passions aroused, he made demands upon her which as a virgin and under her vow, she could not accept. She fled and he chased after her. He was so enraged at being rejected that when he caught her, he cut off her head, which rolled to where her uncle, St. Beuno, was at prayer nearby. At this spot, now called Holywell, a well of pure water sprang from the earth. Meanwhile, Caradoc fell to the ground, dead, and the earth opened up to swallow his body. St. Beuno replaced Winefride’s head on her body, and she lived. She became abbess of a nunnery at Gwytherin, North Wales, dying there fifteen years later. Her remains were brought to the Abbey in 1137.

St Winefride Window

The Guild of St. Winefride

In 1487 Abbot Thomas Mynde received a licence from King Henry VII to found the Guild of St. Winefride whose members were to offer daily prayers at her shrine for the King, the Abbot and the Guild and to support the church by prayer and thanksgiving.

In 1540, King Henry VIII dissolved the Abbey and with it, the Guild.

In 1987, the Guild was re-established to be a group of people who would contribute by prayer, gifts and service to the Abbey.

The Guild’s Activities:

  • Prayers for peace and hosts prayer workshops.
  • Arranges outings to cathedrals, churches and monasteries.
  • Provides money for the beautification of the Abbey.
  • Members assist in the Abbey shop and with the provision of refreshments.

Since its revival the Guild has provided:

  • Restoration of the High Altar Festival Frontal.
  • Restoration of paintings, including the reredos screen.
  • Renewing of the Communion rail.
  • Purchase of Legillium and Lectern Bible.
  • A portable font and statue of the Madonna and Child (Lady Chapel).
  • St. Winefride window and part cost of the Benedict window.
  • Votive candle stand in the Lady Chapel.
  • Refurbishment of Abbey notice board.
  • Contributions to improving the lighting and heating systems.
  • Provision of new Advent Candle stand.

St Winefride's Seal


Life Membership: £75

Yearly Membership: £10

For details, contact the Guild Secretary, Michael Purslow at 01743 – 232723 or

St Winefride Window

The Guild Prayer

God our Father, you give us joy

in honouring the memory of

St. Winefride.

May her example of courage and

faith be our inspiration.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord,