Ffynnon Barruc (St Barruc’s Well)
St Barruc’s Well is today capped and the once healing waters were diverted to make way for a Butlins holiday camp in 1965. Luckily though descriptions of the well survive. Wirt Sykes in British Goblins (1881) tells us that ‘on Barry Island, near Cardiff, is the famous well of St. Barruc, or Barri, which was still frequented by the credulous up to May, 1879, at which time the island was closed against visitors by its owner, Lord Windsor [Robert George Windsor-Clive, 1st Earl of Plymouth (Born 27 August 1857 – Died 6 March 1923) ], and converted into a rabbit warren. Tradition directs that on Holy Thursday he who is troubled with any disease of the eyes shall go to this well, and having thoroughly washed his eyes in its water, shall drop a pin in it. The innkeeper there formerly found great numbers of pins — a pint, in one instance — when cleaning out the well. It had long been utterly neglected by the sole resident of the island, whose house was a long distance from the well, at a point nearer the main land; but pins were still discovered there from time to time.’ It is sometimes suggested that as part of the healing ritual a rag would also be tied on a nearby bush.
The well is thought to have been close to the ruined remains of St Barruc’s Chapel, possibly, according to one suggestion in its graveyard and therefore perhaps close to where the 6th century St Barruc was buried. It has been suggested that a holiday chalet may have been built over the actual well when Butlins was built. In 1996 the holiday camp closed and the site has been redeveloped. As of 2005 all the buildings associated with the camp have been cleared and therefore the map below cannot give the exact location of the lost well, just a close approximation.