Ffynnon Tegla (St Tegla’s Well)

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  1. Ian Topham says:

    Re: Ffynon Tegla (St Tegla’s Well)
    It is generally thought that Tegla is a Welsh form of Tecla, but could the two be separate people? Tristan Gray Hulse in an article entitled ‘Wells in Depth’ says ‘The identity of the Welsh saint Tegla was so far forgotten at Llandegla by the high middle ages that she was apparently identified, at least liturgically, with the possibly apocryphal but certainly far more famous first-century saint Thecla of Iconium (that a dark age Welsh woman should bear her name is testimony to the early and widespread nature of her cultus). Thecla was renowned for the cure of epilepsy, among other illnesses, and birds of all sorts were offered at her sanctuary at Seleucia, where they lived out their lives in a kind of sacred aviary, in association with the practice of sacred incubation and the cultic use of her holy well. The Seleucian cult was fully articulated centuries before the time of St Tegla; and even assuming an undemonstrable occurrence of fowl-offerings at Llandegla in the pre-Reformation period, and noticing that Celtic Christians had received the cult of saints from the older Churches already fully formed, it is inherently more probable that the Llandegla cult was modelled, either deliberately or unconsciously, upon the antecedent cult of the Seleucian saint, than that it represents a survival of Classical paganism in a North Wales which exhibits singularly little evidence of any such.’