For modern men and women, it is not so much the wonderful restorations to health which happened and still happen at the Well which pose a problem of belief and understanding, but the double "miracle" at the heart of the medieval legend of St Winefride which initiated the pilgrimage and the sequence of healings - the sudden appearance of the water and the resurrection of the dead woman. How is one to interpret the legend, without explaining away the truth that countless numbers of people down the centuries have found at its core?
Of course, before modern times these miracles presented no real problem: to God, after all, all things were possible. Every Christian believed that the Son of God rose from the dead after His crucifixion; and before that Jesus had restored His friend Lazarus to life, in order, as He prayed to His Father, "that they may believe that Thou hast sent me" (St John 11:42).
The legend of St Winefride was only written down 500 years after the events it describes were said to have occurred. But it is important to recognise that Winefride and Beuno were real people who had really lived in 7th-century Wales.
Their written "Lives" are not history as this is understood today, but symbolic explorations of such facts about them that local oral tradition had preserved. Historians are free to interpret this rich mixture of fact and legend as best fits all the information.
An economical explanation would tell us that the Well was always here, but took on a new meaning in the light of the events that happened beside it in the 7th century; and then with time this meaning suggested to tradition that the Well itself was new. Beuno's own medieval Welsh "Life" strongly suggests that he had an extraordinary power to heal troubled minds. Perhaps it was that Winefride was not killed in the brutal rape attack, but was severely wounded and traumatised, to be nursed back to mental and physical health, to "new life", by St Beuno. Both "Lives" of St Winefride stress the scars that she bore to the end of her life.