Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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A Scheduled Monument in St. David's and the Cathedral Close (Tŷddewi a Chlos y Gadeirlan), Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

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Latitude: 51.8793 / 51°52'45"N

Longitude: -5.2689 / 5°16'8"W

OS Eastings: 175104

OS Northings: 225129

OS Grid: SM751251

Mapcode National: GBR C5.RXCP

Mapcode Global: VH0TL.M1D5

Entry Name: Whitewell

Scheduled Date: 6 February 1997

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 3488

Cadw Legacy ID: PE482

Schedule Class: Health and Welfare

Category: Hospital

Period: Medieval

County: Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro)

Community: St. David's and the Cathedral Close (Tŷddewi a Chlos y Gadeirlan)

Built-Up Area: St Davids

Traditional County: Pembrokeshire


The monument consists of a medieval well and associated hospital. The hospital was founded around the ‘Whytwell’ by Bishop Bec (1280-1293) to care for sick clergy and endowed with property valued in 1326 at £5. Traces of a building with fine masonry were noted in the early nineteenth century at which time the well retained an arched covering. Ground survey has revealed that terraces and building platforms surround a natural spring rising a few metres behind the well's location. On the east is a broad terrace 8m wide the western edge of which shows the remains of a collapsed wall, to the south is a second more irregular platform and more distant on the west is a rectangular platform measuring 15m by 7m. Spreads of building debris, ridge tile and window glass have been detected. The surviving well structure of local form has a rectangular opening 0.65m high and 0.55m wide. The well head is made of roughly dressed blocks of local stone with a Caerbwdy sandstone threshold, rear slab and roof.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of water management and healthcare systems. It retains significant archaeological potential, with a strong probability of the presence of associated archaeological features and deposits. Its group value is further enhanced by being one of a of a number of well and chapel sites outside the Close of St David’s associated with pilgrims to the Cathedral.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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