Ffynnon Gyngar lies in The Dingle close to the church of St Cyngar in the centre of Llangefni. The Dingle is a landscaped valley through which the River Cefni flows. The area, also known as Nant y Pandy was landscaped and developed as a nature reserve in 2003 providing boardwalks, sculptures and information signage leading to its winning a major urban wildlife award in 2004. The restoration and improvement around Ffynnon Gyngar date from a similar time, and the well is now one of the features of the area.
Little is known of the traditions of the well. The only source that appears to positively identify the well as St Cyngar’s is Enwau Lleoedd Môn (Anglesey Place Names) published in 1996. Prior to its restoration the well was known locally as Ffynnon y Plâs, after the 16th century house – Plâs – that stood nearby until its demolition in the 1940s. The woodland was identified on earlier maps as Coed Plâs, the well, although marked on the maps, isn’t named.
Cyngar, to whom church and well are dedicated, was a follower of St Cybi who founded his monastery at Holyhead, some accounts identify Cyngar as Cybi’s uncle. Cyngar was already old and infirm as he served with Cybi in Ireland. The story goes that at one time Cybi bought a cow and calf to provide milk to sustain Cyngar since he was unable to eat solid food. At one time the calf was removed and the cow would give no milk so that Cyngar almost died.
Eventually Cybi and his followers were ejected from Ireland and fled to North Wales. There is a point on the coast near Criccieth known as Ynys Gyngar where they are supposed to have initially stopped. Cybi’s well at Llangybi is a little to the north of this. Cybi was eventually given land at Holyhead by Maelgwn King of Gwynedd which he made his final resting place. We must assume that Cyngar moved north to Anglesey with him, leaving his mark at Llangefni which has been known as Llangyngar in the past. There was also a St Cyngar’s well at Hope near Wrexham, which has now vanished although the local church there still bears his name as does the church at Trefilian in Ceredigion.
The restoration of the well was undertaken as a Millennium Project in 1999 by the local Merched y Waur (Women”s Institute) after the presence of the well, its condition and possible link to the church had been drawn to the attention of the local council by Cymdeithas Ffynhonnau Cymru (the Welsh Wells Society). It was during this restoration that the walls creating a well basin were constructed, the well not formerly being contained. The plaque noting the attribution to the local Saint and the well’s restoration were also added. Following the restoration a consecration service was held, together will a well dressing in the Derbyshire style presenting an image of the saint in pressed flowers.
No traditions of any kind associated with the well have remained. There is a supposition that the water may at one time have been taken to the church for use in baptism and indeed a blocked of pathway remains that leads from the churchyard in the direction of the well.
Thus today we see n attractively preserved well forming a feature in a popular country park. It’s continuation into history as St Cyngar’s well seems assured even though it’s past is so much more uncertain.
Jones G and T Roberts(1996) Enwau Lleoedd Môn. Anglesey Council
Llygad y Ffynnon ( issues 4,5 and 6) 1998-1999. Cymdeithas Ffynhonnau Cymru
Ffynnon Gyngar SH45757586