The holy wells of Wales are one of its best keep secrets. Here, photographer Phil Cope, selects 42 of his favourites and reveals their histories, mystery and, stunningly, their physical appearance. The wells range from almost invisible rock strewn holes in fields and rocky outcrops, to commercialised spas in mid Wales and the full-blown pilgrimage sites of healing, like Holywell in north east Wales. Sacred for many centuries before Christianity the churches often attached to wells are the latest religious accretions on a spiritualism based on leylines and other, now ‘new age’ philosophies. The book is one of record: the number of well in Wales has decreased from almost two thousand fifty years ago to perhaps a few hundred today.
Evocative, atmospheric, surprising and ornate, the wells of Wales make this a fascinating and beautiful book which will be much valued by tourists, historians, believers and photographers.
Phil Cope is a photographer, writer, teacher, and cultural exhibition designer whose recent subjects have included the footballer John Charles, Paul Robeson and Wales and the Spanish Civil War.