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St John's Well aka Sandford's or de Sanford's Well

A Grade II Listed Building in Porthcawl, Bridgend

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Latitude: 51.483 / 51°28'58"N

Longitude: -3.6767 / 3°40'36"W

OS Eastings: 283667

OS Northings: 177336

OS Grid: SS836773

Mapcode National: GBR H8.KV6M

Mapcode Global: VH5HH.7Z3J

Entry Name: St John's Well aka Sandford's or de Sanford's Well

Listing Date: 17 February 1998

Last Amended: 17 February 1998

Grade: II

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 19356

Building Class: Water Supply and Drainage

Location: On the SE edge of the Village Green, S of St John's churchyard as the road slopes down to the sea and to the site of former port of Newton.

County: Bridgend

Town: Porthcawl

Community: Porthcawl

Community: Porthcawl

Locality: Newton

Built-Up Area: Porthcawl

Traditional County: Glamorgan

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De Sanford, a crusading Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, is one of the possible founders of the church here in late C12. As the successor to Richard de Cardiff he was granted land in Novam Villam (ie Newton) Margan (ie Glamorgan) by William Earl of Gloucester between 1147 and 1183. Newton is registered as having a creek or port in several documents of C16 and this well is situated adjacent to sea road, the port referred to by Leland in 1539 as a 'station or haven for shippes'. Well is described in a poem in Latin by Sir John Stradling of St Donat's Castle printed in Britannia 1607 with translation 1610; this refers specifically to its characteristic of appearing empty when the tide is in and full when tide is out, an effect caused by fissures acting as valves reacting to air pressures: 'For as the Nymph (Severn/Sabrina) doth rise the Spring doth fall. Go she back, he com's on in spite and fight continuall.' Long reputed to have magical and curative properties, a tradition revived by Dr Hartland in 1920s/30s who set up an open air Spa on Newton beach, the stone dispensing slab of which is still in situ. R D Blackmore, author of The Maid of Sker and Lorna Doone, refers to 'the sand coming out of its 'nostrils' when it first begins to flow'. May Day bonfires traditionally lit adjacent to well. Refurbished late C20.


Consists of a gated rubble stone entrance doorway to, and side walls of, a long descending flight of stone steps with stone slab roof and limewashed interior. At street level to side right set in a walled recess is a semi circular stone basin with iron pump in wall to rear and stone drainage channel right.

Reasons for Listing

Listed as a surviving well, one of three in the neighbourhood, of considerable historic importance over a long period.

Other nearby listed buildings

  • II Churchyard Cross
    In the churchyard near the S porch of the Church of St John the Baptist.
  • II Crown House
    Facing the Village Green in the centre of Newton Village.
  • I Church of St John the Baptist
    In the centre of the old village of Newton with two sides of the rectangular churchyard fronting the village green; main access at WSW.
  • II The Old School
    Opposite the Village Green and church and churchyard of St John the Baptist, at the foot of Clevis Hill which rises steeply to the rear.
  • II ,22,Newton Nottage Road,Newton,Porthcawl,MID GLAMORGAN,CF36 5PF
    At the W end of the old village, set back from the road behind rubble walled front garden, detached to right; almost opposite Tudor Cottage, also listed.
  • II Tudor Cottage
    At the W end of old village, close to The Globe Inn and almost opposite number 22, the thatched house, also listed. Set back behind narrow rubble walled forecourt.
  • II Danygraig House
    To NE of Newton village on rising ground, reached by a short drive with wooded hillside to rear. At entrance to drive is a lodge on right and inside left a coach house with walled courtyard also inco
  • II Manor Farmhouse
    At the foot of Newton Down, a little N of Newton village, surrounded by conifers and reached by a track off the main road.

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