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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
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.
Built-Up Area: Porthcawl
Traditional County: Glamorgan
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.
Listed as a surviving well, one of three in the neighbourhood, of considerable historic importance over a long period.
Other nearby listed buildings