Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Well, Well, Well.



Right, you asked for this:  an extensive, but frustratingly un-comprehensive, list of wells which exist or once existed in Angus, with informative notes.  Who could resist?  In fact, nobody asked for this at all, but you’re going to get it anyway.  Some of these astounding springs have been mentioned before and I have helpfully labelled these with an asterisk [thus *].  Names in the list with square brackets denote wells in locations where the specific name of the well is either unknown or unsure, so the location as been used instead.   Apologies in advance for failing to distinguish between healing wells, holy wells and miscellaneous wells.

   Hold on to your hats and we’ll begin, with a hot hundred or thereabouts of the hottest springs:

1. Aberneathan Well, two miles NW of Kiriemuir.  Possibly from the Pictish personal name Nechtan,  either St Nechtan or King Nechtan?
2. Agricola Well.  At Castleton, Eassie, a reputed Roman site; supposed to have been named by locals after the Roman general, but more probably given the name by a local antiquary.
3. [Balmossie Den*], near Broughty Ferry.
4. Barrel Well, Brechin.
5. Batties Well, Haughead, Arbirlot.
6. Battle Well, Battle Drum, Montreathmont Moor, Brechin.
7. Beardie’s Well, Brechin. A well which was on the north side of the Nether Wynd in Brechin, supposedly the property of the Earls of Crawford.  This well was therefore supposed to be linked with Alexander, the 4th Earl of Crawford, one of whose nicknames was Beardie.
8. Bell’s Witter, Clach of Glentaire, Clova.
9. [Benvie*]  Well haunted by the White Lady since plague times.
10. Bra Well, Stracathro.
11. Camperdown or Cammerdown Well, Dunnichen.  This was renamed after  the late 18th century naval encounter won by Duncan of Lundie. It was originally St Causnan’s Well (there was a St Causnan’s Chapel nearby.)  Causnan again is a colloquial form of Constantine.  Local dignitary George Dempster took it upon himself to give the spring its new name following the battle.
12. Camp Well, near the site of supposed Roman site at Campmuir, Kettins.
13. Cardinal’s Well, south of Lownie Hill, near Dunnichen.  Local tradition says it was named after Cardinal Beaton, who favoured this spot.  The cardinal is also associated with many castles in Angus. It was said that the water from the well was conveyed for some special use at Arbroath Abbey.
14. Carlin Well*, Craigton of Airlie.  Now vanished and named after the Cailleach, the Old Hag of Scottish Folklore. Adjacent is Carlinwell Farm.
15. Cartyheugh Well, Kelly Den, St Vigeans.
16. Cattle Well, Lochmill, near Kirriemuir.
17. Chapel Well, near Whitemire, Aberlemno.
18. College Well, St Michael’s Mount, Brechin.
19. Corryvannoch Well*, on the slopes of Mount Keen.  The most famous healing well in Angus where pilgrimages would be made and sick children carried.
20. Craig Well, Lundie.
21. Cuttle Well, the Den, Kirriemuir.  One of the more conspicuous and best loved wells in Angus, it has been damaged in recent times by land slips and is ripe for restoration.

Long gone children play around the Cuttle Well, Kirrie Den.

22. Docken Well, Lintrathen.
23. Dripping Well, Arbroath.
24. Droustie’s Well*, Lochlee, near the home of the Dark Age saint.  Also, more formally known  as St Drostan’s Well.  It was located in a field named ‘Piper’s Shade’ and cured all sorts of diseases.  When some jealous healers poisoned the well some locals stones them to death and buried them in a circle around the spring.
25. Duckladge Well, Lintrathen.
26. Dundas Well, Pitlivie Moor, Arbirlot.
27. God’s Well, Arbirlot.
28. Golan Well, Auchenchapel, Glen Isla.
[Hangie’s Well, Cargill.  This is a  dubious example, cited by Andrew Jervise in Memorials of Angus and the Mearns, in that Cargill is in Perthshire and not Angus(so we won't count it), though Jervise states that it may have been in Angus once.  The well was on the property of a local hangman and, when it was excavated, a large number of human bones were found here.  So good a tale that we forgive the Perthshire-ness of the location.]
29. Hassock Well, North Whitehills, Forfar.
30. Helly Well, near Shelterfield, Arbirlot.
31. Hen Well, east of Finavon Hill.  Note nearby place-name Henwellburn.
32. Hogg’s Well, Fairy Knowe, Dunnichen
33. Holy Well, Balnaboth, Cortachy.  Near ancient church ruins.
34. Holy Well, Broughty Ferry.
35. Hore Well, Lundie.
36. Horse Well, Smithton Hill, Lundie.
37. Iron Harrow Well, south of Hayston Hill, Tealing.
38. Jenkin’s Well, in Balrownie Wood, Menmuir.
39. King’s Well, Carmyllie.
40. King’s Well, Newtyle.
41. [Kirkden Well] renowned for reducing swelling in feet and legs.
42. Knellock Well,  Gallows Hill, Inverarity.
43. Lady Well, Auchterhouse.
44. Lady Well, Brechin.
45. Lady Well, Dundee.  Perpetuated in the name of the pub Ladywell Tavern and in the Wellgate, Dundee.  ‘The Well of the Blessed Marie de Dundee’ was a holy site in the medieval burgh and was one of the primary water sources for the city until it was demolished on the construction of Victoria Road in 1872.

Ladywell Tavern Dundee, where many a thirst has been quenched.

46. Lady Well, Farnell.
47. Lady Well, Chapelton, Menmuir
[Note also the place-name Ladlewell, east of Forfar:  possibly a corruption of Lady Well?]
48. Lammer Well, St Vigeans.
49. Lanuner Well, by Newton Hill, near Arbroath.
50. [Logie-Pert*]  well in kirk-yard, used to treat sores.
51. Lunan Well, Lunanhead Forfar.
52. McComie’s Well*, Glen Isla.
53. Madie's Well, on the banks of the Lunan, Kinnell.  Nearby was Madie's Heugh.  Possibly a corruption of parish patron St Maelrubha (or other wise Magdalen?).
54. Maid’s Well,  Rescobie.  Any connection with St Triduana who once reputedly lived here?
55. Marywell, Craig parish (anciently Inchbrayoch), close to the coastal village of Usan.
56. Mary Well, Kirriemuir.  Recalled in the local name Marywell  Brae.
57. Mary’s Well, Edzell.
58. Mary’s Well, St Vigeans.
59. Matty’s Well, Panbride.
60. May’s Well, Dunnichen.
61. Medicine Well, Idvies, also known as Medicie Well.
62. Medicine Well, Montrose.  This was, for a short spell in the 18th century, a fashionable spa.
63. Meg Blair’s Well, Lochlee.
64. Monk’s Pool, Kirkton, Lochlee.
65. Monk’s Well, St Vigeans.
66. Naughty Well, Kinnell.  Is this a colloquial corruption of an older (Celtic?) name?  We would love to get to the bottom of this one. The well was close to the ancient chapel of Bolshan.
67. Neil's Well, near the kirk of Kingoldrum.
68. Nettle Well, near Edzell.
69. Nickie’s Well, Witchwood, St Vigeans.
70. Nine Maidens’ Well, Bracken Bruach, Auchterhouse.
71. Ninewells, Dundee.  Close to the River Tay, on the west of the city.  Now commemorated as the name of the largest hospital in the region.
72. Nine Wells, Finavon.  On the hill above the old kirk.  A burn trickles down from the spot.
73. Nine Maiden’s Well, Forfar.  Located in the vicinity of Craig O’ Loch Road.
74. Nine Maiden’s Well, Kirkton of Strathmartine.  Near the kirk, this is importantly in the vicinity of the folk-tale of Martin and the Nine Maidens.
75. Nine Maiden's Well, Cortachy.  Near the church.
76. Nine Wells, Glamis.  The supposed home of the Nine Maidens, in Glen Ogilvy, was located within Glamis parish.
77. Nine Wells, close to Peallock Quarry, Lunan.
78. Nine Wells, Oathlaw.

[Few other areas in Great Britain have so many Nine Wells/Nine Maiden’s Wells, which points to a significant  local cult in the area which became Angus.]

79. Pater Well, near Deerpark Cottage, Kinnaird.
80. Paterlochwell, near Cottarward, Dunnichen.
81. Peatmire Well, Black Wood, Arbirlot.
82. Purdie’s Well, near Ochterlony, Rescobie.
83. Queen’s Well*, Glenmark, Lochlee.  Re-named in honour of Queen Victoria, but originally named Tobar na clachan gualaich, the Well of the White Stone.
84. St  Aidan’s Well, Kirkton of Menmuir.
85. St  Andrew’s Well, Monikie.
86. St Andrew’s Well, Lintrathen.
87. St Anthony’s Well, Auchterhouse.  On Henderson Hill, marked as ‘disused’ on modern maps.
88. St Bride’s Well, Templeton, Nevay.
89. St Columba’s Well, Shielhill, Kirriemuir.
90. St Fergus Well*, Glamis.
91. St Innen’s Well, Fern.  Located in a place named Wellford.
92. St Iten’s Well, Menmuir.  The name is probably a corruption of Aidan, the patron of Memuir parish.  (Same as no. 83?)
93. St John’s Well, Guynd.
94. St Kane’s Well, Monifieth.
95. St Madden’s Well, Airlie.
96. St Martin’s Well, Bridgend, Lethnot.
97. St Martin’s Well, St Martin’s Den, Logie.  Famous for curing scurvy.
98. St Mary’s Well, Oathlaw.
99. St Mary’s Well, Rescobie.
100. St Murdoch’s Well, West Drum, Brechin.
101. St Ninian’s Well, Arbroath.
102. St Peter's Well, Tealing.
103. St Ringan’s Well, Arbirlot.
104. St Sinavy’s Well*, or Sunny Vie, near Mains Castle, Dundee.
105. St Trodlin’s Well, Rescobie.  Named after Triduana.
106. St Vivian’s Well, Fern.
107. Scots Well, Lochee.
108. Scotston Well, Auchterhouse.
109. Seggie Well, Carmylie.
110. Silver Hill, St Vigeans.
111. Sinruie Well, Kirkden. Possibly corrupted from St Maelrubha?
112. Sod’s Well, east of Grange of Conon, St Vigeans.
113. Tannie's Well, Kinnell.  Another well whose name may be a corruption of an older name.
114. Tothel Well, West Mill, Dunnichen.
115. The Tottler, Milto of Conon, Carmyllie.
116. Well of Bowhale, Glen Isla.
117. Whey Wells, Fern.
118.  Witch’s Pool, Kirriemuir.
119.  Wormiehills Well*.  Well and place-name near Arbroath.