Holy Well: OS Grid Reference – NS 91105 97510
Also Known as:
- Ladies Well
- Our Lady’s Well
From the main road running through the town, head west towards Alva, and where the golf course begins, take the footpath uphill at its edge which heads towards the giant quarry. Where the dirt-track begins, keep walking along the edge of golf course, noting that where the open field starts, a gate on your right. Go through this, and walk up the side of the fence for some 30 yards, then go through the large gate. 10 yards in front of you, note the small stream crossing the track, and a scatter of overgrown rocks just on the other side of the wire fence. You’re here!
Archaeology & History
Thought by Angus Watson (1995) to have been possibly dedicated to ‘Our Lady’: in this context it’s difficult to know whether the dedication was to the christian Virgin, or to the heathen ‘Lady Alva’, whose web of snow and other natural garments clothe the mountains and glens of the Ochils hereby.
The first account of the place seems to be in William Gibson’s Reminiscences (1883) where he told that,
“In the year 1839, a Mr John Henderson built the only woollen mill…the water for the steam engine of which was got from the Ladies Well”,
which was barely 100 yards to the west. It was later highlighted on the OS-map in 1899 with an associated ‘fountain’, right by the track-side. A water-pumping station shown at the same time on another map was, of course, the one that was built to supply the mill with water.
The present water source is slightly higher in the field than when it was shown on the early OS-maps, and it does still flow continuously—although the source is much neglected and could do with being recovered: as the photo here shows, an ugly pipe appears to be taking much of the healing waters which are now mainly feeding a large pond in the garden just below.
- Gibson, William, Reminiscences of Dollar and Tillicoultry, Andrew Elliot: Edinburgh 1883.
- Watson, Angus, The Ochils: Placenames, History, Tradition, Perth & Kinross Libraries 1995.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian