Healing Well (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – NS 5974 6534
Also Known as:
- Meadow Well
Archaeology & History
This little-known well—destroyed about two hundred years ago—was said to be one of the finest of all of the water supplies in the Glasgow district in pre-industrial days. The Glasgow historian Andy MacGeorge (1880) told it to be “a spring which was then, and for long afterwards, in great repute.” It was described as early as 1304 CE in a grant by Robert, bishop of Glasgow, allowing the christians to take water from the well and into their convent. The Latin transcript told:
“Noveritis Ros intuita caritatis, Dedisse fratribus Predicatoribus de Glasgu, Fontem quendam qui dicitur Meduwel in loco qui dicitur Denside scaturientem, in perpetuum conducendum in claustrum dictorum fratrum, ad usus necessarios eorundem” (Meaning, “Know ye that I Rosh, of charity, Among His brethren shared with the Preaching Friars of Glasgow, the gushing fountain called Meadow Well or Deanside as the place is called, to the cloisters is said to meet the needs” of the monks.”)
There is the possibility that the well was deemed as ‘holy’ due to it being of vital use to the bishop and monks, but I can find no record of it being ‘blessed’ as such; and the exact site of the bishop’s convent has been lost to history. In 1574 the “Deynside Well” needed cleaning due to people clogging up the waters with earth and stones; and sometime in the 18th century the spring of water was turned into a draw-well.
A northern antiquarian by the name of ‘ Senex’ (real name, Robert Reid) visited the Deanside Well at the end of the 18th century, telling of its whereabouts:
“In the year 1789 I had occasion daily to mount and descend the Deanside Brae, upon business, so that the state of the place at that date is quite familiar to me. The whole of the Deanside Brae was then vacant ground, as is shown in the old Maps of Glasgow. The Deanside or Meadow Well was situated in a meadow at the west end of Grayfriars’ (or Bun’s) Wynd, close to the footpath leading up to the Rottenrow; it is now on the street, at 88 George Street, opposite to the lane leading into Shuttle Street. The Deanside Well was then in a rural spot, the whole lands on the west, as far as Partick, being garden grounds and com fields.
“In Stuart’s Views the lonely foot passage up the Deanside Brae, to the Rottenrow, is very distinctly shown. The well stood at the south extremity of the said footpath, about the centre of the wynd.”
‘Senex’ also told that an ancient fair was held in “an enclosure” at the northwest corner of Shuttle Street, close to the Deanside Well.
- Bennett, Paul, Ancient and Holy Wells of Glasgow, TNA 2017.
- MacGeorge, Andrew, Old Glasgow, Blackie & Son: Glasgow 1880.
- ‘Senex’, Old Glasgow and its Environs, D.Robertson: Glasgow 1864.
- Stuart, Robert, Views and Notices of Glasgow in Former Times, R.Stuart: Glasgow 1848.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian