Cross Well, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Holy Well:  OS Grid Reference – NT 34629 72739

Archaeology & History

John Small’s 1900 sketch of the Cross

Musselburgh has had an ancient fair—held upon St. James’ Day (July 25)—for many centuries.  It was held along the old High Street by a more ancient Market Cross than the one seen there today.  R.M. Stirling (1894) told us that, “The cross is erected over a draw-well, and in local parlance is known as the Cross Well.”

On the 1853 township map, a water ‘pump’ is shown at the very spot, with the ‘cross’ and water trough shown on subsequent maps.  The Well isn’t mentioned in John Small’s (1900) description of the cross and its authenticity as a ‘holy’ well is questionable.


  1. Bennett, Paul, Ancient and Holy Wells of Edinburgh, TNA 2018.
  2. Small, John W., Scottish Market Crosses, Eneas Mackay: Stirling 1900.
  3. Stirling, R.M., Inveresk Parish Lore from Pagan Times, T.C. Blair: Musselburgh 1894.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

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