Moses’ Well, Morton, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire

Holy Well:  OS Grid Reference – NX 8799 9431

Archaeology & History

Moses Well on 1861 map

This little-known Biblical-sounding spring has apparently long since fallen back to Earth (perhaps there might be some local folk who could find out for certain).  Shown on the 1861 Ordnance Survey map as being at the side of the wall in the small copse of trees—immediately east of kirk- place-names and a half-mile north of St Ninian’s Well—it was briefly described by T.C. Ramage’s (1876), who seemed to know nothing of its lore, merely telling us that,

“on Templand farm, close to the wooden bridge over the Cample, there is Moses’ Well, an unusual designation, but which some Knight Templar may have given in remembrance of his toils in Palestine.”

The Templar designation was deemed by Ramage to come from the name of the farm.  However, a few years prior to this, the early Scottish place-name surveyors were traversing the area and found from local people how it derived “its name from a Tinker named Moses Marshall who with his family lived near it in a Camp during the time they had the small pox.”  The Well was also included in the Morris survey (1982), but without comment.  Another Moses Well can be found 44½ miles to the northeast, near Galashiels at NT 4046 4306.

References:

  1. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.
  2. Ramage, Craufurd T., Drumlanrig Castle and the Douglases, J. Anderson: Dumfries 1876.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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