Cockplay Well, Auchinloch, Lanarkshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – NS 6438 6962

Archaeology & History

The name of this site alone insisted that I bring it to people’s attention!  If it was a healing well relating to its name, I wonder what it was used for!  It’s described just once in the New Statistical Account (1845) for Lanarkshire, where Pete Brown said briefly:

“On the south side of the road from Auchinloch to Glasgow, there is still the Cockplay Well, over which many proprietors and feuars have a servitude.”

Two roads came out of the village at the time of the NSA notes: one to the immediate west and the other to the south.  None of the maps cite the place-name ‘Cockplay’, but two ‘wells’ occur on the outgoing western road. One is in the village itself, behind some cottages; this is not likely to be the site in question, as the description would surely have stated that the well was in the village.  However, “on the south side of the road” one mile west of the village, roughly halfway between Wallace’s Well and Cardyke there is a ‘Well’ shown on the early OS-maps.  This has to be the most likely contender.

The etymology may revolve around variants on the word old english word cocc, which in this instance is likely to be ‘bird/s’ or a cock, as a in the male domestic fowl; effectively making it the ‘well where the birds played.’  More help and information on it would be good.


  1. Bennett, Paul, Ancient and Holy Wells of Glasgow, TNA 2017.
  2. Brown, Peter, “Parish of Cadder,” in The New Statistical Account of Scotland – volume 6: Lanarkshire, William Blackwood: Edinburgh 1845.
  3. Parson, David P., The Vocabulary of English Place-Names – volume 3, EPNS: Nottingham 2004.
  4. Taylor, Simon & Markus, Gilbert, The Place-Names of Fife – volume 5: Discussion, Glossaries, Texts, Shaun Tyas: Donnington 2012.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian