Holy Well (destroyed?): OS Grid Reference – NS 553 658
Archaeology & History
This is the conjectural title conferred by T.C.F. Brotchie (1920) upon a Well uncovered during construction of the Pearce Institute in Govan in 1908. It was certainly an old site and very well made by the sound of it: being “a stone-built well some ten feet deep (and) some eight feet below the present surface of the ground.” Brotchie thought it to be medieval in age – and he may have been right.
On asking local people if they knew anything about the site, he was lucky to meet “a very old man, a Mr Rellie”, who told him that when he was a boy his granny spoke of a lost “guid well (that) was near the kirk.” He continued:
“I have no doubt that the well discovered in 1908 was the guid well, and judging from its proximity to the god’s acre, and also from adjective ‘guid’, that the well was at one time the holy well of St. Constantine, who in the 6th century founded a church in Govan. Of course, that is conjecture, but I venture to think that the conjecture is reasonably well founded.”
The church is immediately adjacent and is indeed dedicated to St. Constantine. Inside of it are a variety of fascinating archaeological relics: not least of which is what Sam Small (2008) called the ‘Pagan Sun Stone’ upon which is carved an ancient swastika! That – I’ve got to see!
- Bennett, Paul, Ancient and Holy Wells of Glasgow, TNA 2017.
- Brotchie, T.C.F., “Holy Wells in and Around Glasgow,” in Old Glasgow Club Transactions, volume 4, 1920.
- Small, Sam, Greater Glasgow: An Architectural Guide, Rutland 2008.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian