At the edge of the ruins known as the Bishop’s Palace, up the slope behind the ruined church in Stow, could once be seen the waters of the Bishop’s Well which, wrote Thomas Wilson (1924), fed the palace hereby and was used by the clergy. Apart from a barely discernible circular depression at the edge of the old manse ruins, no trace of this site remains.
Royal Commission Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian and West Lothian, HMSO: Edinburgh 1929.
Wilson, Thomas, The Stow of Wedale, Aberdeen Newspapers 1924.
An all-but-forgotten well that was said to be named after a local forester and ranger in the 18th century—called Willie Bold, obviously. It was located a few steps away from the main hunting lodge in the village, known locally as the Hunter’s Ha’ (also long since gone), from which an ancient pathway ran up to the local Toothill. The Well was described in Robert Hall’s (1898) definitive history of Galashiels, albeit in the past tense, even in his day:
“Willie Bold’s well was about ten yards distant from the east end of the peel, the road which led to it being about four feet wide and fenced on both sides with a high stone wall. The well was circular and about three feet deep, but in order to reach the water, it was necessary to go down two steps. Here the village children of a past generation quenched their thirst, lifting the water with a “tinnie,” which was always returned to Willie’s house, where it remained till again required.”
In 1863, the first OS-map of the area highlights a ‘Well’ very close to the position cited by Mr Hall, which we presume msut be the Well in question. .
Cup-and-Ring Stone: OS Grid Reference – NT 499 403
Archaeology & History
The Scottish Royal Commission reported how,
“in 1936 a cup-marked boulder measuring 3ft 10in in length, 3ft 8in width and 1ft 8in in thickness, was found in a cultivated field half a mile southeast of Hawksnest and 75 yards north of the road from Hawksnest to Ladhopemoor.”
The carved stone had been scarred a little by the plough, but had “23 shallow cup-marks on its upper surface varying from 1in to 1.75in diameter.” This carving is curiously omitted from Ronald Morris’ Prehistoric Rock Art of Southern Scotland (1981), so perhaps the carving has been lost. Does anyone know owt more about it?
Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, Roxburghshire – volume 2, HMSO: Edinburgh 1956.