Holy Priests’ Well, York, North Yorkshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – SE 6071 5187

Archaeology & History

At the beginning of the 19th century, William Hargrove (1818) described the scant remains of some old walling along old Haver Lane (renamed as Green Lane and now known as The Stonebow) which were the remains of a building, long gone, and which,

“tradition informs us (was) a religious house, which formerly stood here, called Holy-Priests; and though the site of it is not known, the report is greatly strengthened by the appearance of the walls just mentioned, and by the circumstance of a deep draw-well which now remains, being still called Holy-Priests Well.”

Some suggest that this water source may still exist beneath one of the buildings hereby, but the landscape here has been so badly mutilated over the last two hundred years that it’s very unlikely.


  1. Hargrove, Willliam, History and Description of the Ancient City of York – volume 2, part 2, W. Alexander: York 1818.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

Priest’s Well, Glasgow, Lanarkshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 6029 6547

Also Known as:

  1. Minister’s Well

Archaeology & History

Site of the Priests Well in 1865
Site of the Priests Well in 1865

A ‘holy well’ with a bit of a difference when it was designated as such, however many centuries ago.  Found on the southern slopes below Glasgow ‘s Cathedral, just a few yards west above the Molendinar Burn (upon which Wishart Street now sits), this was deemed to be a well only to be used by the christian ministers or priests from above.  Local people were not supposed to drink here it seems!  Instead, they were supposed to either drink from the burn, or walk a short distance down to the Lady Well (now badly polluted) 175 yards to the southeast.  I don’t expect many Glasgow folk paid that much attention to such arrogant ministerial laws!

Shown on the earliest OS-map, simply as a ‘Well’, this is one of at least four water sources within a square mile of the Cathedral (including St. Mungo’s and Lady Well) that were deemed as ‘sacred’.  It truly makes you wonder what on Earth was here before the christians came along and built their huge temple on the rocks above…. What animistic heathen rites and traditions were suppressed around this natural landscape before the toxic blanket of christianity was imposed upon us?


  1. Brotchie, T.C.F., “Holy Wells in and Around Glasgow,” in Old Glasgow Club Transactions, volume 4, 1920.
  2. MacGeorge, Andrew, Old Glasgow, Blackie & Son: Glasgow 1880.
  3. MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian