Priest’s Well, Tullibody, Clackmannanshire

Holy Well:  OS Grid Reference – NS 86069 95324

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 47056

Getting Here

Priest Well on 1866 map

Priest Well on 1866 map

Along the A907 Stirling to Alloa road, turn onto the B9096 through Tullibody, turning up Menstrie Road until, on your right, you reach the old graveyard.  Walk along the track past the old section and go into the new graveyard. The second pathway down, keep your eyes peeled on the floor and you’ll see it.

Archaeology & History

Just a flat carved stone laid in the expanded graveyard is all that remains to mark the site of this once sacred well.  On it, the inscribed slab reads, “Site of the old Priest’s Well – 1905.”

In the 19th century when the waters were still used by local villagers, Robert Kirk (1890) wrote the following,

Site of the Priests Well

Site of the old well

Carved commemorative stone

Carved commemorative stone

“Like the trees, we will now keep outside the dyke (round the old graveyard) and come to the Priest’s Well.  This well, an adjunct of the ancient building, appears to be coeval with the Old Church, and lay a few yards south of the Parsonage, which was demolished at the Reformation.  A small piece of ground in the immediate vicinity is known as the ‘Priest’s Croft’, and the adjacent field, tradition imagines to be the site of the original hamlet. When this well, from its proximity to the Churchyard, was condemned as unfit for human use, one old wife was heard to exclaim, “Na, na, I aye like a drink o’ the guid sweet priest.”

Despite being cited in the various Scottish holy wells reports, all mythic history of the site seems to have been forgotten.

References:

  1. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea Press: Sandy 1982.
  2. Kirk, Robert, Historical Sketch of Tullibody, Alloa 1890.
  3. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.
  4. Simpkins, John Ewart, County Folklore – volume VII: Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning Fife, with some Notes on Clackmannan and Kinross-Shires, Folk-Lore Society: London 1914.
  5. Walker, J. Russel, “Holy Wells in Scotland,” in Proceedings Society Antiquaries Scotland, volume 17, 1883.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.136963, -3.834877 Priests Well

Red Well, Alloa, Clackmannanshire

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – NS 87385 93435

Getting Here

The somewhat ruinous old well

Along the A907 a mile west of Alloa and heading towards Tullibody, just before the roundabout across the road from the school fields, a small entrance takes you into the small wooded parkland.  There, right in front of you as you walk in, and visible from the road, is the enclosed architectural stone walling and somewhat ruinous remains that are the Red Well, with its faded name carved on top.

Archaeology & History

Red Well on 1913 map

Although the waters no longer run for the people to drink, this old iron-bearing spring was long of repute to the old folk of eastern Alloa.  So much so, it seems, that even Janet & Colin Bord (1985) included it in their national survey of sacred wells!  Like other chalybeate springs, its waters were known to be good as a tonic—which makes sense as iron fortifies the blood and general immune system.  The Well was highlighted on the 1913 OS-map of the area.

References:

  1. Bord, Janet & Colin, Sacred Waters, Granada: London 1985.
  2. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea: Sandy 1982.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.120320, -3.812921 Red Well

Lady’s Well, Tullibody, Clackmannanshire

Holy Well (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 8563 9548

Also Known as:

  1. Canmore ID 47055
Lady Well (& adjacent antiquities) on 1866 map

Archaeology & History

All but destroyed by the recent road bypass of the B9140, this probable holy well was highlighted on the 1866 Ordnance Survey map of the area, as illustrated here.  A boggy area below the edge of the road is all that remains of the site.  When the Royal Commission (1933) lads visited the site in 1927 they told that,

“It has no features of special interest. It is 4′ in diameter, but is so much filled up with stones and debris that it is now not more than 2′ deep.”

The site was mentioned in Ruth & Frank Morris’ (1982) survey, but with no additional information. I’ve not been able to find out whether the ‘lady’ of this well was a saintly woman of religious importance, or just one of us commoners!  Does anyone know?

References:

  1. Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea Press: Sandy 1982.
  2. Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments, Scotland, Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife, Kinross and Clackmannan, HMSO: Edinburgh 1933.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.138221, -3.841681 Lady\'s Well

Tullibody Stone Circle, Clackmannanshire

‘Stone Circle’ (destroyed):  OS Grid Reference – NS 86 95

Archaeology & History

In Alex Wilson’s (1901) rare work he gives the only reference of what may have been a stone circle once found in the township of Tullibody.  On a talk given at the Alloa Archaeology Society in the 19th century, the site was mentioned by one of the speakers in his talk on the standing stones of Stirlingshire and district.  Mr Wilson told us:

“…at a meeting in November 1871, Rev. Mr Bryson made one of his first speeches before the Society, and spoke of Boulders found in the district, and how these were gradually disappearing owing to the utilitarian spirit of the age.  Mr Bryson related how that he had been informed that about 60 or 70 years ago there existed seven or eight boulders round about the Boulder at Tullibody, which Mr Duncan had spoken of.”

This is a brief but intriguing account!  Whether we can ascribe the “seven or eight boulders” in the description as merely glacial erratics, or whether the ruins of a stone circle were here as the description seems to imply, we don’t know.  If anyone has any additional information they can add to this account, please let us know.

References:

  1. Wilson, Alex, Review of Proceedings since Inauguaration, Alloa Society of Natural Science and Archaeology, Buchan Bros: Alloa 1901.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

 

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  56.134087, -3.835885 Tullibody Stone Circle