Holy Well: OS Grid Reference – NS 8885 9722
Also Known as:
- St. Servanus’ Well
Along the main street running through Alva, towards Tillicoultry, watch out for the roman catholic church on your left, then shortly past it the house of St. Serfs. Just next to this is the small road called Lovers Loan. Walk up here and just before the graveyard, walk right, into the overgrown boggy marshlands. The first presence of the holy waters here are about 12-15 yards into the grasses, where you’ll walk right into it!
Archaeology & History
Highlighted on the 1866 Ordnance Survey map of the area as St. Servanus’ Well, 100 yards southeast south of the church. It was included in MacKinlay’s (1893) fine survey, but without comment, this ancient holy well was said by Mr & Mrs Morris (1982) to be “near the south entrance of the churchyard” – but the boggy remains of this little known site are in fact at the southern edge of the graveyard, up Lovers Loan, just below the edges of the mound that appears to cover the original water source. Around its edges, amidst the mass of herbs and wild flowers, small streams of it ooze from the Earth to proclaim its presence, thankfully.
The well was named after the little known character of St. Serf, said to have been the hermit and tutor of the more renowned St. Mungo.
MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
Morris, Ruth & Frank, Scottish Healing Wells, Alethea Press: Sandy 1982.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian