Holy Well (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – NO 1997 3297
Also Known as :
- Canmore ID 28605
- St Deuchan’s Well
- St Teuchan’s Well
- St Ukan’s Well
- St Cuchan’s Well
The site of the well is on the north side of the road between Saucher and Collace, just past the small stand of trees.
Archaeology and History
Nothing now remains of the well, but across the road on the strip of grass leading to the burn there is patchy Cotton Grass growth, evidence of the vestigial flow of the spring. A nearby water pumping station on the same side of the road as the former well is probably responsible for the spring well’s demise.
There may have been a nearby chapel dedicated to the Saint, of which no trace remains, and in the 1860s, the Ordnance Survey recorded “A few yards from the site of the chapel there is an excellent spring well by the name of ‘St Teuchan’s Well.’” The Ordnance Survey further recorded “Mr James Stewart, Kinrossie,… supposes [the Saint’s name] to be a corruption from St Vigean’s. Ukans appears to be the common pronunciation, and the T or D of the authorities being silent the spelling Euchans will…answer either of them.” Lawrence Melville writes his name as Cuchan, which may be his misreading of the none too clear type on the early OS maps.
Saint Euchan was made the titular or patron Saint of Collace by Bishop de Bernham in 1242. The exact identity of the Saint is unclear but he is believed to be the Irish Saint Eoghan, the son of Caennach of Leinster who was ‘carried off in his early youth by pirates to Britain’ later spending some years at Whithorn, before returning to Ireland, where he became the master of St Kevin at Kilnamanach, the monastery he founded in County Wicklow, and Bishop of Ardstraw, County Tyrone. As folklore exists about his presence in the Collace area, he may have moved up to what is now Perthshire from Whithorn before his return to Ireland. St Eoghan’s saint’s day is August 23rd. As there seems to be some doubt as to the Saint’s true identity it is perhaps worth mentioning that Euken is a Basque man’s first name, equivalent to Eugene, and while it is tempting to think of a Basque Holy Man walking the Pictland, this is very likely to be a coincidence.
Describing the antiquities around Dunsinane Hill and Black Hill, Lawrence Melville wrote in 1939 ;-
“According to the lore of the Sidlaws …. At some remote period, a celebrated holy man, named St. Cuchan, was wont to retire to these wilds to meditate. For centuries there was a healing well near Kinrossie, called St. Cuchan’s Well, but it has now vanished.”
- Forbes, Alexander Penrose, Kalendars of Scottish Saints, Edmonston and Douglas, Edinburgh 1872.
- Collace Parish Millenium Committee, Off The Main Road, 2nd edition: Kinrossie District Recreation Club, 2010
- Scotland’s Place Names
- Anon. Gizonezkoen ponte-izenak (Basque Men’s Names) – Euskaltzaindia, Bilbao 2015.
- Melville, Lawrence, The Fair Land Of Gowrie, William Culross & Son, Coupar Angus, 1939
© Paul T Hornby 2019 The Northern Antiquarian