Holy Well (destroyed): OS Grid Reference – NS 6029 6547
Also Known as:
- Minister’s Well
Archaeology & History
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 upon and around this natural landscape before the toxic blanket of christianity* was imposed upon us?
- Brotchie, T.C.F., “Holy Wells in and Around Glasgow,” in Old Glasgow Club Transactions, volume 4, 1920.
- MacGeorge, Andrew, Old Glasgow, Blackie & Son: Glasgow 1880.
- MacKinlay, James M., Folklore of Scottish Lochs and Springs, William Hodge: Glasgow 1893.
* with thanks to Paul Hornby for the ‘toxic blanket of christianity’ expression
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian