Some of the many wells of Strathearn
During my researches into the history of the Strath over a number of decades , I was somewhat surprised to discover the incredible number of wells we have . Many are listed on current Ordnance Survey sheets but many seem to have disappeared from human ken . The majority seem to have strong religious connotations with many being named after a saint of the old Celtic faith or indeed are pre Reformation Catholic . It is intriguing to discover what particular attributes these holy wells had and indeed what made them so important in by gone years . As you will note from the listing below , they offered a wide range of miraculous cures covering whooping cough to urinary problems or gout to madness .
What is clear is that the holy wells were an anathema to the Established Presbyterian Kirk ! Their proximity to many small churches such as Strageath or Struthill was a major source of concern. It was, in their estimation, a means of keeping alive what they regarded as the superstitious practices of the past . Consequently many were destroyed and filled in to prevent future problems . It is clear however that their influence lived on and as late as the end of the 18th century , the First Statistical Accounts of the Strathearn Parishes recounted numerous tales of persons travelling long distances to sample their waters . Particularly interesting as these accounts were by and large written by the incumbent Presbyterian minister !
Below are just some of the wells scattered across the Strath .
Jesus Well : Probably Victorian and located on the lower west slope of the Knock not far from the Hydro Golf Centre . The text on the well advising the spiritual benefits of quaffing the waters is somewhat negated by the more recent environmental health warning . ( see above )
where the inhabitants till lately venerated St Patrick’s memory so highly, “that on his day neither the clap of the mill was not heard nor the plough seen to move in the furrow “