Lady Well, Airth

A small well close to the Pow Burn.   It is supposed to have derived its name from the custom of dedicating wells to the Virgin Mary, in common prior to the Reformation, it is not a mineral well”  


The minister who wrote the New Statistical Account of the parish said much the same thing:

There are several springs said to be medicinal; one of which is known by the name of the Lady Well; a name which is generally supposed to have received in times of Popery, from being used to furnish holy water for the abbacy, which is said to have existed at Airth, in connection with Holyrood.

It is mentioned by Johnston of Kirkland in 1723:

Upon the south side of the Pow of Airth, upon its very edge, is a spaw well famous in olden times for severall cures, and at this day severalls gets good by it, either by drinking or bathing.  Its commonly called by the name of Ladieswell.  Its about two pair of butts below Abbytown bridge.”

Even earlier, in 1657, a group of parishioners were summoned to the Kirk Session of Falkirk for believing in the curative powers of the Well of Airth, and the whole were sentenced to be publicly rebuked for their sin –

“Grinsall Hutchin was accusit for taking on her ane superstitious unlawfull way of curing seik people by sending them to ane well at Airth with sum injunctions.”

(Murray 1887, 203).

“Feb. 3, 1657. Session convenit, compeared Bessie Thomson, who declairit scho went to the Well at Airth, and that schoe left money thairat, and after the can was filled with water they kept it from touching the ground till they cam home.”

February 24, Compeired Robert Fuird who declared he went to the well of Airth, and spoke nothing als he went, and that Margrat Walker went with him and schoe said ye belief about the well, and left money and ane napkin at the well and all was done at her injunction.” Compeared Bessie Thomson declarit schoe fetchit hom water from the said well and luit it not touch the ground in homcoming, spoke not as she went, said the belief at it, left money and ane napkin thair; and all was done at Margrat Walker’s command.” “Compeired Margrat Walker who denyit yat she was at yat well befoir and yat scho gave any directions.”

March 10. “Compeared Margrat Forsyth being demandit if scho went to the well of Airth, to fetch water thairfrom, spok not by ye waye, luit it did not touch ye ground in homcoming left money” .

(Love Vol 2, 170)

“Margaret Walker went to the well of Airth to fetch water to Rob Cowie, and when sche com their sche laid down moneys in God’s name and ane napkin in Rob Cowie’s name.”

(Murray1887, 204)

Some of this money was found by metal detectorists before the area was subjected to opencast coalmining in the 1990s.

(NS 9881 8651)

G.B. Bailey, 2022