Public Wells & Fountains (7) Denny

St. Alexander’s Well, Dunipace

A mile south from the house of Kirkland upon the north edge of Carron is a little bank of wood in which is a spaw well, famous in old times for severall cures, then much frequented; but at this time not much yet it does service against the collick: This well is called St Alchenters or Alexanders well; thirty or forty yeards be west this well are the vestigies of a chapel and churchyeard called St Alchenters Chapel.” (Johnston of Kirkland 1723).

Nothing can now be seen of either chapel or well.

(NS 826 826)

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Boghead Well

Cross Well & White Memorial Fountain

Sclanders Well

Wellstrand Well

Illus: 1862 Ordnance Survey Map (National Library of Scotland).

Bessie’s Well

Bessie’s (or Bessy’s) Well stood at the old distillery at East Boreland and supplied the whole of Mr Currie’s tenements.  It furnished a good quality soft water

for those who desire to be economical in the matter of soap and soda.” 

Dr Cuthill’s letter of 1876 refers to it as a dipping well, though the 1862 Ordnance Survey map shows a pump at this location.  Cuthill recommended that Bessy’s Well should be closed in and a proper pipe attached with a pump.  The accounts of the Police Commissioners the following year show an expenditure of £14.2.3 on repairs to Bessie’s Well.

Analysis of the well in 1891 showed the water unfit for consumption.  It was said that there was 2ft of sewage in Bessie’s Well.  This may be associated with complaints about parties tampering with and destroying the well at East Borland Square, and the Commissioners were of opinion that unless the well was to be protected and kept free of damage it should be removed.  As a consequence Mr Currie, proprietor of East Boreland Square, agreed to have the well removed to the centre of the square and properly looked to.  This was done but in 1915 it was finally removed.


The excellent spring of water on the Falkirk Road at Headswood had been used for centuries for cattle and horses, but until 1889 there was no means for traveller to use it.  That summer a separate drinking trough was provided with a cup and chain by a group of young men led by Allan Morrision, merchant,  David Bell and Thomas Kelly (Falkirk Herald 30 November 1889, 7).

The lesser public wells at Denny were:

Brewster Burn Well
  • Pump erected at the Brewster Burn Well in 1879.
Davie’s Row Well
  • Adverse sample 1890.
East Boreland Square Well
  • See Bessie’s Well.
Erskine’s Well, Dunipace
  • Put in working order in 1879.
Goat Loan Well

Dr Cuthill described this in 1876 –

The Goat loan Well is quite unfit for any but the commonest purposes of domestic use, when it is mentioned that the drain of which it is a continuation is the common receptacle of all the slops and filth of the Bridgend district of the town.”

Kingside Well
  • This well is called Wellbizeoun in 1588 (Reid 2009, 191). (NS 83 84)
Lady’s Well
  • Unfit for domestic use 1891.
Pundler’s Well
  • A pundler was a weighing beam and may here refer to the beam to which the well bucker was attached (Reid 2009, 191). (NS82 83)
Rosebank Well, Dunipace
  • The Police Commissioners objected to the closeness of a privy to the pump well at Rosebank in March 1878.  Adverse samples in 1890 led to a recommendation for closure. NS 8077 8371 ?
Stripeside Well
  • Unfit for domestic use 1891.
Wright’s Well
  • Unfit for domestic use 1891.

G.B. Bailey, 2022