9.6.6 Holy Wells

The possible antiquity of holy wells was discussed in Chapter 8.6. There are some holy wells associated with medieval churches and chapels, for example Ashaig on Skye (MHG42227); St Mary Crosskirk in Caithness (MHG373); Craigton Caithness (MHG2520); St Fergus Chapel and well, Wick (MHG2026); Achscoriclate, Caithness (MHG877) and Inverallan Church, Strathspey (MHG6815).

The holy well at Ashaig, Skye. ©Susan Kruse

There are also other sites with wells where the date of the church is not known, but possibly medieval, including St Mary’s Chapel, Clow, Caithness (MHG1976), St Ninian’s Chapel, Nonekin, near Alness (MHG6315), St Martins, Cullicudden, Easter Ross (MHG8191), St Ninian’s Chapel, Foynesfield, Nairnshire (MHG7019), St Ninian’s Chapel, near Drumnadrochit (MHG3316), Clachan an Inbhir, Invermoriston (MHG14094), Isle Maree, Wester Ross (MHG7938) and Teampull Chaon, Skye (MHG5233). Of course the wells need not be contemporary with the church. Dating and proving connections in the medieval period will be difficult. The excavations at Ashiag Holy Well (Tobar Ashik, MHG42227) revealed finds dating from prehistory to modern times.

Map 3.1 Distribution of possible Holy Wells in the Highlands (updated interactive map coming soon!)

Map 3.1 Holy Wells

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