Info for an archaeological dissertation on St. Mary’s well
Archaeological note on St Mary’s Well – Full details below..
In a message dated 03/10/2013 15:28:57 GMT Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Name: Jamie C Erickson
Subject: Information Inquiry
My name is Jamie Erickson and I am emailing from the University of Aberdeen. I am currently working on my archaeological dissertation on St. Mary\’s well, and how the significance of the well has changed through time to those who visit the well. As my analysis includes the thoughts and opinions of those who are invested in the site today, I was wondering how involved your church members may or may not be with the actual well itself? There is clear evidence at the site that it is popular, but I am trying to essentially get a feel for who is visiting the well and how they are personally connected.
Thanks so much for your time, and I look forward to hearing back from you!
Ms. Jamie C Erickson
University of Aberdeen
I trust you have already seen our church website and looked into the early history & modern history sections within it. Our earliest map of St Mary’s chapel & its associated well (Tobar Moire) are to the north of Chapelton Farm Balloch, and not the well on the OS maps which show it to be to the south of said farm. The original well was very close to the old St Mary’s chapel site, as one would expect.
Of further interest to you would be the booklet: A Living History of Balloch (Life in the village over the last 100 years) £5, Waterstones (Inverness branch) no ISBN code. This has maps and old b/w photos of the ‘new’ wishing well which unfortunately has stolen the name of the original Tobar Moire. There is also a colourful history (1850 onwards) recorded in the Inverness Courier newspaper archives concerning its 1,000s of visitors, money raised by coin offerings, drunken goings-ons, etc.
These clootie wells are not very tidy places and forestry & council workmen refuse to tidy the sites, or remove old rags from the trees for fear of contamination. Another better known clootie well is at Munlochy.
Our SEC church members do not associate with any ‘MayEve pagan rituals’ going on at the Culloden Wishing Well, unfortunately now called St Mary’s well. We don’t know who goes there now, nor what they do when they get there, only its folklore. New rags appear every year on its trees just after MayEve.
There are many other wells in this area which are of Celtic origin. Looking through the various maps of this locality you can see that burns & water sources have moved over the past 100 yrs as the land has been cultivated & urbanised. Having the Culloden battlefield nearto has had some influence on the ‘new’ names of archaeological places of interest,e.g. the Prisoners’ Stone & St Mary’s Well (previously Culloden Wishing Well).
Any light that you can shed on Culloden’s local history would be much appreciated to us. All these sites mentioned are easily found and cycle pathways lead to them.
Colin Mansfield (Vestry Secretary).