Tag Archive: Sacred Waters

Sacred waters

I think anyone intrigued by folklore or the pre-Roman, pre-Christian heritage of the British Isles, would be interested in  this book, which is packed full of stories of wells, lakes and the importance of water to our forebears, ancient and more modern.

This is a fantastic collection of legends and anecdotes which (mostly) presents its information without presuming to make judgements or extrapolations. Plenty of Scottish water lore and locations are mentioned, which makes a nice change (and with only two mentions of Nessie :-)) However, Lanarkshire only appears a few times:

  • The Lee Penny
  • The Marriage Well at Carmyle
  • Arthur’s Fountain at Crawford
  • St Mungo’s Well, Glasgow Cathedral

To be fair, the Bords themselves point the reader in the direction of other books, particularly regarding Scotland, but I fear the same old problem is cropping up again: too many Lanarkshire stories were lost in the heat of industry.

There are plenty more places to go hunting, but it’s a bit of a skunner all the same. All of the locations and legends will hopefully appear later on.

Bord, Janet and Colin. Sacred waters: holy wells and water lore in Britain and Ireland. Paladin, 1985



According to Janet and Colin Bord,

… there are  numerous examples of river names which contain or were derived from Celtic deity names … The Clyde comes from Clota, the ‘Divine Washer’. (Scottish tales of a hag washing the bloody clothes of those shortly to die, called ‘The Washer at the Ford’, may be a memory of this goddess.)

Janet and Colin Bord, Sacred waters, Paladin 1985, p14