I collect the keys from St. Margaret’s House in Lochend and drive up here. Restalrig has changed a lot since I were a lad! This part of the city has been beautifully renovated with lovely steel benches and some great masonry work. I make my way in to the churchyard and round to the wellhouse. From a wooden door steps descend down to an old wood and iron door. As I turn the key in the lock it echoes round the wellhouse behind it. The door opens and the air is damp and musty. A vaulted ceiling greets me and I descend the stone steps to the wellhouse floor which is slippy and slimy! The central pillar holds the five sections of the vaulted ceiling and high above on the left hand side there is a statue of St. Truduana. This wellhouse is actually below both ground level and the water table and therefore floods regularly. On the right hand side there is a large (and very heavy) stone slab which can be lifted to reveal the well/water table where one can bathe ones eyes.
"There is an extremely unusual hexagonal vaulted chamber, adjacent to the present church, known as St Triduana's Chapel or Well. It is comprised of the lower parts of a two-storey building, and water still flows from a spring here under the floor. Requests to use the water are still being received today.
Triduana's shrines were supposed to help blindness and other eye complaints and conditions. Triduana was an early convert to Christianity who was the object of desire of a Pagan prince. The prince particularly admired Triduana's eyes and, instead of being forced to marry him, it is said that Triduana plucked out her own eyes and presented them to him on a thorned branch. There is a similar story attached to St Medana, (although her eyesight was restored; Triduana's was not) as well as other examples from Ireland and the Continent.
The church, which is dedicated to St Mary and The Trinity, was founded as a collegiate establishment by James 111 in the 1460s, although it is a much older site."
Legend has it that St. Triduana was one of a group of holy nuns who accompanied St. Regulas to Scotland from Constantinople as early as 337 AD. They brought with them relics of St. Andrew. Her beauty, and especially her exquisite eyes attracted the attention of the Pictish King Nectan. Triduana wasn’t keen on the attention and asked Nectan what is was about her that he loved. On being told it was her eyes she gouged them out and presented them to Nectan on a thorn. Nice!