The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


St. Magnus's Well

Sacred Well

<b>St. Magnus's Well</b>Posted by widefordImage © wideford
This site is of disputed antiquity. If you have any information that could help clarify this site's authenticity, please post below or leave a post in the forum.
Also known as:
  • Man's Well

Nearest Town:Stromness (18km S)
OS Ref (GB):   HY257275 / Sheet: 6
Latitude:59° 7' 41.02" N
Longitude:   3° 17' 53.7" W

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<b>St. Magnus's Well</b>Posted by wideford <b>St. Magnus's Well</b>Posted by wideford <b>St. Magnus's Well</b>Posted by wideford <b>St. Magnus's Well</b>Posted by wideford


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Coming to Birsay directly after the working mill is a side road for the Barony Hotel. The well is at the side of this road not far from the junction. The mediocre description is all too accurate. But the surrounding environ promises there was once a more ancient site hereabouts, either side of the road looks promising. Of course it could be the original well lay further down (down in Yesnaby there was a Crossiekield holy well near St. Bride's Chapel. No wells appear thereabouts in 1882 and I strongly suspect that it lay opposite the Brough of Bigging) or resembled more a spring. Over the road can be seen a rounded stone several feet long. Min came to mind. If this 'phallic' object is original perhaps this was alway's Man's Well locally and the St. Magnus apellation used by the toffs or to impress enquirers ? wideford Posted by wideford
23rd April 2005ce


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RCAHMS NMRS No. HY22NE 9 is now shown by a corroded iron pump-head over a modern square construction at HY25652750. St.Magnus' well was known for it's healing quantities. The record show's the present site as being remembered neither as being said well or for healing qualities. Given the high density of well shown on the 1882 O.S. maps of Orkney (half-a-dozen or more in The Barony) it is possible that there is no identity, but modern absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, people did move about within these isles (a similar example comes from a 1966 Ordnance Survey enquiry about Crantit - the reference was two centuries old and the present farmers had only been there a few decades). wideford Posted by wideford
23rd April 2005ce