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Isle of Man Holy Wells’ Project

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The term ‘holy well’ is commonly used to refer to any water source of limited size (i.e. not a lake or river, but including pools and natural springs and seeps), which has some significance in the folklore of the area where it is located, whether in the form of a particular name, an associated legend, the attribution of healing qualities to the water through the numinous presence of its guardian spirit or Christian saint, or a ceremony or ritual centred on the well site. A sacred spring is a spring or other small body of water revered either in Pagan or Christian traditions and holy wells were frequently Pagan sacred sites that later became Christianized.

~ William Cubbon (Journalist, Librarian and Director of the Manx Museum) from his book ‘Island Heritage’ (1952)

The aims of the Isle of Man Holy Wells’ Project are:

►to research and provide a modern record of all known springs and wells deemed important by our Ancestors;

►to attempt to find those now thought lost

►to reinstate some and accord them the recognition they deserve

►to raise awareness of their existence

►to seek ongoing maintenance for their care

“Almost invariably there was a spring or a gentle stream nearby every Keeill. It served the purpose of baptism and retained the respect associated with it in pagan times. It is regrettable that so many of them, linked for long ages with the religious aspirations of our people, should have been wantonly destroyed.” 

~ William Cubbon

Map of Isle of Man Springs & Wells

As at 26 March 2015 there are 88 entries.   I have a list of around 230 entries recorded from various sources.

NOTE:

►A well marker that is shown in the sea means there is the well name only so no record of an area, parish, village etc.

►For the majority of wells and springs we do not know their exact location but we have e.g. the parish or road, field or treen etc.  Ideally GPS co-ordinates are what I am looking for and these may be obtainable for some wells over time

►If you click on one of the wells listed under the map, you can get directions to it.  Click on ‘Get directions from‘ and enter your starting point e.g. Lord Street, Douglas, Isle of Man.  There is an option to print the directions too.  Remember though that most do not have an exact location and probably no longer exist (many were destroyed by tenant farmers and landowners).   I have done approximations based on the information to hand or simply pure guesswork in order to apply the marker to the map.  I have no doubt that some of the markers will be way off!

►Also, be aware that many of these old wells and springs are 1) probably gone for good and 2) that some will be on what is now private land.  Permission to access may need to be sought from the landowner before entering private property.

Further development of the map is required and I will submit an enhancement request to the developer to try and improve things.

 

Do you have any information on Isle of Man Wells or Springs?

Many of the wells and springs  have unknown locations.  Most are probably gone for good but if you know where one is, have any photographs or know some folklore associated with one I would appreciate hearing from you.  Ideally I’m looking for GPS co-ordinates too and details of the terrain on how to get there but I’m grateful for anything.  Please contact me via the Question Time page or use the Contact Form.  Thank you.