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Hill O'hirdie, St Curitan's Well

Holy Well (Medieval), Rag Well (Modern), Rag Well (Post Medieval)

Site Name Hill O'hirdie, St Curitan's Well

Classification Holy Well (Medieval), Rag Well (Modern), Rag Well (Post Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Clutie Well; Rag Well; Munlochy Clootie Well; St Boniface's Well

Canmore ID 13600

Site Number NH65SW 12

NGR NH 6406 5368

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Knockbain
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Ross And Cromarty
  • Former County Ross And Cromarty

Archaeology Notes

NH65SW 12 6406 5368.

There is a holy well, which is still visited, on Hurdyhill. Assuming that Hurdyhill is Hill o'Hirdie, the holy well is presumably that published at NH 6406 5368.

According to Scott, St. Curitan (active between 700 and 750) founded a church at Cill-Churdaidh. This is possibly a version of 'Cnoc-gille-churdaidh' which is the Gaelic name for Hurdyhill. In which case there is possibly an association between the church and the well.

W J Watson 1904; A B Scott 1918.

A well, still used as a Rag Well, is located on the steep nothern slopes of the Hill o'Hirdie at NH 6406 5368. It is a natural spring, issuing from a circular hole in the ground c.10m diameter and 1.0m below present ground level, and running down to supply a trough on the S side of the main road. There are no remains of a church or chapel on the Hill o'Hirdie or in the immediate vicinity; according to the minIster of the U.F. Church at Munlocy, the well is dressed with rags by passing tourists, and there is no 'organised pilgrimage' to it each year by his parishioners. He has never heard of a chapel in its vicinity.

Visited by OS (R B) 17 March 1966.


Watching Brief (14 March 2005 - 7 April 2005)

Alba Archaeology Ltd was commissioned by Brian J. Duff of Forest Enterprise to carry out a programme of archaeological work at the Clootie Well near Munlochy.

Alba Archaeology was satisfied that the proposed route of new footpath was orientated so as to cause the minimum possible damage to any potential sub-surface archaeology. The landscaping was completed according to plan. No new archaeological features were encounted during groundworks on site or as a result of the desk-based survey.

Information from Stewart Buchanan, Alba Archaeology Ltd, 2005.


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