MHG7109 - Hill O'Hirdie, St. Curitan's Well


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • RAG WELL (Early Medieval to 19th Century - 561 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

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 Gaelic name for Hurdyhill. In which case there is possibly an association between church and well.
W J Watson 1904; A B Scott 1918. <1><2>

A well, still used as a Rag Well, is located on steep nothern slopes of Hill o'Hirdie at NH 6406 5368. It is a natural spring, issuing from a circular hole in the ground c10m diameter and 1m below present ground level, and running down to supply a trough on 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 minster 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.

Water still exits from hole in very steep mound, travels down rough drainage channel zig zagging down hill, passes through a plastic pipe and lands in a rectangular sandstone trough, propped up on other stones. Still rcieves a large number of "clouts" and other deposits includng money in the trough. The mound is under conifer woodland. It has been suggested that this is a motte (see separate SMR number) but no traces of bailey. The floor of the forest was checked for an area around it is uneven and covered with moss, brash etc, but no chapel site or equivalent is visible. The N side of the well and mound carries a stream, there is a flat flood plain area on the other side, but no trace of structures (the stream has been heavily cut/deepened further into the wood the spoil heaps show no trace of anything other than poor topsoil and subsoil). The west side is the road, the other side is an arable field that rises steeply and would be unsuitable for a building. <3>

Information from participants in the Black Isles Heritage Memories project; there is also possibly a horse trough at this site. No further information available. <4>

Sources/Archives (7)



Grid reference Centred NH 6405 5367 (4m by 4m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH65SW
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish KNOCKBAIN

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