In memory of our ancestors, who, through long ages, came to this welland here, in simple faith, made prayers and vows with humble offerings.So this became a holy place.
At one time the Isle of Man had hundreds of wells and springs that people visited regularly and drew water from. Some were domestic wells used by a family or small community, others were sacred springs where rituals and offerings were made.In the 19th century in particular, records show that some of these sacred springs and wells were deliberately destroyed by tenant farmers and landowners along with tumulii and other antiquities and now, either through neglect or because there is no-one alive who knows their location and they are no longer visited and tended, more are in danger of being lost for good. With domestic wells in particular, the arrivial of mains water meant that many were either abandoned or filled in.
These wells and springs were an important and vital part of Manx life. Many were visited daily, helping sustain people and animals, others held special reverence and were visited on particular days of the year or for their renowned healing properties when people were ill.Records tell us some were not just known as places of healing, but were places of cursing, divination and wish-granting and occasionally we read of one having a spirit associated with it too. Too many locations have now been fogotten or overlooked and their importance is either not recognised or fading. The Isle of Man Wells’ Project would like to rectify this.
Do you have a domestic well on your property? We are compiling a register of domestic wells whether still in use or filled in and purely ornamental. Location details can be kept confidential or made public, whichever you prefer.
Have you visisted a spring or holy well recently? If so please consider sharing your findings with us so we can maintain an up-to-date record of their condition. Photographs, video or a short description of your experience is very useful.
•to research and provide a modern record of all known springs and wells deemed important by our Ancestors•to attempt to find some of 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 and preservation
William Cubbon ~ Journalist, Librarian and Director of the Manx Museum
“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.”
Register a Well
We are looking for volunteers to work with us in locating and surveying some wells. If you think you can help please contact Ber Weyde who can provide more information and survey forms. Thank you.