Glencrutchery Well (53) – Conchan


Glen Crutchery Well, Conchan.

“So you have not heard what the Mooayer-ny-Booiagh does?” said the old lady; “then I will tell you. There was a servant girl at Bemahague, and the mistress wanted her to go to Glen Crutchery Well to get a can of water before daylight, and afterwards she was to be allowed to go to the Fair. When going to the well she met the Old Man of Glen Crutchery, who asked her where she was going. ‘Going to your well for water,’ she said. He asked her if there was no water in their well. She said there was, but her mistress had sent her. He gave her half-a-crown, and told her to take water out of their own well. The girl received the money, which confirmed the charm, and then went to the Fair. When she returned home the mistress asked her where she had procured the water, for she had been churning all day and had got no butter.” William Harrison, from whose MS. this is taken, afterwards included it in his second Mona Miscellany.

In another MS. in my possession it is headed, more intelligibly, “Mooaraghey ny Booiagh, Begrudging a Willing Consent.”  Moore, Folk-lore of the Isle of Man, page 90, says the Old Man had the reputation of being a sorcerer. The incidents have clearly been modernized and partly forgotten; but the Old Man is recognizable as the well’s supernatural protector, resembling, for instance, the “spiteful spirit, Duine-glaise-beg, or Little Grey Man” who “guarded the water with great care” at Tobar-na-Glas-a-Choille in Corgarff, Aberdeenshire. (Gregor, Folk-lore Journal, iii., 67ff.) In Grundtvig’s Danish Fairy Tales Sir Greenhat is fostered by the white-bearded “Old Man of the Well,” who endows him with magical powers, including that of changing his shape at will – a characteristically aqueous accomplishment. Human well-guardians were, I think, invariably women, as are their few modern representatives.

The housewife’s anxiety to get water for her churning from the Glen Crutchery Well is an additional indication that it possessed special virtue – that it was in fact a Fairy Well. For another Manx instance of “confirming the charm ” compare Notes and Queries, 1st series, v. 341 : “A little girl walking over a bridge was offered by three little men, one after the other, a farthing, which she persevered in refusing; knowing that, if accepted, she would have been carried off.”

(text source: W Walter Gill, A Manx Scrapbook (1929)


Somewhere in the region of Glencrutchery, Douglas but exact location is unknown and it has not been identified on the first OS map (see link below).


Location unknown.


NLS OS 6″ Sheet XIII Surveyed: 1867 to 1868 Published: 1870


If you have any information on this well please contact me and quote well record number (53) as this will help identify which well you are referring too.