Ancient Stones
A Guide to Standing Stones & Stone Circles in the South of Scotland.


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045 Stone, St. Anthony's Well, Edinburgh.

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Description
It's not St. Anthony's Well itself that is of interest here but rather the massive capping stone located above and behind the carved stone basin that forms the outflow from the well. This recumbent stone measures 2.20m long x 1.50m wide x approx. 0.50m in height and is raised above the well by some stonework which is just visible under the stone.

Directions
Holyrood Park is located to the west of Edinburgh city centre and a city street plan is recommended for finding this location. St. Anthony's Well and it's associated stone can be easily reached on foot from St. Margaret's Loch. The well is located a short distance up hill, on the footpath leading to the ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel, at the south west end of St. Margaret's Loch.

Parking
A number of spaces are available around St. Margaret's Loch in Holyrood Park. Various other parking areas are also situated in the area.

Folklore
The well is dedicated to St. Anthony, a Christian saint and is traditionally known as a healing well, where pilgrims would visit on the pagan festival of Beltane to wash their faces. This ritual has been recorded until quite recent times. It has been said that a monk was stationed nearby to tend the well and various ruins may be seen in the area that give credence to this suggestion.

Fieldnotes
While the purpose of this large boulder appears to be to protect St. Anthony's Well, perhaps from erosion by the many visitors to the area, I do wonder if it has, or held, some other purpose. The stone is raised on a bed of mortared stonework and sits above and just to the rear of the carved stone basin that holds the water from the well itself - at the time of visit, the well was actually dry. One point of interest is that Fairies Knowe is an alternative name for Whinny Hill, situated to the south west of the well. Wells and large stones as often associated with these small deities in pre-Christian times and were often places of pagan worship. I am always looking for reasons for the existence of stones such as this. Did it mark a scared spot or well prior to evolving into the structure we see today? After all, it was no means feat to raise the stone into it's current position! I am sure further information on this mysterious stone (and the well) will come to light.

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Quick Info
Type: Other Stone
Nearest Town: Edinburgh
O.S.
Landranger Sheet 66
O.S. Explorer Sheet 350
Grid Reference: NT 2752 7364
GPS Reference: STANTS

Symbols Key | Stone Types

Other Sites Nearby
019 Stone, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.
058 The Slidey Stane, Holyrood Park, Edinburgh.

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