Ancient Monuments

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Burghead Well

A Scheduled Monument in Heldon and Laich, Moray

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Latitude: 57.7034 / 57°42'12"N

Longitude: -3.4946 / 3°29'40"W

OS Eastings: 311026

OS Northings: 869156

OS Grid: NJ110691

Mapcode National: GBR K8QC.CYJ

Mapcode Global: WH5GT.9M4W

Entry Name: Burghead Well

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1981

Last Amended: 30 July 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM90044

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: well

Location: Duffus

County: Moray

Electoral Ward: Heldon and Laich

Traditional County: Morayshire


The monument consists of a rock-cut well of probable late prehistoric or early medieval date. It is in the care of the Secretary of State.

The well comprises a rectangular chamber about 5m square and 3.8m high, with rounded angles, cut out of rock at the base of a crag. It lies 6m below the present ground level. The water is contained within a 3m-square basin bordered by a rock shelf 1.2m wide. The present entrance was constructed after the well was discovered during road improvements in the 19th century.

The well lies within the now-largely destroyed outer defensive line of the Pictish fort at Burghead, which itself probably has Iron Age antecedents, and may be supposed to be the water supply for the fort. However, its elaborate structure may indicate more than a merely utilitarian function, possibly as a religious site. A stone slab with a bull carved on it was found within the well when it was cleared out. This was one of 20 to 30 such bull carvings from the general area, and these were mainly located around the perimeter of the fort.

The area to be scheduled includes the well and the area around the site likely to contain associated archaeological evidence. It measures 30m NNE-SSW by 19m and is marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland


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Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Burghead Well
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Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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