13.  St. Bernard’s Well

Having passed the private designed gardens flanking the river and the smaller St Georges well you are now at St Bernard’s well. A natural spring was discovered by three Heriots’s school boys whilst out fishing in the river in 1760. Lord Gardenstone, the senator of the college of justice, believed he had benefited from the health giving properties of the waters so commissioned Alexander Naysmith in 1788 to build this well.

A circular temple created above the well features a statue of Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health and cleanliness. In 1888 the well was lavishly refurbished by the publisher William Nelson to include a mosaiced interior. Later the well was gifted to the city and finally closed in the 1960s, ironically due to the unhygienic nature of the water which was foul and sulphurous. The Well is open to the public during Sundays in August and during doors open day in September. It is well worth a visit.

Down the steps and along the lower path you will see a natural medicinal herb garden created by volunteers. Continue downstream to Stockbridge and pass through the impressive stone bridge built in 1824. The next audio point is on the main bridge in Stockbridge.

Video created by Bryce Morrison, Edinburgh U3A Movie Makers Group

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