Looking At Edinburgh

25 August 2008

St Bernard’s Well

St Bernard's Well

St Bernard’s Well is named for St Bernard of Clairvaux, founder of the Cistercian order, who is supposed to have discovered it in the 12th century while taken ill when living in a nearby cave. (It’s only fair to say that most biographers do not record this stay in a Scottish cave.) Bernard was attracted to the spring by birds, but after some days of drinking the water (which is said to taste like “the washings of foul gunbarrels”, at least once gunbarrels had been invented) the saint was restored to health.

In 1788 Francis Garden, Lord Gardenstone (1721-1793) was so impressed by the well’s effects that he commissioned the circular temple over the wellhouse.

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