Rediscovered for History: The De’il’s Well and Ghaist Hall near Glenluce

Congratulations to David Baird for finding and photographing the De’il’s Well, which is probably the traditional site where the Glenluce Devil is alleged to have threatened to cast in a weaver’s daughter called Janet Campbell in 1655.

Campbells croft 2

Campbell’s Croft, Photograph © Copyright David Baird and reproduced by his kind permission.

A couple of months ago, I posted about the Devil of Glenluce, a story recorded by George Sinclair in the 1670s and in his Satan’s Invisible World Discovered of 1685. Almost immediately, David commented that the were local sites near Glenluce which were possibly connected to the story at Campbell’s Croft, see photograph above, or Ghaist Ha’. The original OS map then revealed that the De’il’s Well lay beside Ghaist Ha’ or Hall.

Deil's Well, Campbell;s Croft, Ghaist Hall Glenluce

David conducted a great piece of field work to find and photograph the two locations. He describes the locations as follows.

Deils Well looking S

The De’il’s Well looking south. Photograph © Copyright David Baird and reproduced by his kind permission.

Map of De’il’s Well

‘The De’il’s Well was easy to find – it’s more of a spring (with a good flow) rather than a well, and if there was ever any stonework or cover around it then it’s long gone. The original basin of the well has silted up a bit but is still quite obvious, and the farmer has made a bit of a pond of the outflow presumably as a water supply for livestock.’

Deils Well looking NE

The De’il’s Well looking north-east. Photograph © Copyright David Baird and reproduced by his kind permission.

According to Sinclair’s story of the Devil:

‘Jennet Campbell going one day to the Well, to bring home some Water, was conveyed, with a shril whistling about her ears, which made her say, I would fain hear thee speake, as well as Whistle. Hereupon it said, after a threatening manner, I’le cast thee Iennet into the Well.’

As David very wisely points out, if you visit the well, DO NOT DRINK THE WATER, as it is highly likely that it is contaminated with animal dung which contains the nasty Cryptosporidium parasite.

Ghaist Ha' site looking SE

Ghaist Ha’ looking south-east. Photograph © Copyright David Baird and reproduced by his kind permission.

Both locations lie to the west of Blackhill near Glenluce. The field pattern had remained relatively unchanged near the sites.

Map of Ghaist Ha’

Ghaist Ha’ is probably the traditional site for the Campbell family home, nearby Campbell’s Croft appears to be a later place name. It was probably at Ghaist Ha’ that the Glenluce Devil is reported to have terrorized the family in 1655 to 1656. Ghaist Ha’ may also be where Jock of Broad Scotland, aka Alexander Agnew a renowned atheist who was executed for blasphemy in 1656, allegedly threatened the Campbell family after he was refused alms.

Ghaist ha' site looking NE

Ghaist Ha’ looking north-east. Photograph © Copyright David Baird and reproduced by his kind permission.

David records:

‘There is nothing visible at all at the site of Ghaist Ha’ apart perhaps from the ground being a bit more level than the rest of the gently sloping hill. I had a good look around the edges of the field and the dykes for any signs of dressed stone or mortar but with no result, so I assume that if there was a building on this site any rubble has been completely removed and any foundations ploughed out.’

Well done David, an outstanding effort. Thank you for bringing these places back to a wider historical audience.

For other strange events and wonders of the 1680s, see here.

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Additional Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

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~ by drmarkjardine on March 31, 2015.

2 Responses to “Rediscovered for History: The De’il’s Well and Ghaist Hall near Glenluce”

  1. […] similar to the case of the Glenluce Devil, which haunted a weaver’s house in the West. Recently, the well where the Glenluce Devil first appeared has probably been tracked […]

  2. […] the Peden Stone near Auchensoul Hill, the Peden Stone at Linthills, Peden’s Point near Dalry and The Deil’s Well. So can […]

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