St Catherine's Well, Liberton

Grid reference

NT 273 683 (accurate position)

Six-figure easting & northing

327300 668300







Nearby places

St Catherine's Chapel, Liberton (0.09 miles)

Liberton, parish (0.69 miles)

Our Lady's Well, Liberton (0.82 miles)

St Margaret's Well, Lasswade (1.39 miles)

Pentland, former parish, Lasswade (1.42 miles)

Object Classification



Is linear feature?



The Balm Well or Oily Well of St Catherine. It gets its name from the black oily film which lies on its surface, which derives from oil shale below the well. The water has long been held to be a curative for skin diseases such as leprosy and eczema. It is dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria. NMRS records that in 1504 James IV made an offering to "Sanct Katrine's of the oly well", and James IV in 1617 ordered that it should be built with stones, and steps made, for easier access. The stonework of the well was almost totally demolished by Cromwell's soldiers in 1650. _____________ It was recorded of this well, probably in the late seventeenth century: 'there is a Wellspring which sends up with the Water and Oyl, or rather a Balsam reasonable thick and fat. This Balsam is gathered and preserved by the Heritors 10 moneths of the year, and is a soveraign cure for wrests, Akings &c.' (Geog. Coll. iii, 123).

Relationships with other parishes

Within Liberton, parish

Within Liberton, parish

Relationships with other places

Adjacent St Catherine's Chapel, Liberton