St. Bernard’s Well

The Water of Leith may not be where one expects to find an intricate depiction of Hygeia, the Goddess of Health according to Greek mythology, yet one has stood proudly by its stream for over 200 years. Apocrypha states that this specific spring was discovered accidentally by a group of schoolboys wandering the city in the latter half of the 18th century, leading to its purchase by abolitionist campaigner Lord Gardenstone.

The Greco-Roman stylings of the well were designed by renowned artist Alexander Nasmyth in 1789. Eight classical pillars are arranged circularly to support the high roof, beneath which Hygeia herself watches over the Water of Leith. Throughout the year, the interior of St Bernard’s Well opens to the public, revealing its further antiquarian pastiche: a Roman mosaic, Greek vase, and even a hot water pump.

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