Edinburgh World Heritage - St Bernards Well


St Bernards Well

“The chief ornament of this delightful valley” Alexander Campbell, 1801

A natural spring was discovered near the Dean Village on the Water of Leith in 1760, and was soon a visitor attraction as at that time ‘taking the waters’ was thought to be very good for the health.

Some claimed that the water could cure everything from a bruised leg to ‘total blindness’, but others described the taste as having the ‘odious twang of hydrogen gas’ or even like ‘the washings from a foul gun barrel’.

The building was designed by the painter Alexander Nasymth in 1789, and the statue inside represents Hygeia the Greek goddess of health.


Download the Heritage Trail (PDF | 2.3MB)


Charles McKean, Professor of Architectural History at Dundee University, talks about the fascinating past of the well and the Dean Village.

Download Podcast (mp3 | 3.1MB)


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