Thursday, 29 November 2007

Bushmills Ancient Wells

“Bring me a drink of the well of Sharvagh,” pleaded a young girl, fever-tossed on a bed of sickness at Moycraig. Water was brought from a near-by well but the moment she had taken one sip, “Take it away,” she said, “this is not the water of Sharvagh.” Swift and loving feet, though Sharvagh was some distance away, ran and fetched the desired water. When the sick girl had taken a draught she fell into a refreshing and healing sleep, from which she awoke restored.

In days agone Bushmills got its water supply from three wells, clear and unpolluted: Robin’s Well, by the river’s brink at the head of the town; the well which is still in King William’s Square in the centre; and the Berry Brae Well in the west. Sharvagh Well is in private property and was in the possession and reserved by the Anderson family seventy years ago. (Hugh Anderson, of Clogher-Anderson, was a distiller).

There were also two wells further out: Hamill’s Well, near the Manse, and another a short distance up the road leading to Sir Francis Macnaghten’s farmyard which supplied the watering-trough at the Porter Lodge.

Sixty years ago the water at the Berry Brae Well ceased flowing for some years in consequence of being polluted by a woman who washed her feet in it.