News. Lady’s Well

9th of July, 2019

A small team of skilled apprentices completed a 16-month-long project to restore The Lady’s Well on the Dumfries House Estate. The Lady’s Well was dug prior to the House being built for William Crichton-Dalrymple, the 5th Earl of Dumfries between 1768 and 1772. Originally, the well served Leifnorris House but was destroyed by World War II explosives planted by soldiers stationed on the estate who were reportedly smarting after being romantically spurned by a woman from Cumnock.

The apprentices reinstated both the well and its overhead stone structure to its original design and those who have worked on the structure have honed skills that are valuable to the conservation of many of the UK’s historic buildings. Their work represents the resurrection of a significant part of the history of Dumfries House and will be admired by some of the 140,000 annual visitors to the estate.

Gordon Neil, deputy executive director of The Prince’s Foundation, explained: “The Lady’s Well was a structure that existed on the estate before Dumfries House was even built. We delved into the fascinating history of the structure and His Royal Highness was very enthusiastic about our stonemasons having the opportunity to hone their skills and play a significant role in reinstating an important feature of the estate. We are delighted with the result of the considerable efforts of the team to complete it.”

The Lady’s Well project is part of a series of ongoing training initiatives run by The Prince’s Foundation across the UK which aim to preserve traditional craft building skills such as stonemasonry, thatching, dry-stone walling and pargetting for future generations.