The Munlochy Cloutie Well

Water is to be venerated, a clean reliable source is the difference between life and death. The worship of water is pre-Christian and there are many hundeds of 'holy' wells throughout the length and breadth of Britain. With the advent of Christianity, pagan water worship was assimilated into the Christian faith. Besides being a life-giving force, many wells are said to posses remedial properties. The 'Cloutie Well', dedicated to Saint Boniface (patron of tailors), is believed to be able to cure all kinds of illness but only if a rag, known as a cloutie, is left in return as an offering, having first been rubbed on the infected area. According to tradition the cloutie must be red.

Many thousands of clouties, rags and bits of clothing are tied to the trees around the well and from lines strung between them. There was once said to have been a chapel on site, although I could find no remains of it.


By tradition to have your healing granted you should spill some water from the well three times upon the ground, representing the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy-Spirit, (or perhaps Virgin, Mother and Crone). A red cloutie is torn from your clothes, rubbed upon the ailment and tied to a a tree near the well. The sign of the cross is made and water from the well is drunk. As the cloutie disintigrates with time so your illness will be healed.


The water is said to be most effective when drunk upon May 1st or the following Sunday. To remove a cloutie from the branches of the trees will result in that person falling victim to the misfortunes of the first owner.


The Cloutie Well is on the A832 between Tore and Munlochy, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland.