NS3975 : Shear's Well, Levengrove Park

taken 9 years ago, near to Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, Great Britain

Shear's Well, Levengrove Park
Shear's Well, Levengrove Park
For closer looks, see NS3975 : Shear's Well, Levengrove Park and NS3975 : Shear's Well, Levengrove Park.

This object would easily pass unremarked, but its water source was, at one time, of great importance for the town of Dumbarton. See the first end-note for a more detailed description. Note that the structure shown here was replaced in 2018 by a new one. Click on the first end-note title for other views, including those of the replacement structure.
Shear's Well, Levengrove Park

Shear's Well, marked as a water pump on OS maps from 1914 onwards, is located near the eastern edge of Levengrove Park. The small structure built over that well was replaced in 2018 during a programme of improvements to the park. According to an information panel installed beside the well in June 2019, the original water pump was manufactured by George Smith & Sons, of the Sun Foundry, Glasgow.

See LinkExternal link (at SketchFab) for a manipulable online 3D model, by Rathmell Archaeology, of the water pump and of the small adjacent structure (that is, the one built in 2018).

Shear's Well is not far from the ruins Link of St Serf's Church, and the name "Shear's" is possibly related to "Serf's". David Murray, author of "Old Cardross" (1880), records that the saint's name itself is encountered in various forms: Servanus, Serf, Serran, Sair, Seres. He was of the opinion that "Shear's" is derived from the last of those forms. Donald MacLeod states, in his "Historic Families, Notable People, and Memorabilia of the Lennox" (1891), that "St Shear's or St Serf's well, the holy well, supplied Under Kirkton village with water", and that "it is now a drinking fountain in the Park" (Under Kirkton was the name of a little settlement or clachan, now long gone, that grew up beside St Serf's church).

The water pump and the small adjacent structure are not shown on the first-edition OS map (surveyed in c.1860). That map does show a well, though; it was not at the same location as Shear's Well, but was about 50 metres to the northwest. In 2018, an old well was uncovered near that spot: see Link for pictures of it, and for more information.

In view of their nearness to each other, it is likely that both wells are supplied by the same source. The practical importance of this water source lay in the fact that, for a long time, it fed Dumbarton's Town Well. The latter was located on the High Street of the medieval burgh, that is, on the other side of the River Leven. A pipe was therefore laid on the bed of the Leven to direct the water to the town well. See Link for more on that topic, and for the relevant entries from the Burgh records.

Levengrove Park :: NS3974

The lands of Levengrove were originally part of an area named Ferrylands, so called because, before Dumbarton Bridge was built in 1765, the River Leven was crossed by means of a ferry. John Dixon, a Dumbarton merchant, acquired Levengrove in 1805 from Richard Dennistoun of Kelvingrove (in Glasgow).

The Dixons built Levengrove House (demolished c.1880), whose former grounds make up much of what is now the park. In 1885, Levengrove Park, 32 acres in area, was gifted to the town of Dumbarton by Dr Peter Denny and John McMillan (son of local shipbuilder Archibald McMillan), the expense to them being 20,000.

The park contains the ruins of St Serf's Church Link anciently the parish church of Cardross. That church was at one time part of a cluster of buildings, a clachan, that is marked as "Little Kirktoun" on the Pont/Blaeu map of the Lennox. The ruined church was later used by the Dixon family as a burial place: see Link (in a Geograph article).

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NS3975, 598 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Friday, 19 August, 2011   (more nearby)
Thursday, 27 October, 2011
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Water resources 
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Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3936 7510 [10m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.5211N 4:34.4196W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NS 3936 7511
View Direction
SOUTH (about 180 degrees)
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