“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Well of the Seven Heads

On the A82 in Scotland, which runs along the western bank of Loch Oich, an unusual obelisk can be found at the side of the road. The obelisk catches the eye because at its pinnacle there is a hand clutching a dagger as well as seven severed heads. Beneath the obelisk a well can be found, which is unsurprising known as The Well of the Seven Heads.

The obelisk was constructed in 1812 by the then chief of the Clan McDonell, and it was built to commemorate an event in 1663. The event in question was the murder of Alexander MacDonald, the 12th Chief of the Clan MacDonald (also referred to as McDonell or MacDonnell) and his brother Ranald MacDonald who were stabbed to death by rivals within their clan (an uncle and his six sons). Eventually justice was enacted and the seven murderers were themselves murdered and then decapitated. As the legend goes, the heads were taken to Invergarry to be presented to the High Chief of the Clan MacDonnell (McDonell), and en route they were washed clean at the well, resulting in the well becoming known as 'Tobar-nan-ceann', 'The Well of the Heads'. It is also claimed that at least seven headless bodies were found buried in a mound close by to the well, supposedly validating the legend.

The obelisk.
The heads.
The entrance to the well.
The tunnel to the well.
The well.

Pictures, Scotland (October 2011).

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