Thorntree Well Fountain

Location: Bothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland

In the 19th century, the town of Bothwell’s water supply came from a series of public wells. Towards the end of the century these wells were being replaced with piped water. One such well named Thorntree, situated at the junction of Green Street and Main Street, was replaced with a drinking fountain in 1889. Public subscription raised funds for the project in 1888.

The fountain was damaged in April 1896 when it was hit by a tramway bus drawn by four horses. “On Monday night, about nine o’clock, while a tramway bus drawn by four horses, and driven by John Sinclair, 109 Broad street, Carlton, Glasgow, was passing through the village on its way to the city, the driver mistaking the road, took the off-side of the fountain at the foot of Green Street, and went crash against the stone wall at the corner opposite. About fifteen feet of the wall gave way, and the driver was thrown from his seat, sustaining an ugly cut on his temple. The passengers escaped with bruises” Hamilton Advertiser 11/4/1896.

The fountain was removed circa 1940s when it became an obstacle to tramway lines and increased motor traffic.

Design #80 manufactured by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in the Saracen´s foundry, Glasgow was well suited for Street Crossings, Squares, Market Places, etc., as it afforded drinking accommodation for a large number of horses and drivers, and effectively lit a wide space, with the least possible obstruction to other traffic. It was 12ft 9ins high providing a circular cast iron basin supported on legs in the form of horses’ hooves. The central stanchion with attic base supported a central fluted column and the option of a shield for inscription. Cups suspended on chains hung from two projecting consoles in the form of tendrils. A bulbous form engraved with acanthus bas-relief demarcated the transformation of the column into a lamp pillar (#30) with lantern design #208. Yoke maintenance arms were positioned beneath the lantern.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Fluted Shaft, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Yoke maintenance arms, the bars near the top of the street light which supported the lamplighter’s ladder

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