Stirling Names – Buttwell and Dumyat


For the prudish, Butt in this context is nothing to do with derrieres, rather it’s connected to archery butts where people practiced archery, a vital military skill, which were placed in the Butt Park behind the well. After 1507 the Butt Park was the focus of jousting for Kings James IVth and Vth. The Butt Well is the well next to the Butt Park, and is fed by a spring from the under the castle. The earliest reference to the well appears to be from 1582, when it was known as the Spout Well. At the bottom left of the well is worn depression caused by the erosion of hundreds of feet over the centuries stooping to fill buckets from the well. If the niche is original and not a Victorian addition then it likely held an icon of a saint which would have been removed after the reformation.

Butt Well


Dumyat is the oldest name in Stirling and relates not to the hill but to the prehistoric hillfort just below it (now known as Castle Law). Dumyat is a corruption of Dun Maeatae, which means the ‘fort of the Maeatae’.

Dumyat & WallMon

The Maeatae is the original name for the tribe that lived in Stirling around 200 AD and their name also survives in Myot Hill near Falkirk (Maeatae Hill). The Maeatae formed an alliance with the Caledonians to the North and this was the reason given by the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus for his invasion of Scotland in 208, he also said that he wanted to toughen his children up on the wild barbarian frontier…….he’d obviously seen the city on Saturday night! Septimius stayed at Craigarnhall on his campaign north, which means that for a brief couple of days in 208 Stirling was the capitol of the Roman Empire!

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