An important relic of the first safe drinking water supply, the prominently sited ‘pant’ in the centre of the village of Bowden is the only surviving public water fountain of three shown on early maps. The term ‘pant’ is believed to refer to the pan or trough for collecting water, and it is technically not a well but a cistern, with a tank that originally held around 600 gallons of water, fed from a natural spring in the nearby Eildon hills.
Located in front of the village school, the pant would have been the place where past villagers met and exchanged local news while queuing for water each day. Historic photographs show it embellished with notices and with the village children playing around it. Having fallen out of use in the 1930s, repairs were carried out by the National Trust for Scotland in 1974 and the pant was listed C(S) by Historic Scotland in 2003 but was in poor condition with stones falling away from the walls when we were approached by the local community. The grant aided scheme of repairs included re-roofing, rebuilding sections of the walls and stone replacements. It has arrested the deterioration of the monument and ensured public safety, enhancing the significance of the pant as an expression of local community. The project received a commendation in the 2014 Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards.