Legend has it that the Cistercian nuns of St Bathan’s Priory, Abbey St Bothans, used an underground passage below the River Whiteadder to get to the church of Strafontane that once stood in this area.
With long associations with religious houses, nuns would have been a common site in this area, from an early as the 12th or 13th century.
Whether there is any truth in the legend, or why the nuns would have needed a secret tunnel to get to the former priory, remains a mystery.
Writer Arthur Granville Bradley (1850-1943) mentions this legend in The Gateway of Scotland, 1912. Throughout the book he refers to conversations with local people, so he may well have heard someone speak of it. By this time there was nothing left to see of this mysterious place of worship which was falling out of living memory:
‘Within the memory of old people […] its ruins and some gravestones still survived, but have long been swept out of existence by the plough.’