Chalybeate Spring - Royal Tunbridge Wells - United Kingdom
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member eilers1
N 51° 07.604 E 000° 15.523
31U E 308185 N 5667491
Quick Description: The Chalybeate Spring at Royal Tunbridge Wells provides it's "healthy" water for over 400 years. The city in fact wouldn't exist if the spring wasn't there.
Location: South East England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 2/11/2019 11:33:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM102FJ
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Clan Riffster
Views: 2

Long Description:
The Chalybeate Spring

Without the Chalybeate Spring, Royal Tunbridge Wells would not exist. The natural Spring was discovered by a well-travelled English nobleman, a visitor on his way back up to the capital of England.

For more than 400 years visitors from afar have revelled in the accessibility and beauty of the area and stayed in the Tunbridge Wells region.

Since 1606, in fact tourists have come to see and be seen in fashionable Tunbridge Wells (it was not Royal until over 300 years later), but above all to 'take the waters'.

The word chalybeate (pronounced ka-lee-bee-at) means iron-rich, and the iron taste is evident in the water. It dyes everything orange too, notice the staining round the walls of the bowls at the Spring.

At the height of its popularity in the eighteenth century, the Spring water was reputed to cure all sorts of ills from infertility and hangovers to obesity and 'a moist brain'.

History Of The Spring
The Chalybeate Spring was a fortuitous find by the young nobleman, Dudley Lord North - 3rd Baron North, who noticed the reddish brown waters of the Spring foaming slightly from the ground.

Lord North had spent several days at the Abergavenny Estate at nearby Eridge recuperating and was returning on horseback to London.

Feeling a bit the worse for wear from heavy drinking and merrymaking, Lord North drank the water to quench his thirst.

Feeling much rejuvenated from drinking the cool iron-rich spring water, he declared it to be health-giving to all his friends and acquaintances.

The news of the Spring and its exceptional properties circulated and noble visitors from London and elsewhere flocked to the resulting hamlet springing up alongside the natural spa.

Since it wasn’t far from Tonbridge (originally spelled Tunbridge), already a town, it later became known as Tunbridge Wells.

The Wells
In the eighteenth century, the Chalybeate Spring became a vital daily custom for any honourable lady or gentleman visiting 'The Wells'.

Each day began with a tumbler of the spring water, followed by a “promenade” on The Walks, now known as The Pantiles, or a sojourn to the coffee house to hear the most up-to-date gossip, then off to church at the nearby Chapel of Ease, King Charles the Martyr.

After luncheon, time was whiled away with more “promenading”, wagering or a friendly game of bowls on one of the nearby greens. The evening finished with further betting, dancing, a musical soiree or ostentatious ball.

Drinking The Natural Spring Water
The Chalybeate spring water was served by someone called a 'Dipper' for a small fee - not for the water, which has always been designated as belonging to the people, but for being served the medicinal solution in a genteel fashion.

This tradition carries on today, as in the summer it is still possible to sample the cool Chalybeate Spring water served by a costumed dipper.

(source: The official Tourism Website for Tunbridge Wells)
Public or Private Land?: Public

Public Land Fees?: no fee

Private Land access?: It is on public ground in a street in the centre of the town

Visit Instructions:
Please post an original picture of the springs no GPS necessary along with your observations of the spring. What wildlife you saw if any and the condition of the springs. Water level was high, low. The area was clean, trashy ect. Any other knowledge or experiences you have had with this paticular spring that would help document it's history.
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Master Mariner visited Chalybeate Spring - Royal Tunbridge Wells - United Kingdom 7/14/2020 Master Mariner visited it
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