Burnt House Well, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Healing Well (covered):  OS Grid Reference – TQ 6000 3963

Archaeology & History

Shown on early OS maps as a chalybeate spring, the denuded remains of this site can still be seen in Dunorlan Park, between the tearoom and the lake, where the spring can be seen on the left beneath a large tree.  It was first described in John Britton’s (1832) famous account of the area, who told us:

Site shown on 1872 map

“There is a spring, called Burnt House Spring, situated in a little dell, in a romantic spot to the right of the road leading from Tunbridge Wells to Pembury. It is a good chalybeate, and the iron is in a state of carbonate. This spring rises rapidly into a stone basin, placed in the centre of a circular excavation, about ten feet in diameter and six or eight feet deep, which is bricked round, and with the remains of stone steps leading down to the basin at the bottom. This spring, therefore, has clearly been, at some time, made use of as a medicinal water. It was accidentally discovered choked up with rubbish. The country about Tunbridge Wells abounds with springs of this character.”

The spring was cleaned up some time ago and its waters rise in a square stone-lined chamber—accessed by four stone steps—into a circular stone basin, before flowing down a short channel and into the drains.  I’ve no idea whether or not the water is still drinkable.

References:

  1. Britton, John, Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells and Calverley Estate, Longman: London 1832.

© Paul BennettThe Northern Antiquarian

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