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Tunbridge Wells Common Tour - Page 4

COLD BATH AND SPRING -- The Cold Bath was constructed around 1766, falling into disuse with the construction of the Bath House in 1804. The well was sunk over a chalybeate spring about 1700. Both structures became buried in the early nineteenth century and were rediscovered during road works in 1971.

JUBILEE OAKS, 1935 -- Contemporary press accounts report that a pair of scarlet chestnuts were planted near Fonthill in May 1935 to celebrate George V's Silver Jubilee. It is presumed that the original trees did not survive, and that the two oaks on the site today are replacements.

MILE STONE -- This small pillar of local sandstone originally indicated thirty-six miles to London, but is now illegible. It dates from at least the early nineteenth century.

YORK COTTAGE -- Built by George Mercer, a chaise driver, who in 1820 obtained permission from the Freeholders and the Lady of the Manor (Elizabeth Shorey) to enclose a small portion of the Common for the purpose. It is a survivor of a number of small cottages on the Commons, most of which were replaced by more substantial structures in Victorian times.

CHARTER GROUP -- A group of limes planted by John Stone Wigg, the first mayor of Tunbridge Wells, to celebrate the granting of borough status to the town in February 1889.

LUTWIDGE GROUP -- The pine tree on the corner is the most conspicuous survivor of five trees planted in November 1895 by the mayor elect, Major C.R. Fletcher Lutwidge, as part of a scheme promoted by the Tradesmen's Association by which individuals and organisations had subscribed around 150 trees. Trees planted on the opposite corner by the outgoing mayor, Sir David Lionel Salomons, succumbed to a gorse fire.

FIR TREE POND -- A noted beauty spot in Victorian and Edwardian times, named from a pair of Scots pines (affectionately named Darby and Joan) with a seat around them which stood on top of the slope above. Having succumbed to old age, they were cut down in 1914 and replacements, still to be seen today, were planted. The pond is situated in a an extensive hollow described in 1957 as an ‘old quarry’. The pond was restored in 1992.

ERIDGE ROAD -- Formerly known as Brighton Road, hence the name given to the lake situated beside it. As is the case generally on the perimeter of the Commons, the Common officially extends across the road and includes the strip of grass with trees on the other side.

BRIGHTON LAKE -- Fed by a chalybeate spring (visible on the northern edge) and excavated in 1858 as part of a scheme instigated by William Law Pope, minister of King Charles' church, to provide work for the town's unemployed, wages being paid by public subscription. It was nicknamed Pope's Puddle or Pope's Folly. The official name relates to the fact that it stands on the road to Brighton. Today the pond is an important habitat for wildlife, including frogs, toads, newts, grass snakes, and dragonflies. Photo Easter 2007

TERRACE WALK -- Revd Pope's unemployed workers also created a 'greensward terrace walk' above the pond.

ROAD TO HIGH ROCKS -- The path just to the north of the terrace walk is the eighteenth century road to High Rocks, whose continuation past the e is known as Cabbage Stalk Lane. There are traces of old excavations for sand or gravel on its northern side.


Page last updated: 13/11/2007