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History of Tunbridge Wells.
Royal Tunbridge Wells grew up around the Chalybeate – or iron-bearing – Spring discovered and publicised by Dudley, Lord North, in 1606. The twenty-five year old nobleman was in poor health – due, it is said, to over-indulgence at the court of James I. In the hope that country air would provide a cure, he went to stay with Lord Abergavenny on his Eridge estate. While riding along the bottom of Tunbridge Wells Common, he noticed a spring spilling out orange-coloured water. There was already a well-known health-resort at Spa in present-day Belgium, based on springs of a similar nature, so Lord North quickly realised that he had found a new spa resort for England. Claiming that drinking the water had restored him to perfect health, he spread the word among royalty, nobility and gentry.
The first recorded royal visitor to ‘take the waters’ was Queen Henrietta Maria, who spent six weeks here in 1629. Charles II and Queen Catherine came on several occasions in the 1660s. They are said to have stayed at what is now Mount Ephraim House, while the bulk of their court camped out on the open Common. The future James II visited in 1670, popularising the High Rocks as a favoured venue for a day’s outing.
An article with links constantly maintained
Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.