History and Information on Leamington in the County of Warwickshire.

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Leamington Pubs

Some history of Leamington

Leamington Spa is regarded as something of a trendy upmarket town featuring wide streets lined with Regency buildings housing trendy boutiques. However, served by the railways and canal network, there has been plenty of industrial activity in the town. There is indeed a 'new' and 'old' town, the latter occupying land to the south of the river. Leamington was a small place until the early 19th century. In fact, in 1811 only 543 people lived here. By 1891 the population had risen to 5,536, a dramatic increase that required the construction of many public houses to serve the local populace.

Along with Tunbridge Wells, Royal Leamington Spa is one of only two English spa towns to have been granted the 'royal' prefix. Saline springs were recorded in the 16th century but it was not until the 18th century that Leamington was recognised as a spa town.

Valued at £4, a settlement of 16 households was recorded at 'Lamintone' to the south of the river at the time of the Domesday survey. The modern town includes other villages documented in the Domesday survey, including Newbold Comyn and Lillington.

Following the Norman conquest, the manor of Lamintone was bequeathed to Henry de Newburgh. The town became known as Leamington Priors on account of the manor once being held by the Priory of Kenilworth, a gift from the son of Geoffrey de Clinton. The other Leamington in Warwickshire was owned by the Hastings family. The name of Leamington Priors appeared in 1533 and was not changed to Royal Leamington Spa until the reign of Queen Victoria. The name pervades in the ecclesiastical parish of All Saints' Church.

There was almost certainly a Saxon church at Lamintone as a priest was recorded by the Normans. The first known priest however is Henry de Keton who was recorded in 1315. At this time the church was a chapel to Leek Wootton.

It was near the parish church that a saline spring was recorded in 1480 by John Rous, a chantry priest at Guy's Cliffe near Warwick. In his topographical survey of the country, the antiquarian William Camden mentioned the spring and its beneficial properties. The natural spring was later named the Camden Well. In his 'Antiquities of Warwickshire,' William Dugdale also wrote of the spring, though he observed that the locals largely used the water for the seasoning of meat.

Increasing academic research into the medicinal benefits of mineral springs fostered a determination to discover sources of spring water as it was recognised this could bring some economic gains. And it was a publican that would help to shape the future of Leamington Priors. Together with the shoemaker Benjamin Satchwell, William Abbots, landlord of the Dog Inn, discovered a second source of spring water in January 1784 on land close to what would become Bath Lane. Fortunately for William Abbots, the discovery was made on his land and it was not long before the Dog Inn was fully booked as visitors came to enjoy the waters. The other main beneficiary was the landlord of the Bowling Green Inn, which at the time was the only other place offering accommodation.

The number of visitors to Leamington increased through the promotion by Dr. Kerr of Northampton who brought patients for the intrinsic worth offered by the spring waters. William Abbots sank a well and erected a simple bath house for visitors. This was later enlarged and improved. In the early 19th century this was taken over by John Goold and re-named Goold's Original Bath and Pump Rooms. A number of other commercial baths were opened but the spring water could still be accessed for free at the original spring near the church. The landowner was the 4th Earl of Aylesford who paid for the construction of a stone house over the spring where the local poor people could obtain the water free-of-charge. Wealthier visitors were charged a fee by Widow Webb, the first keeper of the well house. Rebuilt and modified in subsequent years, the Well House was eventually demolished in 1961.

The additional bath houses, such as Wise's Baths and Robbin's Well, cemented Leamington's reputation as a rival to Bath and Cheltenham. All that was needed was the infrastructure and buildings to elevate the status of the town. Although the baths were located to the south of the river, it was to the north that speculative development was initiated. Building work of the 'new town' started in 1808 with a terrace on the corner of Regent Street and The Parade. The landowner, Mr. Greatheed, determined to find a source of saline water north of the river. He formed a partnership with three men from Warwick and, following the successful sinking of a well, opened the New Pump Rooms and Baths in July 1814.


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Photographs of Leamington

leamington-all-saints-church leamington-bath-street-waterloo-house leamington-clarendon-avenue-rawlings-and-winyard leamington-alliance-football-club

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Coat-of-Arms

The arms, officially granted in 1876, one year after Royal Leamington Spa became a borough in April 1875, consists of a crest and shield beneath which is the motto "Sola bona quae honesta." Favoured by the first Mayor, this mean "Those things alone are good which are honourable." The two historic Manors of Newbold Comyn and Leamington are represented by the silver and gold segments on the shield. The chevron vair is taken from the arms of Fisher of Great Packington, the seat of the family who owned the Manor of Leamington during the 18th century. Three red mullets represent the Willes' of Newbold whilst the blue border that incorporates golden Fleur de Lys is from the arms of Geoffrey de Clinton, chamberlain and treasurer to King Henry I, who gave Leamington to the Priory of Kenilworth.

Genealogy Connections

If you have a genealogy story or query regarding Leamington you can contact me and I will post it here in addition to including your message within the website pages for Warwickshire Genealogy.

Have Your Say

If you would like to share any further information on Leamington - perhaps you drank in one of the pubs in the past? Or maybe knew a previous publican running one of the boozers? Whatever the reason it would be great to hear of your stories or gossip. Simply send a message and I will post it here.


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Related Newspaper Articles

"The Superintendent of Police reported that, on the 3rd inst. Sergeant Staite reported Police Constable Webb for being drunk when on duty, at 4.30 p.m. This man, who was only appointed on the 5th ult., had been suspended the Superintendent, and his clothing and appointments placed in store. On this clause being read over, Mr. Wamsley made an observation, to the effect that the drunkenness in the force was "only about the average." Mr. Superintendent Lund did not know whether the Board would consider the remark a member had made was justifiable. Mr. Bradshaw asked if Mr. Lund referred to him? Mr. Supt. Lund replied that he did not, but to Mr. Wamsley, who said "it is only about the average" - alluding to something he [Mr. Lund] only repeated but did not state as his opinion at the last Warwick Assizes. Mr. Wamsley: "Don't say anything about last Warwick Assizes, Mr. Lund, there has been quite enough said about that subject." Some of the members of this Board had £3, £6, £7, and £8 a piece. The man Webb was then brought into the Board-room, and the Chairman told him that he had been reported for having been drunk at half-past four o'clock of the afternoon of the 3rd inst. Webb: "Quite correct." The Chairman: "Then I don't think we have anything further to say to you." Webb said he was accused of being drunk at half-past nine o'clock the same morning, and was examined in the Superintendent's room by Messrs. Busby and Marriott, the police surgeons, who passed him sober. He therefore went on duty, but at half-past four o'clock he was drunk, and was certain to be in that state, because of the annoyance to which he had been subjected. Mr. Wamsley: "You were very drunk in Newbold Street in the afternoon." Webb: "That is very likely." Mr. Lund said that both Messrs. Busby and Marriott were of the opinion that Webb was drunk when they examined him in the morning. When the men fell in for duty at nine o'clock, his [Mr. Lund's] attention was called to the state of Webb, and he was convinced from the manner in which he spoke and acted that he was drunk. He therefore had him examined by the police surgeons, who were of the opinion that he was drunk. It happened to be Wednesday, and he [Mr. Lund] was detained at the Petty Sessions until after three o'clock in the afternoon, when be found that Webb had gone on duty, but about half-past four on the same afternoon Sergeant Staite found him drunk in the Holly-Walk and brought him to the police station. Mr. Bradshaw: "Is this the first time?" Mr. Supt. Lund: "He has only been in the force a month." Webb said that was sent to the station for Mr. Lund' paper on the morning in question, and on his way back an older constable sent him for a time table. When he got back he nearly jumped down his throat, and when he asked him if he was a warrant officer, he replied "am I an ass" [laughter]. Then the doctors were brought to examine him, and when they had done with him resolved to have a "fling." He wanted the next morning to give up his uniform and retire from the service. Mr. Bradshaw : "You have no desire, then, to stop in the force?" Webb replied that he had not. It was "as false as h-l" that Mr. Lund was present when the men fell in for drill at nine o'clock, and that he then complained that he [Webb] was drunk." Mr. Bowen: "I think we have heard quite enough." Mr. Muddeman remarked that he was at the Town Hail at half-past nine o'clock on the morning in question, and that he then saw Webb being sent off to the police surgeons for examination. The Board decided to dismiss Webb from the force, and thus the matter ended."
"Policeman Reported For Being Drunk"
Leamington Advertiser : June 18th 1868 Page 2

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