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placename:- Gilsland Spa
locality:- Gilsland
parish Waterhead parish, once in Cumberland
county:- Cumbria
spa; spring
coordinates:- NY633677
10Km square:- NY66

1Km square NY6367

photograph

Gilsland Spa -- Gilsland -- Waterhead -- Cumbria / -- Rebuilt; the trickle of water stinks of sulphur. -- NY63486771 (about) -- 21.3.2008

old map:- OS County Series (Cmd 13 5)

County Series maps of Great Britain, scales 6 and 25 inches to 1 mile, published by the Ordnance Survey, Southampton, Hampshire, from about 1863 to 1948.
The area is labelled:-
Gilsland Spa
with detail labels - 'Chalybeate Spa' at about NY63306785 roughly corresponding to a spa on the modern map; Sulphurous Spa about NY63346777; Baths about NY63446776; and 'Bookstall' about 63546782 where the modern map marks a spa.

date:- 1890=1899
period:- 19th century, late; 1890s

old map:- Ford 1839 map

Map of the Lake District, published in A Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, 1839.
thumbnail FD02NY66, button to large image
Gilsland Spa

placename:- Gilsland Spa
county:- Cumberland
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

descriptive text:- Ford 1839 (3rd edn 1843)

Description of Scenery in the Lake District, by William Ford, published by Charles Thurnham, London, et al, 1839; published 1839-52.
Page 115:-
...
GILSLAND SPA
Is a place of great resort, and in point of salubrity and natural beauty, it is far superior to many spas of modern celebrity in the northern part of the island.
From the Railway Station at Rose Hill, a good carriage-road leads up in a gradual ascending sweep, passing a beautiful mansion called the Orchard House, until it reaches the Shaws Hotel, which stands upon an eminence skirted with fine wood. This hotel has recently been thoroughly repaired, enlarged, and remodelled, and now presents good accommodation to family parties and visitors, whether for health or pleasure. ...
Behind the hotel is a field with walks and seats, exhibiting various windings of the Irthing, in its course from the wild fells in the waste. This field covers the mass of rock strata, at the foot of which,
Page 116:-
and on the margin of the river, the celebrated spa issues into day. The strata below the surface mould are said to be disposed in the following order:- First, a course of stratified sandstone, then bituminous shale, which includes a stratum of aluminous schistus, and next porphyry slate, beneath which the sulphurated water issues through a leaden tube, enclosed in a small stone fountain, at the rate of two gallons and a half per minute. The whole height of the precipice is about 90 feet. The strata are intersected by two veins, one upon each side of the sulphurated water, which commencing at the surface, approximate pretty uniformly until they reach the river, at which place they are about 150 yards distant. These veins are composed of calcareous spar and iron pyrites, and contain the above-mentioned strata between them.
This water is remarkably transparent; when poured from one tumbler into another, it sparkles very briskly. To most palates the taste is very agreeable, being somewhat accidulous, and it has generally been found to sit lightly on the stomach. The smell is so strongly impregnated with sulphur as to extend to the distance of several yards. It was originally known by the name of the Holy Well, also by that of Wardrew Spa, the latter name being taken from the tenement and farm on the Northumberland side of the water, and which appears to have been, at one time, the only original place of entertainment. The present mansion was erected in 1752, and is a large and elegantly-
Page 117:-
[elegantly-]finished place, though now in a state of great delapidation.
These waters may be employed either externally or internally in a diversity of diseases, with great success. There are hot and cold baths fitted up in the immediate contiguity of the spring, and also at the hotel. In drinking the water no other precaution or preparation seems necessary than that of commencing with moderation. Time and experience have proved its virtues; and during the last century up to the present time, it has been used both externally and internally with amazing success.
The walk from the hotel down to the spa is short, dry in all weathers, and rather too steep, and will be found inconveniently so on the return by the invalid, although seats are placed at suitable distances, to render the fatigue as light as possible. At the bottom of the hill the path is continued along the water's brink, on a paved terrace to the spa. On the right, adjoining the river, are some plain buildings for the baths, and immediately across the water, a number of large stepping-stones enable you to visit the opposite banks, which are finely wooded, and offer several interesting views from various open points.

placename:- Gilsland Spa
other name:- Holy Well
other name:- Wardrew Spa
date:- 1839
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

old map:- Bowen and Kitchin 1760

New Map of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland, scale about 4 miles to 1 inch, Emanuel Bowen and Thomas Kitchin, published by T Bowles, John Bowles and Son, Robert Sayer, and John Tinney, 1760; published 1760-87.
thumbnail BO18NY76, button to large image
Gilsland Spaw
circle and line

placename:- Gilsland Spaw
date:- 1760
period:- 18th century, late; 1760s

old print:- Rose 1832-35

Engravings - Westmorland, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland Illustrated; from drawings by Thomas Allom, George Pickering, and H Gastineau, described by Thomas Rose, published by H Fisher, R Fisher, and P Jackson, Newgate Street, London, 1832-35.
thumbnail R249, button to large image
Gilsland Spa, Cumberland
Drawn by Thomas Allom, engraved by J Sands, 1833.
date:- 1833
period:- 19th century, early; 1830s

old print:- Farington 1816 (plate 41)

Set of prints, 43 engravings, The Lakes of Lancashire, Westmorland, and Cumberland, drawings by Jospeph Farington, with text by Thomas Hartwell Horne, published by T Cadell, and W Davies, Strand, and by J M'Creery, Black Horse Court, Fleet Street, London, 1816.
thumbnail PR0509, button to large image
Print, uncoloured engraving, View at Gilsland Spa, Waterhead, Cumberland, drawn by Joseph Farington, engraved by Samuel Middiman, published by T Cadell and W Davies, Strand, London, 1815.
Plate 27 in The Lakes of Lancashire, Westmorland, and Cumberland.
printed at bottom, left, right, centre:-
Drawn by J. Farington R.A. / Engraved by S. Middiman. / View at Gilsland Spa. / London Published Septr. 15, 1815, by T. Cadell & W. Davies, Strand.

placename:- Gilsland Spa
date:- 1815
period:- 19th century, early

hearsay There are two of these medicinal springs or spas, the one, called the sulphur well, highly impregnated with sulphuretted hydrogen, and the other the chalybeate well, containing iron in the form of protocarbonate. The curative properties of the former have been known for a century and a half, but the latter was discovered about the year 1812. A section of the rock from which the sulphur spring issues shows the following strata:- Underneath a thin covering of soil lie 33 feet of sandstone of irregular stratification, beneath that are 22 feet 9 inches of bituminous shale, in which is a stratum of aluminous schist 4 feet thick, then come 23 feet or porphyritic slate, in which are embedded crystals of felspar and iron pyrites. From the latter, a combination of iron and sulphur, the water brobably (sic) derives its sulphurous qualities. Below the spa are some thin strata of bituminous shale and clay ironstone. The water issues from the rock through a leaden pipe at the rate of 2 1/2 gallons per minute. The medicinal properties of this well were first studied by Dr. Clanny, of Sunderland, who published his account in 1816. "In general," he says, "a half-pint tumbler of this water is a sufficient dose for an adult, but the quantity ought to be augmented as the stomach becomes accustomed to it, and may be increased, if needful, to the extent of two or three quarts in the forenoon. It acts powerfully upon the kidneys, and as a diuretic stands unrivelled (sic) among mineral waters. Its diaphoretic effects are of no ordinary nature in severe and obstiinate diseases of the skin. It has been found very efficacious in the cure of dyspepsia or indigestion. The water has also proved benficial in scrofula and atonic gout, and as an external application in ill-conditioned and irritable ulcers." Dr. Clany submitted the water to analysis and found one gallon to contain -
A more particular analysis was made in 1858 by the late Dr. George Wilson, of Edinburgh, who obtained the following results from one imperial gallon of the water:-
Specific gravity 1.0003
The Chalybeate or iron well, which lies in a wood some little distance from the sulphur one, is hardly deserving of the name of well, as the flow of water is so small that some minutes are occupied in filling a tumbler. The water has proved very beneficial in aggravated cases of indigestion, and as an external application in foul ulcers. Dr. Wilson submitted the water to careful analysis, and obtained the following resultL-
Specific gravity, 1.154.
Bulmer 1880s (1st edn 1884/Cmd) (pp.464-466)

photo
courtesy of Ed Henderson

imageBVJ90.jpg
-- Gilsland Spa Sulphur Spring, -- NY63476776

imageBVJ91.jpg
-- Gilsland Spa Sulphur Spring, -- NY63476776

imageBVJ92.jpg
-- Gilsland Spa Sulphur Spring, -- NY63476776

imageBVJ93.jpg
-- Gilsland Spa Sulphur Spring, -- NY63476776
These photos are of second spring which is more difficult to find. It is perhaps because of this that it has not been modernised. It discharges from a grotto constructed in the past. The graffiti are carved into the rock at the side of the spring.

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Old Cumbria Gazetteer - JandMN: 2013

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