Record Details

NHER Number:33717
Type of record:Monument
Name:Spring Walks

Summary

This site encompasses the land between the rivers Thet and Little Ouse, from Nuns Bridges (NHER 46326 and NHER 46327) in the southeast to the paper mill bridge (Bridges Walk) in the northwest, which was developed into ornamental spa walks in the early 19th century.
Prior to the construction of the pump room and Spring House (NHER 30142), this land was separated into four areas. The northern area between Bridges Walk and the paper mill was known as Small Bridge Common while the southern portion consisted of an area called Spring Meadow flanked by two areas of common land. The spring was located in the northwest corner of Spring Meadow, but the pump house (NHER 30142) was constructed on the former common land to the northwest. The pump house was completed by 1820, and the Mayor (J. B. Faux) had a gravel walk constructed from the paper mill bridge (Bridges Walk) to Nuns Bridge 'to serve as a promenade for invalids resorting to the spa.' The gravelled promenade was lined with Elm trees, with seats placed at convenient distances, and the views of the paper mill (NHER 51706) from Small Bridge Common were praised for their aesthetics. The Lammas Meadows (NHER 51831) to the north would also have formed part of the setting of the Spring Walks. The spa was closed to the public in 1838 and Spring House became a private residence. It is likely at this time that walls were erected along the southern boundary of the property, partially severing it from the Spring Walks. By 1885 two roughly square enclosed formal gardens had been laid out to the west of the house and by this time the walks themselves appear to have decayed, the lines of the trees appearing broken. However, the northern portion of the path over Small Bridge Common had been partially lined with trees. Remnants of the 19th century planting were observed during a site visit in 1996 or 1997 during the Norfolk Town Gardens Survey. These are the only known survival of spa walks in the county.

Images - none

Location

Grid Reference:TL 8704 8274
Map Sheet:TL88SE
Parish:THETFORD, BRECKLAND, NORFOLK

Full description

Spring Walks
This site encompasses the land between the rivers Thet and Little Ouse, from Nuns Bridges (NHER 46326 and NHER 46327) in the southeast to the paper mill bridge (Bridges Walk) in the northwest, which was developed into ornamental spa walks in the early 19th century. These are the only known survival of spa walks in the county.
Prior to the construction of the pump room known as Spring House (NHER 30142), this land was separated into four areas (S2). The northern area between Bridges Walk and the paper mill, was known as Small Bridge Common. The southern portion of the area consisted of an area called Spring Meadow flanked by two areas of common land. A path ran from between the corn mill in the north and Nun's Bridges in the south.
The spring was located in the northwest corner of Spring Meadow, but the pump house (NHER 30142) was constructed on the former common land to the northwest. The pump house was completed by 1820, and the Mayor, J. B. Faux, had a gravel walk constructed from the paper mill bridge (Bridges Walk) to Nuns Bridge 'to serve as a promenade for invalids resorting to the spa.' The gravelled promenade was lined with Elm trees, with seats placed at convenient distances, and the views of the paper mill (NHER 51706) from Small Bridge Common were praised for their aesthetics. The Lammas Meadows (NHER 51831) to the north would also have formed part of the setting of the Spring Walks. No trees initially lined this northern portion of the walk.
The spa was closed to the public in 1838 and Spring House became a private residence. It is likely at this time that walls were erected along the southern boundary of the property, partially severing it from the Spring Walks. By 1885 two roughly square enclosed formal gardens had been laid out to the west of the house. By this time the walks themselves appear to have decayed, the lines of the trees appearing broken. However, the northern portion of the path over Small Bridge Common had been partially lined with trees.
See (S1) for further details.
E. Rose (NLA) 14 July 1998.
Updated H. Hamilton (NLA), 14 October 2008.

1996 or 1997. Field Observation.
A site visit during the Town Gardens Survey noted several remaining Lime trees in Small Bridge Common which likely mark the location of the former path. Between the weir and Spring House (NHER 30142), a line of Ash was observed south of the path, but these are likely of later date than the Spring Walks, possibly marking a former hedge line. Mature planting remains within the grounds of Spring House (NHER 30142) while to the east of the house, Spring Meadow remains a discrete enclosure of grassland encircled by planting. To the south of Spring Meadow, the walk remains bordered with trees on the river edge and to the east of Spring Meadow both sides of the walk remains bordered with trees. This entire area remains remarkably consistent with the arrangment depicted on the 1885 Ordnance Survey map.
See (S1) for further details.
H. Hamilton (NLA), 14 October 2008.

Monument Types

  • GARDEN (Post Medieval to Modern - 1820 AD to 2050 AD)
  • PROMENADE (Post Medieval - 1820 AD to 1838 AD)
  • WALLED GARDEN (Post Medieval to Modern - 1885 AD to 2050 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

<S1>Unpublished document: Taigel, A. 1997. Norfolk Gardens Trust: Town Gardens Survey - Volume Two.
<S2>Map: Burrell, G. B.. 1807. Map of Thetford.

Related records

51831Related to: Lammas Meadow (Monument)

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