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“Almost Miraculous”: Lord North And The Healing Waters Of Tunbridge Wells

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Chapter Summary

Built from scratch to capitalize on the discovery of mineral springs in the early seventeenth century, the spa town of Tunbridge Wells on the border of Sussex and Kent had to be constructed discursively and imaginatively if it was to thrive. This chapter explores a key phase of that construction, the retrospective creation of the myth of origins, part romantic, part rationalist, on which the town's subsequent life story would rest. The mythopoetic process begins with Thomas Benge Burrs account of the discovery of the chalybeate springs printed in the first civic history, his 1766 History of Tunbridge Wells. The reputation of Tunbridge Wells rests on the incontestable evidence of Lord Norths subsequent health and long life. Nicholss sermon is devoted to an elaborate naturalistic account of the phenomenon of healing waters, both in biblical and modern times.

Keywords: healing waters; Lord North; Thomas Benge Burr; Tunbridge Wells



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