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Water Supply

Tetbury has historically had a problem with a reliable source of water, often suffering with dry springs during the summer months.  This ultimately led to the non development of the town as the mills began to spring up down the nearby valleys as the industrial revolution took hold.  


Townspeople granted right of access with their water carts through the Grange estate to obtain a supply


Lack of a reliable water source caused the failure of any water mill in the town


Free liberty to fetch water in Magdalen Mead for ever granted by John le Breuse


John Limerick granted the well at Magdalen Mead to the townspeople


Public wells at Maudlin [Magdalen] Meadow Well, Field Well, Worwell and  Lime Well


The Manor Rolls show that there were rights to water from Maudlen Mead well, field well, wor well and Lyme well. If the path to the well was  on ‘private’ land the way was to be kept open.  For example, Field well was on land occupied by Christopher Harris and owned by Mr Francis Savage and a way to the water was to be kept open on penalty of a fine.


The Manor Rolls have the following entries relating to water supply [spellings as in the original]

 “item we continew the way to the worwells to fich water with cartes or otherways and to water cattle there upon payment of 20d p(er) aney p(er)son as shall denay the same”

 “item  we continew our anchent custom for fiching of water for our towne at Sharpes well”

 “item we continew our antient way for the fiching of water from limeweell and p(er) wasing of clothes there”

[Source: GA D566/M2]

The same bundle has another page in different writing, but no date, that refers to the new pool and that there is a fine for the washing of clothes or pigs or anything that would harm the water there.


Edward Pullen agreed to supply the inhabitants of the town with a clean, fresh water supply from sources which included Worwell.  He was to be allowed 18 months to lay pipes for conveying the water.


An ancient well under the Town Hall was sunk lower  and Rev.John Wight fixed a pump at his own expense.


Public wells were Home Well, Magdalen Meadow Well, Field Well, Worwell, Cutwell, Sharp’s Well, Lime Well


Before this year the Magdalen Meadow well was connected by pipes to the Field Well, Cherry Orchard and a tank constructed to hold the supply.


A plan was accepted to take the water from the tank in Cherry Orchard to the New Pool and The Fountain.


Ffeoffees handed over the care of the public wells and pumps to the Local Board


Waterworks on Lowfield Road established with water obtained from two boreholes


Mains water begins in the town


Charles Philpot engineer and manager of Water Works, Blind Lane


UDC Water Works Committee comprised Col.Morrison-Bell, Messers E.J.Dance, C.E.Gipps, M.J.Pride, M.H.Barnes, H.G.Harris [1924 Almanac and Directory]


Bristol Waterworks Company took over from Tetbury RDC

Two springs in the lower ground at Tetbury surrounded by former earthworks around the church and Bartons, are called Cut Well and The World [Source: Folklore Vol.23 No.3 p334-5]

Gloucestershire Archives document ref. DA17/754 Tetbury Urban District Council Waterworks – list of persons connected to the Councils mains 1905-25

Lists those connected to the mains and gives owner/occupiers of  the property and the connection such as bath, bakehouse, laundry.  Later entries give the name of the plumber – Philpot, Hussey, Holbrow, Witchell and Street appear as well as others.  In 1907 the WC begins appearing as a connection.  There are noticeable variations between the classes with groups of five cottages having just one connection  between  them whilst the wealthier householders had their own very much as we would expect these days.