The Chalybeate Spring.


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If you asked most people where Liverpool’s only running spring was they would struggle to give you an answer, and yet in the East wall of St. James' it flows.

The Spring was first discovered in 1773 while work on the quarry was progressing. A Local surgeon, James Worthington wrote a paper to the medicinal virtues of this water, especially for:“loss of appetite, nervous disorders, Lowness of spirit, headache is proceeding from crudities of the stomach, Ricketts and weak eyes.”Indeed until recently a Doctor from the nearby Rodney Street used to visit the spring for a drink every day.

The Spring was surrounded by an iron railing with a ladle attached so people could easily fill bottles and jars from the Spa.

An interesting point about the spring was made by John Thompson in 1894. Apparently when they were widening Church Street, they had to remove some bodies from St. Peters church cemetery. Among them was the corpse of Captain David Gwin who died on the 21st July 1813 aged 76. His body was completely petrified and as hard as stone. It is believed that St. James's spring may have run in that direction, and the minerals in the water caused this remarkable result.

A small plaque above the spring bears the inscription by Cuthbert Bridgewater:

Christian reader view in me,

An emblem of true charity,

Who freely what I have bestow,

Though neither heard nor seen to flow,

And I have full returns from Heaven,

For every cup of water given.


I have come across a very interesting document titled 'Virtues of the Liverpool Spa'which you can click here to view. Amongst other things it suggests the best times to take the waters and the ideal diet to benefit fully from them:

"Moderate exercise, regularity, temperance, a light simple diet, not flatulent, using but little animal food, malt liquor, tea or coffee and relaxation of the mind also contribute much to assist its operation; as does, in obstructions, the warm bath.

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Mike Faulkner 2016