Facts about Royal Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells, previously just Tunbridge Wells, is a town in western Kent, England, 30 miles south-east of central London, close to the border with East Sussex upon the northern edge of the High Weald, whose sandstone geology is exemplified by the rock formations at the Wellington Rocks and High Rocks. The town came into being as a spa in the Restoration and enjoyed its heyday as a fashionable resort in the mid-1700s under Beau Nash when the Pantiles, and its chalybeate spring, attracted significant numbers of visitors who wished to take the waters.
The origin of the town today came in the seventeenth century. In 1606 Dudley, Lord North, a courtier to James I who was staying at a hunting lodge in Eridge in the hope that the country air might improve his ailing constitution, discovered a chalybeate spring. He drank from the spring and, when his health improved, he became convinced that it had healing properties.
Until 1676 little permanent building took place—visitors were obliged either to camp on the downs or to find lodgings at Southborough, but at this time houses and shops were erected on the walks, and every “convenient situation near the springs” was built upon. Also in 1676 a subscription for a “chapel of ease” was opened, and in 1684 the Church of King Charles the Martyr was duly built and the town began to develop around it.