Campden's Water Supply

Mary Fielding

Most people who know Campden will know something about Sir Baptist Hicks providing a water conduit from Westington Hill down to his grand mansion and to his Almshouses.   Residents and visitors will also have seen various old pumps around the town – most obviously the one in Leysbourne – and you can find out more from Carol Jackson’s video.

But what more do we know?

The Accounts of the ‘Feoffees of the Land for the School and Poor of Chipping Campden’ occasionally give more information than just a list of poor and sick people who received their ‘dole’.  Transcription of the Accounts is in progress – those for 1629-1665 have been completed – and there are a number of references to the setting up and maintenance of pumps in Campden.  The first comes in 1643:

Item gave White and Kirbie toward a publicke pumpe in the street allowed by ffeoffees   00   10s   00d

This is followed in 1652/53* by a payment to Mr Bartholmew of £9 7s 8d for “a bill of particulars that hee disbursed” including “£3 odd mony (sic) for a pumpe for the poore …”.  William Barthol(o)mew was one of the Feoffees and also the Vicar.  Throughout the 1650s there are a succession of payments relating to pumps:

1654/55 – “Paid for setting up a common Pump in ye street for the Poore and colouring him to prevent rending: £2  3s  4d”  That is definitely what the words look like and one can only surmise that it means that the pump was painted to prevent deterioration.  Can anyone confirm this or suggest an alternative meaning?

Just below this entry in the Accounts, in the same year, is another one relating to the pump:

Item payd to Robert Gibbs for a cisterne and stones to pitch about ye Pump, and for carriage of ye stonesThere is a will for a Robert Gibbs, Mason, made in 1680, and proved in 1690.

In the following year, 1655, Gibbs was at work again, paid 3s 6d for “a Trough & planckstones about the pump at the West end of the towne”.

The next reference is to the pump in ‘Lazborne’ which was in need of repair, costing 12s – quite a large sum, so it must have been in a sorry state.  It also specifically mentions that this is a pump “for the poore people.”  Perhaps this pump was on the same site as the pump which was erected by Rev. Leland Noel in 1832 and is still there.  A few years later, in 1661, the pump in ‘Lasbon’ once again needed repair, but this time it only cost the Feoffees 1s, the work being carried out by Edward Durnall.

In 1658 there are three references to repairs to pumps:

Paid to John Warner for the Carryage of a trough to a Common Pump in Mr Bravells time as appeareth by a note now shewne to the ffeoffees     1s

Richard Bravell was the Treasurer from 1649 to 1654/55, when William Bartholmew took overPaid more to Richard Welles for mending a Common Pumpe   7s

This was probably Richard Welles, a carpenter, whose will was proved in 1688, and finally

Paid Thomas Smyth towards the repaire of a Comon pumpe  2sThis possibly refers to Thomas Smyth, a cordwainer (shoemaker) who died in 1686, although his trade doesn’t seem appropriate, unless it was his leather-working skills that were required.  But as Thomas Smith or Smyth is a common name it could be someone completely different.


Comments about this page

  • Wow, did not know there were so many references to pumps and so early!!

    By Carol Jackson (03/07/2020)

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