Geology Site Account
Springfield Spring, CHELMSFORD, Chelmsford District, TL725065, Historical site only
Historical site only. The history, geology and possible location of the springs that gave the name to this part of Chelmsford.
The parish of Springfield was originally named after a ‘field of springs’ but exactly where this was is not known. However, in the eighteenth century there are records of springs on the bank of the River Chelmer and one of these was claimed to have medicinal properties.
The ‘Springfield Spring’, as it was known, was first described by the Rev. Dr. W.M. Trinder of Romford in his book 'An Enquiry, by Experiments, into the Properties and Effects of the Medicinal Waters in the County of Essex' which was published in 1783. Trinder states that the spring ‘rises on the sedgy bank of the River Chelmer, about a mile eastward from Chelmsford......in a field belonging to Mr. Pugh’. The precise location of the spring is not known but it must have been near Barnes Farm, at the edge of the river’s floodplain, where several springs have been recorded as issuing from the ground at the junction of the Kesgrave Sands and Gravels and the underlying impervious London Clay. Trinder describes the water as containing lime and also iron and sulphur, the latter two originating from the London Clay.
The Springfield Spring was originally discovered by Henry Menish (1735-1809), an eminent Chelmsford medical doctor and amateur geologist who used the water to treat his patients. Trinder, who was a friend of Menish, states in his book that one of Menish’s sickly patients, a Mrs Hollingworth, was completely cured of her ‘extreme debility’ and was ‘consequently able to stir from her bed where she had been confined for many months previously’.
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Reference: Christy & Thresh 1910 (p. 50-51), George 2007.
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