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Celebaelin
1357997.  Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:25 pm Reply with quote

If you're looking for somewhere to put your spa related facts here it is!

I've got this bit which seems to stand up to scrutiny to me but perhaps needs a bit more digging.

Royal Leamington Spa is Royal by dint of a French monarch not an English one.

Not that it wasn't Queen Victoria who granted the 'Royal' prefix but the Queen didn't visit the town until 1858 - twenty years after the grant. She had visited as a princess in 1830 but one might suppose it unlikely that the town made that much of an impression that 8 years later she felt a need to bestow her favours on the place a year after becoming Queen.

A much more likely explanation is that it was because of Louis Napoleon (later Napoleon III of France) over-wintered in the town in 1838-9.

Quote:
Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was born on 20 April 1808. He was the third son of Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoléon I. His grandmother was Joséphine de Beauharnais, Napoléon 1’s first wife. Prince Louis arrived in Leamington on 3 November 1838 accompanied by his aide-de-camp Viscount Persigny and a retinue. They had travelled by the newly-opened London to Birmingham Railway and arrived at the Regent Hotel in three carriages. After a few days at the Regent a suitably furnished house for the hunting season was found at 6 Clarendon Square.

https://leamingtonhistory.co.uk/napoleon-iii/

Leamington was the second town in the UK to be granted the use of Royal - the first?

Sutton Coldfield bestowed by Henry VIII in 1528. Prior to 1974 both were within Warwickshire and are a little over 22 miles apart (or 37.6 miles if you use the M42 and the M40).

 
suze
1358046.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 11:25 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
Sutton Coldfield bestowed by Henry VIII in 1528.


Now that I didn't know. Is the town ever referred to as Royal Sutton Coldfield?

If you'd asked me to name every town in the UK which is entitled to the prefix "Royal", I'd have said Leamington Spa, Tunbridge Wells, and Wootton Bassett. So would the good husband, who has the advantage of having lived in the UK for thirty years longer than I have.

 
crissdee
1358051.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Google Maps gets close.......

 
CB27
1358055.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:49 pm Reply with quote

Every time I see a town with the word Royal in front, I think of Catcher in the Rye and think the place must be a "Royal pain in the ass".

 
tetsabb
1358061.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:01 pm Reply with quote

Spa is, of course, where they hold the Belgian Grand Prix. Perhaps PDR has some interesting stories.

 
Celebaelin
1358065.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:08 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Celebaelin wrote:
Sutton Coldfield bestowed by Henry VIII in 1528.

Now that I didn't know. Is the town ever referred to as Royal Sutton Coldfield?

Not locally (well - relatively locally) except slightly mockingly of those who might insist upon it - as is the case with Leamington. Leamington of course has some posh Georgian bits which lend the northern part of town a genteel aspect.

 
Alexander Howard
1358068.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:17 pm Reply with quote

Droitwich jumped on the 19th century spa bandwagon - but its water is completely undrinkable as it is a concentrated brine. Instead, visitors would bathe in the water. It was enough that the town changed its name to Droitwich Spa.

That was the second lengthening of its name: the town was originally called "Wich".

The brine extraction has caused such subsidence that in the high street some of the building look distinctly squiffy.

 
suze
1358074.  Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:27 pm Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
Droitwich jumped on the 19th century spa bandwagon - but its water is completely undrinkable as it is a concentrated brine.


The river which flows through Droitwich is the River Salwarpe, which takes its name from sal = salt and weorp = 3sg of a verb meaning to throw (cf German werfen). This is usually taken to mean that the river throws up salt, but the alternative notion that drinking the water causes the drinker to throw up should not be discounted.


Alexander Howard wrote:
That was the second lengthening of its name: the town was originally called "Wich".


The element -wich just means "trading place", although it does apply particularly to towns where salt is a feature of the local economy. Note for instance Northwich in Cheshire.

Droit is of course the French for "right", and the greater part of the town lies to the east and south of the River Salwarpe. Presumably that is what the "right" means, but it is perhaps disappointing that a newer development on the other side of the river was called Witton rather than Gauchewich.


The lengthening of town names to avoid confusion with other places of the same name is not rare. Not a million miles from Droitwich is Nuneaton, which was originally Eaton. It had a nunnery, and the religious ladies were added to the town's name to avoid confusion with the posh village near Slough where Boris Johnson went to school.

 

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