Stoney Middleton Bath House - Stoney Middleton

This is a copy of an article published in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper on 4th June 1990, reproduced by kind permission of its author, Julie Bunting.

STONEY MIDDLETON BATH-HOUSE

During their occupation of the Peak, those inveterate bathers, the Romans, discovered several of its thermal springs, including some at Stoney Middleton over which they built a bath-house.

Again in the Middle Ages the springs served a bath-house where, according to tradition, a Crusader was cured after returning to his native land with leprosy. As a thanksgiving he built a well chapel on the site of the present church, which retains the old chapel's dedication to St. Martin the patron saint of cripples.

By the eighteenth century the waters were famed for curative properties, especially in relieving rheumatism and eye disorders. There were then three warm springs feeding an open bath, enclosed by a high wall. In Victorian times the present double bath-house with its twin arched windows was constructed of local limestone, but had fallen into a sad state of repair until in 1986 the Parish Council initiated its restoration with financial aid from the Peak District National Park.

Completely separated by a wall, the two rectangular baths measure about 10ft by 14ft by 5ft deep with access by means of a set of stone steps. Each has a small outer changing room reached from outside, with a fireplace in one corner and a window in the outer wall. The water surfaces at a constant 63 degrees Fahrenheit - through the floor of the ladies' bath, which it leaves to bubble up into the gentlemens bath and is finally piped out into the meadows.

It is to Stoney Middleton's credit that this historic little bath-house has been saved from ruin, perhaps to await yet another lease of life before its story ends.

© Julie Bunting
From "The Peak Advertiser", 4th June 1990.

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