From the Notebooks of Susan Holloway Scott

Bagnigge Wells, Explained

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gwynne_place_riceyman_steps_1924 Last fall, I wrote a blog called "Whither Bagnigge?" I'd recently written a scene (included in the blog) for The King's Favorite, which was set in a rural town called Bagnigge Wells, located on a branch of the Thames. As is sadly often the case, the rural resort of 1670 where Charles II went swimming with Nell Gwyn was soon after absorbed by London's sprawling growth, with even the river covered over and forgotten. I'd found plenty of references to the place in the past, but it was so long gone that it no longer appeared on any modern (or even 19th century) maps. I asked readers two questions: if they knew exactly where Bagnigge Wells might have been, and also, exactly how it would have been pronounced.

And now, some months later, I've heard from an English gentleman named Robert Mitchell who answered both questions, plus added a family photograph as well. His reply: "If you search for "gwynne place" on wikimedia commons you will find a photograph (shown here) that I have posted that might interest you. Bagnigge is pronounced "Bagg-nidge". The girl on the steps is probably my mum, though we'll never know for sure." Mr. Mitchell's great-grandfather was the landlord of the Bagnigge Wells public house, from whose window the photograph was taken in the early 1920s.

Thank you so much for sharing, Mr. Mitchell! And ain't the great wide world of the internet grand? *G*

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