U.S. Water News Online
LONDON -- Archeologists restoring a 17th century castle
said they may have uncovered one of the first British bathrooms built
after the grimy Middle Ages.
During repairs to a four-meter-long castle wall at Bolsover,
northern England, archeologists found a room designed for bathing and
another used to heat bath water.
They say they believe it may be one of the first bathrooms built
after the Middle Ages, when the intricate washing habits introduced
by the Romans fell into disuse.
The rooms were found this week in an abandoned outbuilding at the
castle, where Sir William Cavendish, who lived from 1593 to 1676,
started a fashion for "bathing rooms" after his return to England at
the end of the Civil War.
Cavendish, later the Duke of Newcastle, was exiled to continental
Europe following Oliver Cromwell's victory in the Civil War in 1649,
but is thought to have brought back his Parisian washing habits to
Britain after the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in
Inside the three-by-four-meter bathing room, a recessed slot runs
around all four walls. This is thought to have held footings to house
a sunken bath.
The chamber also has space for lead piping, which corresponds with
features in a well house at the opposite end of the castle wall.
Archeologists say they believe a network of pipes would have linked
the two rooms.
"Another piece of evidence is the smaller second chamber which has
blackened stone on one wall," said John Burditt of English Heritage,
the preservation group restoring the castle.
"The historical record describes how Sir William's bath could be
filled with hot water. This room may well turn out to have been the
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