Lepers, Mange and Gunpowder….

by cobbies69

Sunday 17th March 2013

Fritham

If you travel through Lyndhurst out north towards Cadnam on the A337, stopping off first to have a small look at Minstead, another very pretty village in the New Forest, which has a lot of history. Here the famous author of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is buried under a large tree at the back of  the 13th century All Saints church. But we do not stop here too long,  we pass on through and cross the main A31, looking right and left, taking care because of traffic, and pass the misplaced Rufus Stone. This is suppose to represent the place where King Rufus was killed by an arrow,, see my earlier post. Carrying on past and then come to where the Armada Tree once stood, also known as Rufus Tree. The alleged tree that the deathly arrow rebounded off into King Rufus’ eye.  Soon enough you come upon the village of Fritham.

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Here is the place, today a beautiful place to visit, where you can pitch your tent or caravan. A nice campsite is now within with general facilities. Convenient to all local places of interest. There an incident that brought this site some unwanted publicity… a few years ago a mother and father was accused of killing their child, very high profile in the news. They were eventually cleared when it was discovered the child died of heart attack, but did cause a lot of interest locally..

Eyeworth Pond..

Just down the road you will come across a lake or pond, Eyeworth Pond, that was once used for the use of manufacture of gunpowder. It was responsible for the killing of all the fish and eels with all the discharges. The pond was actually altered/created to suit the factory and the use of the large amounts of water. Edward Shultz was the owner and it operated from Eyeworth Lodge and employed approx 100 people, and there were over 70 buildings, mostly homes of the employees, all within walking distance to the factory. But now there is only a few building left. From the 1860’s until the 1920’s Fritham was home to the Schultze gunpowder factory. The factory specialised in smokeless powder for sporting guns. Before the factory this was Holy Well. In the medieval  period these chalybeate iron bearing waters were thought to cure leprosy. And this was when the area was named Iron Well.

Eyeworth_Pond,_Fritham_-_geograph.org.uk_-_7584Eyeworth Pond.

Fritham,Eyeworth,Gunpowder Factory

The remains of the gunpowder factory.

Running north along the unmade Powder Mill Road, used to transport the     powder by passing the village of Fritham.  Other than the pond, the only other remains of the factory are a few brick-built gunpowder storage houses in the field at the southern end of the Eyeworth Lodge estate, and the factory foreman’s house at its entrance.

Just off the Powder Mill Road you will see the  Iron Wells.  Just off Powder Mill Road is a chalybeate spring called Irons Well that feeds into Eyeworth Pond, along with another small stream.

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The Iron Wells….

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The spring was once valued for its healing qualities, but unfortunately has been fenced off giving it a rather unnatural appearance. It was used also to cure dogs of mange. it was the ducking of these dogs into these chalybeate waters. It is the  fencing off part where one would drop their dog into the waters and let him  scramble out the other side.  Because these waters were feeding the lake also giving to it’s alleged healing quality.

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The Black Postbox

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Back up in Fritham, at the entrance to the main car park, there is an old black postbox dating from nineteenth century and the days of penny postage.   According to the plaque, it was erected by the Schultze Gunpowder Factory to save the postman, the long trip to the gunpowder factory each day.  One also suspects that, then as now, posties were not keen on risking being blown up.

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15 Responses to “Lepers, Mange and Gunpowder….”

  1. This post is a perfect example My Kind Sir of why I like what you are doing by writing these folk tales, Each one takes me vicariously into your New Forest of which I am completely enamored by. I want to live in the New Forest, under an Apple Tree would be fine.. Or along side the bank of a river. The photo images are only proof of how naturally beautiful your home village is and the ones surrounding you are,
    One of the things that continues to strike me is the gorgeous architecture with so much charm and so much personality

    I am interested in the healing properties of the water, though because of the sulphur I cannot imagine it has a lovely fragrance, I can imagine it has legitimate healing properties, But heaven forbid,. do not let Big Pharma know.

    Thank you for sharing another fascinating tale from the New Forest. Keep ’em coming please..

  2. I dont think it is known or even used today..my lady thank you for this equally interesting reply,, and as you say keep them coming..:)

  3. Very interesting, Gerry — and a catchy title. I bet you’ll get readers coming to check out the post just because of the title alone.

  4. Fantastic! Great to read about the dark past. I just read this post over breakfast – good way to start the day. 😆

  5. The title drew me here and I was not disappointed Gerry…loved all the bits about this place…so very interesting

  6. You make a most delightful tour guide, Gerry! 🙂

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