Friday, March 2, 2018

Seven Springs, Gloucestershire

Silent springs

There’s not a lot at Seven Springs, in the parish of Cobberley not far from Cheltenham: a largish mid-19th century house now a school, and the tiny parcel office in my previous post, and, well, seven springs. The springs are a contender for the ultimate source of the River Thames, although Thames Head, near, Kemble, is more usually cited as the source. Seven Springs is strictly the source of a small river, the Churn, which flows into the Thames at Cricklade.

As I was looking at the parcel office I decided to walk a few yards further along the road and visit the springs. They were bubbling away quietly, sending water from the subterranean rocks out through seven small holes. But it wasn’t really the right time of year for a photograph. The place was looking muddy and dark and, apart from a fetching clump of snowdrops, rather dingy. So I had a look at the stone tablet, which asserts the place’s claim in bold Latin – ‘Here, Father Thames, is your sevenfold spring’ – and resolved to return to Seven Springs when the weather is better and the ground less muddy.


bazza said...

I always thought that the source of the Thames was somewhere near Cirencester - one of my favourite English towns. I suppose Kemble is in that area?
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Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

In my walk from Kemble station to visit the Anglo-Saxon doorway at Somerford Keynes, I found one of the headwaters of the mighty Thames was just a dry ditch between hedges, with bright Cotswold stones scattered on it. (It was summer, of course) Surprising that it is (relatively) not very high above sea level.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Yes. Kemble is near Cirencester. The usual place given as the source in those parts is near the Thames Head Inn, on the A433, north, or northwest, of Kemble.

Joe Treasure said...

I was brought up to understand that Seven Springs was the source - a Cheltenhamite prejudice, no doubt.