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After The Golden Age: Later Historians

Manning and Bray in their History and Antiquities of Surrey (published after Manning's death between 1804 and 1814) pay a lot of attention to Epsom Wells. They quote from what Fuller, Aubrey, Grew, Allen and Toland had said before and unquestioningly relate the story of Livingstone, as told in Lloyd's Evening Post of 1769, almost verbatim. For the first time Fuller's reference to Henry Wicker and 1618 and the anonymous tale of 1769 about Livingstone are joined together.

Henry Pownall published his History of Epsom (anonymously "by an inhabitant") in 1825; he adds what Dudley Lord North said in 1645 to the sources quoted by Manning and Bray. He also accepts the story of Livingstone, but is the first one to spell his name correctly; and adds some useful dates of events within his own lifetime. He says the building at the old well was pulled down in 1804 and a small house built by Mr. Hitchener, and adds that the well is preserved, as are the old walls which enclose the gardens; but they are now only occasionally visited by strangers who doubt the virtue of the water.

Pownall's book includes a number of engravings, one of a " View of the Old Wells" by Overton (probably Thomas Overton, a miniaturist and engraver who worked in London 1818— 1838), which seems to show Mr. Hitchener's house and, in the yard, a small building which probably housed the old well.

Pownall also tells us that the elm trees admired by Celia Fiennes and Toland were planted by Parkhurst (Lord of the Manor from about 1707) and were cut down by his successor in 1805 and the timber sold; to pacify the populace — who were apparently as unhappy about this as we would be to-day — he promised to build a market house, but it never materialised.

None of the more recent authors up to 1960 have much to add to the traditional story. Gordon Home (1901) has an introduction (supposed to be by Lord Rosebery, but it does not say so) which seems to be the first mention we have of the newspaper advertisement of 1 754. Home gives us a drawing of the well-head which proves that the one still there in early 1989 dates from his time. He also tells us of many of the elm trees surviving. Some may have survived until Dutch Elm disease killed them off.