Stanwix – Hysspo Holme Well

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), a herb with a usually blue flower, could have been brought by the Romans to Stanwix when the climate was warmer. The herb’s medicinal properties would compliment the healing powers of the water from the well.


A stone arch above the well is dated 1817, showing that this had been a feature of a new walk mentioned in Bulmer’s Directory for 1901 which explains: “The walks attest the public spirit and charity….several of these walks have been made and improved during the winters of 1817 and 1818 by the benevolent contributions of the wealthy in order to relieve the labouring poor during the then dearth of employment, a precedent which has been again followed in later years.”

Hyssop Holme Well dated 1817.
The Bath House, seen in this 1908 image at Edenside Bowling Club.

Later a bath house was proposed and the Carlisle Journal in 1852 reported this “had been erected by a number of gentlemen and very handsomely presented to the Corporation.” They had got a good tenant who paid £10 or £11 per annum rent. When advertised to be let in 1855, it was stated that “the tenant will be required to keep the baths in good order and repair and to allow the public the use of them at charges not exceeding the present rates.” Cold and warm baths could be had at a charge of 8d for first class and 4d for second class.

When the James Street Baths opened the tenant at Hyssop Holme found “now he had no business and the house was simply a cottage,” so the Corporation reduced the rent to £8. In 1894 the bath house was let to the Carlisle Cricket Club at £5 per annum and it was used by the groundsmen. It was later demolished in 1936.

Much more about the history of Stanwix can be found in the book: STANWIX – by Denis Perriam.

Available from Bookends, Stanwix News, Tullie House, and

David Ramshaw.

David Ramshaw
Author: David Ramshaw


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© Stuart Fraser - Landscape Artist