I FOUND the article by Stephen Nunn regarding Latchingdon (Standard, January 2) rather intriguing, due to the historical name given as Laece-Dune or ‘well-watered hill’.

Early records, circa 1900, indicate no natural water supplies other than rain-fed ponds and streams.

Sources listed are all from deep wells or boreholes in excess of 300ft deep, being bored in the 1800s, there being no gravel deposits allowing shallow wells to draw water from.

The one public well supply was situated close to the road, near the church at the junction of Burnham Road and Steeple Road. This was 350ft deep and was bored to supply the residents of Latchingdon and Snoreham, who had to collect the water from the well.

This was closed in 1913. Apart from details given of the deep well at Tyle Hall, bored in 1888, there were 13 other wells, situated at the Engineers Arms, the Red Lion, the police station, Lawling Hall, Snoreham Hall and elsewhere.

All were more than 300ft deep and most closed down prior to 1915 due to poor water quality, and mains water being supplied from the Purleigh Waterworks, commissioned in 1900.

This also supplied the parishes of Althorne, Cold Norton, Hazeleigh, North Fambridge, Purleigh, Stow Maries, Mayland and Woodham Walter.

Purleigh Waterworks was created utilising springs at Woodham Walter adjacent to the Bell Meadow, which was purchased to protect the springs from local pollution.

The springs had a daily yield of 60 to 100,000 gallons per day, the water being pumped by steam powered pumps to a covered reservoir 110ft above, situated at the junction of Old London Road and Herbage Road, adjacent to the entrance to the Warren Golf Course.

The water then flowed by gravity to the parishes it served through 26 miles of water main.

Cottages connected were charged two pence per week, equivalent to less than 1 penny in current terms.

Farms had metered supplies, and properties not connected could collect water from valves on the water mains by purchasing a key.

The water supply from Purleigh Waterworks was then replaced by treated river water supplied by Langford, Langham, and Layer de la Haye in the mid 1900s, the Woodham Walter springs feeding into the River Chelmer, and becoming part of the supply from Langford.

For details of other local supplies, go to essexwatersupply.com.

David Williams

Washington Road, Maldon