posted 06-22-2005 04:08 AM
Peter's right. I noted the following articles.
From the Yorkshire Post newspaper, 18th May 2005
Aristocrat's bathing room is unearthed
Archaeologists are hoping to unearth fresh information about the lifestyle of 17th Century aristocrats after re-opening rooms at Bolsover Castle which have remained sealed for more than 100 years.
The castle is undergoing an improvement programme, and its owners, English Heritage are taking the opportunity to break through into some rooms which were sealed for safety reasons as the building crumbled into disrepair more than a century ago.
It is now believed one of the rooms was converted to a bathing room for owner Sir William Cavendish, with a boiler room alongside.
English Heritage spokesman John Burditt said: "We are trying to improve visitor access to parts of the castle and to further our knowledge of the site at the same time. Some doorways have been opened up which have not been open for more than 100 years. We are quite excited because we think one room is a bathing house. At some stage in history, bathing was invented and this was probably after the Civil War, in the 1660s. We are also looking at the back, into a smaller chamber which may have provided hot water."
The archaeological work is expected to continue all year and may lead to permanent access for visitors to new areas.
The castle was built as a weekend retreat by Sir William Cavendish after his father Sir Charles started work on the site in 1614. Although it has the appearance of a medieval castle, it was built much later.
From “The Guardian” newspaper, 19th May 2005
History washes up ancient bathroom
Five blocks of stone prised out of a castle wall are thought to have revealed what may be the first bathroom built in Britain after the long and grubby interlude of the Middle Ages.
Archaeologists are carrying out a preliminary search of two chambers unearthed this week in a long-abandoned outbuilding at Bolsover in Derbyshire, where Sir William Cavendish, a fastidious aristocrat, is known to have started a fashion for "bathing rooms" after the English civil war.
Inside the room, a narrow slit running round all four walls shows where flagstones once formed a floor at a level leaving ample room for a sunken bath. The main chamber also has a recess at one end the width of lead piping, which tallies with a similar feature on a well house in the castle garden immediately outside.
"It is looking very promising," said John Burditt of English Heritage, which is gradually restoring the castle - a grandiose mixture of mansion and fortress which dominates the pit village constituency of leftwing Labour MP Denis Skinner.
"Another piece of evidence is the smaller second chamber which has blackened stone on one wall," Mr Burditt said. "The historical record describes how Sir William's bath could be filled with hot water. This room may well turn out to have been the boiler house."
Sir William's experiments in hygiene were inspired in part by his exile on the continent, following Oliver Cromwell's victory. In Europe, washing was generally more sophisticated than in England.
But Sir William is also thought to have been keen to help his first wife, Lady Madge, overcome her problems in conceiving.
"Immersion in warm water was thought to be a way of treating infertility at the time," said Mr Burditt. "Cavendish had the resources and room to make this possible on a large scale."
The 17th-century bathing room craze was the first real revival in Britain of the fastidious habits of the Romans, whose elaborate public baths were left in ruins during the Dark Ages. Bolsover's hidden rooms, which were sealed over a century ago when they fell into disrepair and became structurally dangerous, are likely to go on show after a full archaeological survey this summer.
The find, if the bathing theory is confirmed, will add another laurel to Britain's considerable plumbing heritage, which famously includes the perfector of the modern flush lavatory, Thomas Crapper.
The first bathroom to be installed in the US was also the work of a man who knew Bolsover well, the 18th-century Leeds architect Benjamin LaTrobe whose other commissions included collaborative design on the White House.