People, Society & Culture of Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century & later.

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Development of Tunbridge Wells
a town of such considerable antiquity that the origin of its name is still a matter of dispute among antiquarians. When, about 1570, William Lombarde wrote his Perambulation of Kent, he had to admit his ignorance whether Tunbridge was derived from Thunebrugge, cor­ruptly for Tonebrycze, that is, the Bridge over the Tone, or from Tunbrycze, in which case it signified " The Town of Bridges," " as indeed it hath many," the old topographer remarked; Tunbridge being on the Medway, which there branches out into several little streams. It has a well-authenticated history which dates back to the Conquest, when its castle was built by that Richard FitzGilbert who figures in " Domesday " as Richard de Clare, and also under the style of Richard de Tunbridge. The ruins give some idea of the strength of this fortress, which occupied an area of six acres. The Gate House, flanked with round towers, can still be seen, and the mound on which the keep once stood. The grandson of this Richard de Clare, bearing the same name, and generally believed to have been the first Earl of Hertford, founded in the reign of Henry III, " among other works of superstitious piety " (as an old chronicle puts it), a priory, near the castle,
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