Development of Tunbridge Wells
minister. The clergyman's income, being de≠rived entirely from voluntary contributions, must have varied from year to year, but the yearly receipts for this purpose averaged about £200. Adjoining the church a charity-school, under the control of the parson, was also set up, and was supported by the liberality of the visitors, as were, indeed, most of the places] at " The Wells."
In the seventies of the seventeenth century Tunbridge Wells had thoroughly established its position as a favourite watering-place. Bath, of course, was easily the first, but it was too far from the metropolis for short visits, and besides, its season was the winter, whereas people came to Tunbridge Wells in the sum≠mer; and so their claims in no way clashed. If " The Wells " had a rival, indeed, it was not Bath, but Epsom, which had the advan≠tage of being still nearer to London. Epsom, indeed, secured its niche in the annals of literature as early as 1673, in which year Shadwell produced his comedy, Epsom Wells, at Dorset Gardens; but the Kentish watering-place received a similar honour six years later at the hands of Thomas Rawlins in Tunbridge Wells, or, A Day's Courtship. Further proof,