Royal Tunbridge Wells
but of a very different kind, of the popularity of Tunbridge Wells as a fashionable resort is to be found in the fact that the camp-followers of the society that frequents such places, the women of the towns, were now to be found there in great numbers. Indeed, it was because of their presence that the Fish Ponds, a pretty rural garden laid out for the recreation of visitors, became so notorious that no respectable woman could show herself there. In due course, as always happens in these circumstances in the country, the gardens were ruined, and closed.
To provide for the ever-increasing influx of company it was necessary largely to increase the accommodation, and it was highly desirable that such accommodation should be in the immediate neighbourhood of the springs. In order to be able to do this, the Lord of the Manor, about 1676, entered into an agreement with his tenants, and hired of them the herbage of the manor for the term of fifty years at the yearly rent of ten shillings to each tenant. He then sublet his rights under this agreement, and shops and houses were erected, and not only on the Walks, but also on all available land in the vicinity. During the next twenty 54