The recognition of the curative powers of the spring, and interest from physicians, led to a visit from a Preston Chronicle reporter. At the time of the visit, Thomas Joseph Trafford Esq. owned the land the spring occupied, leasing Salt Pit House to a William Occleshaw, who tended his livestock on the field the spring occupied. During the visit, Occleshaw explained to the reporter ‘that pigeons yet resort to the fountains in summer; that flocks of linnets visit it, and carry away water in their bills for their young; and that cows, on being first put to pasture in the field, immediately made to the spring, and drink with great avidity’. He then assured Short that ‘the disease of murrain has never been to visit the cattle on that farm’.
Murrain, literally meant death in those times and was an umbrella term for a multitude of now known illnesses including; rinderpest, erysipelas, foot-and-mouth, anthrax, and streptococcus infections, some of which could transfer to humans. These illnesses would always inevitably lead to death.
The physicians’ interest led to many medical men meeting at the field. After one such meeting, three doctors and a man from Liverpool returned the following day, with the latter gentleman, entering into a contract with Trafford to lease the field.Each of the medical men were excited about the water, all agreeing ‘that the water was equal to the famous Harrogate water’. They also expressed pity ‘that such a spring had been so long unknown and neglected’.
The Preston Chronicle report stated the spring had ‘recently been cleaned out, and that crowds of people continue to frequent it. It is therefore useless to make a journey to Harrogate, when such a fountain springs up at Mawdesley, in our own immediate neighbourhood, whose waters are declared by all to possess a healing in their draught’. This report reiterated what Leigh had predicted the previous century.
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