Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough: taking the waters in Bath, Scarborough & Windsor Great Park

We could safely say that Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, was into ‘wellness’. She relied on home remedies, including laudanum and boiled vipers. She was also a firm believer in ’taking the waters’ to cure her various ailments. After attacks of gout and ’the stone’, she would, like many people in the eighteenth century, rush off to a spa for the benefit of healing waters. In her later years, when she suffered from severe itching from scurvy, she went to Scarborough for the saline mineral waters, although she continuously moaned that conditions in the small seaside town were primitive. Despite her many ailments, Sarah lived to the grand old age of 84 – possibly because of her devotion to homemade cures and English spas.

Join Melanie King, author of The Secret History of the English Spa (2021), to share some of the Duchess of Marlborough’s adventures as she visits a few English spas. 

Tea and Coffee will be available.


Second-hand Book Stall

Large free car park adjacent to the hall.

Visitors and Non-Members are welcome – £5 pp

Image: © National Portrait Gallery


Mon 20 Jan


Doors open at 7.15pm
19:30 - 21:30


Abingdon Branch
Abingdon Branch
Long Furlong Community Centre, Boulter Drive, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 1XP


Abingdon Branch - Berkshire FHS


  • Melanie King
    Melanie King

    Melanie King is a writer of historical non-fiction who has published eight books. She is the founder of the History Forum – online talks by history professionals that run from September to May.

    Melanie graduated with a degree in International Relations from Sussex University. She travelled alone through India, Nepal, Thailand, Australia, the United States and Europe. She also worked in Bangkok as a staff writer for the Nation an English-language newspaper, in Brussels with Eurocrats, in London at Chatham House, at the Refugee Council with refugees and victims of torture, and on a horse farm in Australia.

    History should never be boring, and Melanie makes sure that there is always at least one factoid, strange, but true, that you take away.