As its name implies, Spa Changing Rooms was a changing room for the adjoining spa house.
Local records state there was a "spring cottage" on this site in the 18th century. Prior to 1807 it was discovered that the water was mineral rich, and a case was made to capitalise on the then popularity of bathing in, or drinking of Spa waters for health reasons, by building a Spa facility on site, to compete with Cheltenham Spa and Bath Spa. Quite what the extent of "Spring Cottage" was, or what it looked like at this time, is not recorded but a Spa House was constructed (the adjoining building with cut stone facade). Spa Changing Rooms was converted or built prior to 1807, to be part of the Spa complex; in particular to be changing rooms for the Spa House itself. A walk was laid out between the Spa and Stow on the Wold. The spring was said to produce up to 8 gallons of water per hour in the summer of 1808. There is reference to hot baths and cold baths and the cut stone steps in the kitchen of Spa Changing Rooms lead down to what once may have been the cold baths. It is possible the steps may predate the Spa.
Sadly the Spa enterprise was not a success. In 1814 the lease of the Spa buildings was up for sale. Under various subsequent ownership(s) the enterprise continued as a Spa until around 1926 when the buildings were converted to residential use. The spring, along with other water sources in Lower Swell, may have helped supply the drinking water needs of Stow on the Wold over many decades (mains water in Stow on the Wold arrived in the late 1930s). There is little else written about the site and the past few decades have certainly been residential use. One reminder of the past is the stone oval plaque inset into the wall over the front door of No 3 Spa Cottages, inscribed "Carbonated Chalybeate, discovered 1807".
The cottage is Listed Grade II* (just 5.5% of all listed buildings are so designated as being of “special interest”) in recognition of its many period features including beamed ceilings and the ornate front elevation windows with leaded lights, which are described as of the “Moghul” style, an Indian influence believed to have been inspired from the construction of nearby Seizencote house. It also has a cellar which contains one of the original springs to the spa house; the old steps down to which can be seen from the kitchen. The spring is still active and the water is pumped away.
With the historic backdrop you can enjoy a comfortable holiday in surroundings which include modern comforts and conveniences. The cottage has been assessed under the nationally recognised accreditation scheme for quality accommodation conducted by Visit England, and has been rated 4 Stars with a Gold award.
Key features of the cottage facilities are:-
- A comfortable and characterful lounge with wood burner, television, DVD player, music system, and seating for 6. There is a twin USB charging adaptor.
- Fully equipped kitchen with granite work tops. Main equipment comprises induction hob, single oven, fridge, freezer and washer/dryer. The kitchen is also well kitted out with small appliances. There are twin USB charging sockets.
- There is a water softener and drinking water purifier. The latter (an Ecowater system) uses reverse osmosis and charcoal filters to remove virtually all impurities in the mains water supply - no need to buy bottled water.
- Dining room with table and 6 chairs which offers access to the garden with uninterrupted views from the decking area across the Abbotswood estate.
- There is also a Weber BBQ and tools (BBQ fuel is not supplied) and a selection of garden games to enjoy.
- A fully modernised bathroom with roll top bath, toilet, wash basin, shaver point and spacious shower enclosure.
- Three bedrooms, each with television, twin USB charging sockets and hairdryer.
- The cottage is tailored to sleep five - a king sized bed, a king sized bed that can be split into two 2ft 6in single beds and a 3ft single bed.
- The cottage benefits from a modern electric heating system.
- There is dedicated car parking (for up to 3 cars) opposite the front of the cottage.
- A travel cot, high chair, baby bath and changing mat are available on request. Three retractable stair gates are built in and available to use when required.
- Fibre optic broadband to the router (300Mb per second, download and upload) , offering a consistant very fast and reliable WiFi facility, included free in your stay.
- All beds will be made up and towels supplied.
- Electricity and an initial supply of logs, kindling, and fire lighters, are included in the price, along with starter supplies of toilet rolls, dish washer tablets, tea, coffee and sugar.
Accessibility, health and safety
This is an old property and has typical character features, including relatively narrow and steep stairs, low beams in one room and two doors of lower height than modern doors. On the stairways, appropriately placed handrails are in situ. However, guests with impaired mobility may encounter some difficulty with access, including their ability to quickly exit the house in the event of an emergency. Given the historic nature of this property, regrettably wheelchair access to other than the ground floor is not possible and the front door step, and door width, may impede. Access to the 2nd floor bedroom is via a narrow and steep stairway and a low doorway.
An Accessibility Guide is available on request, or can be viewed and downloaded from the link below. This describes the surfaces and identifies the beam, stair, and other heights in the cottage and includes photographs.
The smoke and CO detectors operate on a sound only basis and, therefore, those who have serious impairment of hearing may not be able to hear the alarm systems and could be at risk.