Horfield Common Fountain

Location: Bristol, England

W. D. Watts, Grand Master of the Oddfellows Society of Bristol, and Member of Bristol County Council, died in 1899 and was buried in Horfield Churchyard. The following year he was commemorated with the erection of a combination lamp, drinking fountain and animal trough.

Originally located at the bottom of a hill known locally as Pig Sty Hill, the fountain was a welcome respite for horses dragging heavily laden carts up the steep slope. The structure was moved to the junction of Wellington Hill West and Kellaway Avenue to accommodate widening of the road.

Manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, from a design in Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, it stands 20 feet high and is seated on a circular plinth. A square column with Egyptian patterned frieze, designed by Alexander ‘Greek” Thomson, offers semi circular basins on all four sides with a trough for animals in two sides of the base. Spigots within the geometric pattern released water into the basins, and drinking cups on chains were suspended from projecting tendrils. The griffin feet capitals support a four sided central stanchion heavily decorated with palmette and acanthus relief on three sides. The fourth side contains an inscription scroll: Erected by public subscription/to the memory of/W.D. Watts/late member of the Glo’ster/county council for this district/1900.

A fluted column with attic base arises from a highly decorated acroter. The structure capped with a central lamp roofed in with scales of opal glass cast the light downwards (design number 223.) A crown encircled by flowers is surmounted by a trio of spiked orbs.

The fountain was listed a grade II historic building in 1977. Although plans to restore street furniture were initiated in 2008, restoration of the drinking fountain has not been a priority.


  • Acanthus, one of the most common plant forms (deeply cut leaves) to make foliage ornament and decoration
  • Acroter, flat base
  • Attic base, a column base with two rings
  • Capital: The top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fluted, a long rounded groove decorating the shaft of a column
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Spigot, a device that controls the flow of water (tap)
  • Stanchion, an upright bar or post providing support
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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Posted on March 11, 2014, in Architecture, Cast Iron, England, English Listed Building, Memorial Drinking Fountain, Saracen Foundry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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