Hythe Hill Fountain

Location: Colchester, England

Set into the wall between 87 and 88 Hythe Hill is a cast iron drinking fountain.


The font, casting number 17 (4ft 5 x 2ft 10) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. The design utilizes features of the canopy used in drinking fountain number 8, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch outlined with rope detail which also encircles a medallion hosting the image of a rigged sailing ship representative of a Thames barge (the most common vessel to utilize the Colchester harbour). The west bank of Hythe Hill included boat building, and at one time it was the richest parish in the town of Colchester due to its port and river trade.

The recessed interior of the arch contains a shell lunette from which a tap once protruded. The original design contained a single drinking cup on a chain which was suspended above the fluted demi-lune basin.

An inscription within the arched faceplate has been obscured by layers of paint.


Used with permission, Philip Crummy. Source: http://colchesterhistoricbuildingsforum.org.uk/drupal/node/435


  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

One response to “Hythe Hill Fountain

  • Robert Mercer

    I recently looked again at this fountain and realised that the ship medallion in the centre is probably a brass patterned plate screwed on and painted over. The sort of plate once used on pub walls.

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