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The inscription read something like H Eyre, Purveyor for Mineral Waters to Her Majesty, Holt Mineral Waters.

At the time it led me to purchase a small volume by Henry Eyre titled A Brief Account of the Holt Waters, 1731, that was dedicated to my ancestor Edward Lisle (1692-1753).

A pump is still visible in the centre of the Wiltshire village of Holt with the inscription ‘Lady Lisle … Patronised this Spring and rendered it famous in the year 1720.’

I hope this will be interest you and that you may be able to shed some light on this kind of bottle.

The Squire de Lisle FSA

ATG replies: Henry Eyre’s book on the benefits of mineral water is quite well known – he has been called the ‘founder of the soft drinks industry’ as the first man to bottle and sell spring and sea water.

His business selling Holt waters to London and the southeast was operating from the mid 1720s and continued long after his death.

The waters claimed to cure ‘king’s evil, leprosy, running sores, cancers, piles, itching in the skin, giddiness of the head, sore eyes and colick’.

Other examples

The Bradford-on-Avon Museum also has a website page devoted to the Holt Spa and, in its collection, a green glass ‘bladder’ bottle c.1760 with the seal Holt Mineral Water Wilts.

Your fragment was probably from a similar but earlier bottle c.1730 – the reference to ‘Her Majesty’ being Queen Caroline who died in 1737.

More information is available in Volume II of Antique Sealed Bottles & the Families Who Owned Them by David Burton – whose collection sold at Bonhams in June was the focus of the article.

It references bottle fragments recovered from a pit close to the former spa site that have the seal of Edward Lisle of Moyles Court, Hampshire and another single bottle with the seal reading Earls’ Holt Minaril Water 1730 [sic]. Burton comments they are among the earliest bottles detailing their contents.