Captain Edmund Colthurst (1527 – after 1611) was one of the first to propose the idea of a New River to supply fresh water into London. In 1600 he petitioned Queen Elizabeth I for Letters Patent, in consideration of his military service, “to construct a river of water from springs in Hertfordshire to London”. The Queen however died before granting his request. He had to wait four years before her successor, King James I granted a charter before he could begin digging. Although very wealthy in his own right, having inherited large tracts of land in Somerset, Colthurst encountered financial difficulties, after digging the first two-mile long stretch of the route. The project was then taken over by Sir Hugh Myddelton who oversaw the completion of the work between 1609 and its official opening on 29 September 1613. The New River which runs from Amwell in Hertfordshire into the City is nearby.
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