Did you know that on Portland you can stumble upon a 19th century stone bath built for the original owner of Pennsylvania Castle?

John Penn was the original castle owner and his bath can be found on the wooded hillside directly below the castle and above Church Ope Cove.

The bath is 9 feet long by 4 feet deep and is 4 feet high.

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A close friend of George III, Penn was intrigued by the King's tales of the health benefits of Weymouth and Portland and particularly of the sea water.

Dorset Echo:

Rufus Castle and Pennsylvania Castle, both clad in creepers, in 1890

He often accompanied the monarch to enjoy the bathing in Weymouth and the horse riding on Portland and eventually he acquired the land above Church Ope Cove where he built his Pennsylvania Castle in 1800.

Dorset Echo:

Pennsylvania Castle photographed in the 1940s

To save clambering down the cliff in order to reach the sea, Penn had an open-air stone bath built on the cliff top where it was concealed by trees, but there was the problem of getting the sea water into the bath.

This task fell to the luckless valet who had to clamber down the cliff, fill a bucket with sea water then clamber up again to pour it over his lord and master, and there is no record of how many bucketfuls were needed!

This came to an end when Court Leet announced that Penn would be fined 2/6d (12.5p), annually, for encroachment of the beach. Penn refused to pay and he never used the bath again.