Dr. Taverner who in 1737 insisted that the water from a spring in Witham, Essex could cure nearly any ill and was so delicate that it had to be drunk at its source, drew aristocrats to the town in droves. The local people were encouraged to entertain the visitors in high style, and Georgian facades were put onto buildings in the town, thus changing its appearance from that time on.
Today, Witham has approximately 22,500 residents, many of whom commute to London. Three industrial estates are nearby, and there are office estates in town.
The murder mystery writer and Dante translator Dorothy L. Sayers, contemporary of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, died in Witham and is honoured with a statue in the town. Witham is also the home town of X-Factor runner up Olly Murs.