City of Bath
Bath, architectural jewel, World Heritage Site, vibrant modern city, owes its very existence to an accident of geology. Water rises from the earths molten centre as hot springs.
Throughout recorded history these springs have made Bath famous from the Romans to the present day.
Dates in Bath History
A.D. 43 First overseas visitor, the Romans arrive.
A.D. 577 Saxons arrive
A.D. 781 Saxon Abbey built
A.D. 1107 Norman cathedral built
A.D. 1499 Current Abbey built
A.D. 1767 Royal Crescent built
A.D. 1771 Assembly built
A.D. 1810 Kennet and Avon canal opens
A.D. 1840 World’s first stamp posted from Bath
Bath’s famous Circus was the brainchild of 18th Century architect John Wood Snr, in 1754. Inspired by the Palladianism of Imperial Rome, the Circus was ahead of its time in era-defining Georgian and Regency architecture. However, three months after the first stone was ceremoniously laid, John Wood Snr passed away. Following in his father’s footsteps, John Wood Jnr completed the construction in 1768.
The Circus is steeped in symbolism and hidden meanings. Wood Snr believed Bath was the paramount hub of Druid activity in Britain and designed the Circus to match the nearby Stonehenge in diameter (318ft). If you look closely, the stonework is decorated in Masonic, druid and nautical symbols. The symbolism doesn’t stop there. Look from above and you will see the Circus, adjoining Gay Street and Queen Square form a masonic key shape. The Circus has such a rich history and is only a short walk from the main transport links, it’s certainly worth a visit.
The Royal Crescent
The Royal Crescent, consisting of 30 houses in an open design, faces a vast sloping lawn and gardens. The Crescent, built in a semi ellipse, was designed and built by John Wood Jr, in the late 18th century and now also includes the magnificent 5-star Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa. No. 1 houses a museum of Georgian life. You may even spot the Royal Crescent in on screen, too in Jane Austen’s Persuasion and The Duchess.
The beautiful Bath Abbey is one of the most historic sites in the city, with the site being used for Christian worship for over 1,200 years. In fact, since around 757 AD, the site has seen three different churches. Records show there was first an Anglo-Saxon monastery, which was subsequently raised by the Norman conquerors. Secondly was a Norman cathedral. However, by the 15th century the Bath Abbey as we know it today started to commence on the cathedral’s ruins.
Bath Abbey also has a royal connection, with the first King of all England, King Edgar being crowned on the grounds in 973 AD. One of the most striking features people first see is the unique ladders of Angels. Inspired by the Bishop of Bath, Oliver King’s dream one night of angels ascending and descending into heaven. The Abbey is still used as an active place of worship, with services being held throughout the week.
One of the most visited tourist spots in England and was of the oldest spots in the city, the Roman Baths is a wonder to behold. According to some reports, the first shrine on the site of the natural hot springs was made by an Iron age tribe names the Dobunni, dedicated to the healing goddess Sulis. After the Roman invasion of Britain, the Romans built and developed a spa and bathing complex.
When the Romans left, the site went into disrepair and wasn’t discovered again until 1878 by surveyor architect, Major Charles Davis. 1897 saw the site open to the general public once again and in 2011, the baths saw a £5.5 million redevelopment, which would preserve it for the next 100 years. The attraction ahs so much to see and activities to do, a definite must see.