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of Bath begins as early as A.D. 44, when it is known to have been a
Roman station. Its Latin name was _Aquae Sulis_, Sul being a local
divinity, whose name appears on several inscriptions in the Museum, and
may have some connection with the neighbouring hill of Solsbury. A
temple to this goddess existed on the site of the present Pump Room,
and the extensive ruins of the contiguous bathing establishment bear
eloquent testimony to the use which the Romans made of the waters.
Here, too, converged three of their chief highways, the Fosseway, from
Lincoln to Axminster, the _Via Julia_, which connected it with S.
Wales, and Akeman Street, the main thoroughfare to London. The
after-history of Bath is chequered. In 676 King Osric founded here a
nunnery (eventually transformed into a monastery), and in 973 it was
the scene of Edgar's coronation. After the Conquest it was a bone of
contention in the Norman quarrels, and was burnt to the ground by
Geoffrey of Coutances. After being harried by the sword, Bath passed
under the hammer. Its ecclesiastical importance begins when John de
Villula purchased it of the king, and transferred hither his episcopal
stool from Wells (see further, p. 19). In mediaeval days Bath was a
walled city, and fragments of its fortifications, crowned by a modern
battlement, may still be seen in "Borough Walls"; and two round-headed
arches of the old E. gate are visible in a passage behind the Empire
Hotel, leading to the river. The battle of Lansdown gives Bath a place
in the annals of the Great Rebellion. But the fame of Bath is social
rather than historical. It was not until the 18th cent. that the city
reached the zenith of its importance. The creator of modern Bath was
the social adventurer Nash. By sheer force of native impudence Nash
pushed himself into the position of an uncrowned king, and exercised
his social sovereignty with a very high hand. His rule was certainly
conducive to the better government of the city. From a mere haunt of
bandits and beggars, Bath became at a bound the most fashionable city
in the kingdom, and a school for manners to half England. Nash, though
very much the beau, was very little of the gentleman. To a hump-backed
lady who declared that she had "come straight from London," Nash
replied, "Then you must have picked up a d - d crook by. the way." But
polite society was not squeamish, and took him at his own valuation.
His assemblies became the rage, his social despotism was eagerly
acquiesced in, and the improvements he demanded were ungrudgingly
supplied. The social labours of Nash were admirably seconded by the
work of two architects called Wood (father and son). Terraces, squares
and crescents sprang up in generous profusion to accommodate the crowds
of visitors who were drawn into the vortex of fashion. The prosperity
of Bath did not decline with the fading fortunes of its favourite, for
it was not until the peace of Amiens opened up the continental watering
places that the fashionable world forsook Bath and went elsewhere. But
though its proud pre-eminence has passed for ever, Bath still retains
something of its former splendour. It can boast of several natives of
note, and a roll of still more distinguished residents. The birds of
passage, whose stay shed a transient glory on the gay city, are legion.
Amongst those who claim Bath as their birthplace are William Edward
Parry, the Arctic explorer, John Palmer, the postal reformer, and
William Horn, the author of the _Every Day Book_. The list of famous
residents includes Quin, the actor, R.B. Sheridan, Beckford, Landor,
Sir T. Lawrence, Gainsborough, Bishop Butler (who died at 14 Kingsmead
Square), Gen. Wolfe and Archbp. Magee. Nelson and Chatham, Queen
Charlotte, Jane Austen, Dickens, Herschell and Thirlwall, are to be
numbered amongst the visitors.

The general plan of Bath is easily grasped. The river throws itself
round the city like an elbow, and in the corner of land thus embraced
the streets are laid out something in the manner of an irregular chess
board. One main thoroughfare runs from the S. gate, and climbs by a
gradual ascent northwards; and as it goes, expands into the spacious
shopping quarters of Milsom Street. Another good string of streets runs
from the Abbey also northwards, and on its course extends a long arm
eastwards across the river to the suburb of Bathwick.

The chief sights, the Abbey, Pump Room, Roman Baths and Guildhall, lie
grouped together in convenient proximity. The imposing terraces,
squares and crescents of the once fashionable residential quarters are
to be found chiefly on the N. and W. sides of the city. A pretty view
of Pulteney Bridge with its singular parapet of shops may be obtained
from the terrace at the back of the Municipal Buildings.

The chief public buildings are the Pump Room, rebuilt in 1796, and
considerably extended in recent times; the Guildhall, built in 1768-75,
containing some good portraits; the Upper Assembly Rooms (1771); the
Royal Institution (1824), on the site of the old Assembly Rooms, the
scene of Nash's triumphs; the Mineral Water Hospital (1737); and the
Holbourne Art Museum (containing a large number of pictures, many of
which are unfortunately not the "old masters" they profess to be, some
good porcelain, and a fine collection of "Apostle" spoons). Hetling
House in Hetling Court was once a mansion of the Hungerfords. The
public grounds are the Victoria Park, Sydney Gardens, Henrietta Park,
and the Institute Gardens (subscribers only).

[Illustration: ROMAN BATHS, BATH]

_Roman Baths_. The waters from which Bath gets its fame are believed to
owe their origin to the surface drainage of the E. Mendips, which
percolates through some vertical fissure, perhaps at Downhead, to the
heart of the hills, and are conducted by some natural culvert beneath
the intervening coal measures, washing out as they go the soluble
mineral salts, and whilst still retaining their heat emerge again at
the first opportunity at Bath. The Romans were the first to make use of
this natural lavatory, and with their unrivalled engineering skill
founded here a magnificent bathing establishment. Though the fact of
their occupation of the site was long known, the extent and magnitude
of their arrangements have only lately been laid bare. Thanks to the
skill and intelligence with which a thorough investigation of the site
was made by the city architect in 1881, every visitor to Bath has now
an opportunity of examining the finest extant specimen of a Roman
bathing station in the world. The entrance to these antiquities is
through a corridor to the left of the Pump Room (admission 6d.). This
passage opens upon a modern balcony overlooking the great central
basin. To investigate the ruins, a descent must be made by the
staircase to the basement. The Great Bath is a rectangular tank 111
feet by 68 feet, originally lined with lead 1/4 inch thick. It was
surrounded with dressing-rooms, from which steps led down to the water.
The great hall which contained it was covered in with a roof of hollow
bricks and concrete (plentiful specimens of which lie scattered about),
supported by carved columns. On the left is another square bath with a
semi-circular tank at each end, and a series of vapour chambers behind
it. The greater part of this bath was unfortunately destroyed in the
18th cent., to furnish material for the construction of a new bath. To
the right of the great bath is a fine stepped circular bath, and beyond
this again are sudatories. Still further on, extending beneath the
street, in a part not always shown to the public and somewhat difficult
of approach, is a third rectangular basin of considerable size. Even
this does not complete the full tale of the bathing accommodation once
provided. Buried beneath the basement of the Pump Room itself has been
discovered the masonry of a large oval bath, the outline of which is
still marked out in the flooring. The huge Roman reservoir into which
were poured the healing waters as they bubbled up fresh and fervid from
the bowels of the earth cannot now be seen, for it lies immediately
beneath the floor of the King's Bath, but the visitor can still inspect
the overflow conduit which conveyed the surplus waters to the Avon. The
character of the lead and brick work should be carefully examined if
justice is to be done to the skill of the Roman workmen. The specimens
of the tessellated pavement that once formed the flooring of the great
hall are worthy of passing notice. The King's Bath, the great bathing
place of the fashionable world in Nash's day, is open to the air, and
may be seen from one of the windows of the corridor. The various modern
baths must be inquired for on the spot. Medicinal bathing is obtained
at the New Royal Bath, in connection with the Grand Pump Room Hotel.
The spring which keeps the whole of this vast array of bathing
appliances going yields three hogsheads per minute, and issues from the
earth at a temperature of 117° Fahr. The chief constituents of the
waters are calcium sulphate, sodium sulphate, magnesium chloride,
calcium carbonate, and sodium chloride, and there are traces of other
minerals.

[Illustration: BATH ABBEY]

_The Abbey Church_. The Abbey, though somewhat hemmed in by meaner
buildings, stands in a commanding position in the centre of the city.
Without any claims to be regarded as an architectural gem, it has
sufficient merit to adorn its situation. Its career has been a series
of vicissitudes. Though Bath takes precedence of Wells in the official
title of the see, it has seldom been the predominant partner. John de
Villula, with the intention of making the city the bishop's seat, built
here a church so spacious that the nave alone would swallow up the
existing building. Of this Norm. church there still survive (1) bases
of clustered pillars under a grating in N. aisle of choir, (2) a single
pillar in same aisle, (3) round arch and pillar in vestry, S. of choir,
(4) bases of pillars at exterior of E. end. With his successors' change
of plans, Villula's church fell on evil days, and was allowed to decay.
In 1495 Bishop Oliver King beheld, like Jacob, the vision of a heavenly
stairway and climbing angels, and heard a voice saying, "Let an olive
establish the crown, and let a king restore the church." In consequence
he, in imitation of the patriarch, vowed a "God's house" upon the spot.
With the help of Prior Bird, he projected the present edifice, and the
west front still commemorates his dream. But whilst the building was in
course of construction the Reformation intervened and put a stop to the
work. The monastery was dissolved, and the Crown offered the church to
the townspeople for 500 marks. The citizens, however, declined the
bargain, and the building passed from the hammer of the auctioneer to
that of the house-breaker. Stripped of all that was saleable, the shell
passed into the possession of one Edmund Colthurst, who made a present
of it to the town. For forty years it remained practically a heap of
ruins. Episcopal attention was again drawn to its unseemliness, not
this time by ascending angels, but by the more prosaic instrumentality
of a descending shower. Bishop Montague, seeking shelter one day within
its roofless aisles from a passing thunderstorm, was moved by the
discomfort of the situation to undertake the completion of the fabric.
He finished the work in 1609, but on somewhat economical lines. He
vaulted the roof with plaster, and it has been left to the modern
restorer to make good his work in stone. Externally the church is a
cruciform building with a central tower, characterized by two tiers of
double windows and spired octagonal turrets at the corners. The tower
is a rectangle, the N. and S. sides being shorter than the E. and W.,
and the transepts are correspondingly narrow. Though somewhat stiff and
formal, the general design derives a certain impressiveness from the
lofty clerestory, the immense display of windows, and a profusion of
flying buttresses. The fantastic reproduction of Jacob's Ladder, with
its beetle-like angels, on the W. front, should be carefully observed,
and note should also be taken of the elaborately carved wooden door and
the figures above and on either side (Henry VII. and SS. Peter and
Paul). The two ladders are flanked by representations of the Apostles,
whilst below the gable is the figure of our Lord, with adoring angels
beneath. The interior has something of the appearance of an
ecclesiastical Crystal Palace - one vast aggregate of pillars and glass.
The details are poor (note the absence of cusps in alternate windows of
nave), and the fan tracery (original in choir only) is exuberant. In
some of the clerestory windows are fragments of old glass, and the very
unusual feature of pierced spandrels to the E. window should be noted.
The one really beautiful thing in the interior is _Prior Bird's
Chantry_ at the S.E. of the choir. The delicate groining of the roof,
the foliage, and the panelling will be generally admired. Note the
constant reiteration of the Prior's relics, with mitre, though priors
did not wear mitres. There is an effigy of Bishop Montague under a
staring canopy between the columns of the N. aisle. In the sanctuary is
the tomb of Bartholomew Barnes, and a brass to Sir George Ivey. The oak
screen across the S.E. aisle is in memory of a former rector (Rev. C.
Kemble) who did much to restore the Abbey. As a reminder of Bath's once
fashionable days, the walls of the aisles are covered with memorials of
local celebrities; amongst them there is a tablet to Nash (S. wall near
S. transept). The tomb of Lady Waller in S. transept, and Garrick's
epitaph on Quin (N. aisle of choir) should perhaps also be noticed. As
Dr Harington's sprightly epigram suggests, this portentous display of
mortality is not an inspiring study for visitors who come to Bath to
take "the cure,"

"These walls, adorned with monument and bust,
Show how Bath waters serve to lay the dust."

Among objects and places of interest in the outskirts of the city that
deserve a visit are Sham Castle, an artificial antique on Bathwick
Hill; Widcombe Old Church (built by Prior Bird); the chapel of St Mary
Magdalen in Holloway (built by Prior Cantlow in 1495); Beckford's Tower
on Lansdowne, and Combe Down (where a portion of the Wansdyke may be
examined).

Bath gives its name, with sometimes more and sometimes less
justification, to quite a number of articles, including Bath stone,
Bath buns, Bath olivers, Bath chaps, Bath chairs, and Bath bricks (for
the last, see pp. 26, 64).

_Bathampton_, a prettily situated village, 2 m. N.E. of Bath. Its
church is in the main Perp., but the chancel arch is E.E., and the E.
window consists of three lancets. There are two recumbent figures of
the 14th cent., a knight and a lady, at the W. end of the S. aisle; but
the most remarkable feature of the building is a still earlier effigy,
much defaced, within a niche in the exterior wall of the E. end. It
seems to represent a bishop, since there are traces of a crosier,
though some have taken it for a prioress. Some small remains of a
priory are still to be found at the rectory near the church.

_Bathealton_, a parish 3 m. S.E. of Wiveliscombe. The church has been
rebuilt, and is of no antiquarian interest.

_Batheaston_, a large parish on the Avon, 2-1/2 m. N.E. of Bath
(nearest stat. Bathampton, 1/2 m. away). The church has been restored,
but it retains its well-proportioned Perp. tower. One of the bells
dates from pre-Reformation times, and has the inscription _Virginis
egregiae vocor campana Mariae_. To the N.E. of the village is _Solsbury
Hill_, with a British camp on the summit. It probably gets its name
from the British goddess Sul, who seems, from the inscriptions in Bath
Museum, to have been identified by the Romans with Minerva.

_Bathford_ is a village 3-1/2 m. E.N.E. of Bath (nearest stat.
Bathampton), standing on a hill sloping to the Avon, which was here in
Roman times crossed by a ford that gave its name (formerly Ford) to the
place. The church (ded. to St Swithin) is of E.E. origin, but has been
enlarged and modernised. The font is Norm.; some Norm. work remains in
the N. porch, and there is a Jacobean pulpit.

_Bawdrip_, a small village, 1 m. from Cossington, and 3-1/4 m. N.E. of
Bridgwater. It possesses an interesting little cruciform church, with a
central tower supported on E.E. or Early Dec. arches. There are three
piscinas, one in the sanctuary, the others in the transepts, that of
the N. transept being on the sill of the squint in the chancel pier. In
this N. transept is the effigy of a knight in plate armour under a
foliated canopy, said to be that of Joel de Bradney, d. 1350.

_Beckington_, a large village on the Bath road, 3 m. N.E. from Frome.
It was once famous for its cloth, and the number of old houses which it
possesses and its general appearance of spaciousness bear testimony to
its former importance. The church stands back from the main street, and
is well worth a visit. It is chiefly Perp., but has a Norm. W. tower
with Perp. windows, and a richly groined vault. A fine octagonal E.E.
font stands in the S. aisle. Note (1) squints, (2) piscinas in
sanctuary and S. aisle. The monuments are - (1) in N. wall of chancel,
the effigy of a knight in armour, supposed to be J. de Evleigh
(1360-70) and wife; (2) a little higher up, effigy of lady, Mary de
Evleigh (1380-1400); (3) brass on chancel floor to John St Maur and
wife (1485), though the lady, who, after John St Maur's death, married
Sir John Biconyll, lies elsewhere; (4) brass on S. pier of chancel arch
bearing a merchant's mark (said to belong to John Compton, d. 1510);
(5) in N. aisle, slab and bust to S. Daniell (1619), reputed to have
been poet-laureate (but see p. 29). Bishop Beckington of Wells
(1443-65) was born here. At the corner of the lane leading to the
church is _Beckington Castle_, a fine old gabled house with mullioned
windows. _Standerwick Court_, a Queen Anne mansion, is a mile away; and
in the neighbourhood is _Seymour Court_, a farmhouse, once the abode of
Protector Somerset.

_Beer Crocombe_, a small village 1-1/2 m. S.E. from Hatch Beauchamp
Station (G.W.R. branch to Chard). The church (Perp.) is uninteresting.
The prefix _Beer_ (thought to be a personal name) occurs in several
Dorset and Devon place-names.

_Berkley_, a small village, 2-1/2 m. N.E. from Frome. It possesses a
"classical" church - a very unusual thing for a country village - date
1751. It is an odd little building, with a balustraded W. tower and a
small central dome, said to have been copied from St Stephen's,
Walbrook. Within is a monumental slab tracing the descent of the
Newboroughs, from the time of the Conquest till 1680. _Berkley House_
dates from the time of William III.

_Berrow_, a parish 2 m. N. of Burnham, where there are good golf links.
The church is close to the shore, and contains little of interest.
Note, however, (1) stoup in S. porch, (2) curious piscina in chancel,
(3) small Jacobean pulpit, (4) gallery dated 1637. Outside of the S.
wall are two slabs with much defaced effigies, probably from an earlier
building.

_Bickenhall_, a parish 1 m. S.W. of Hatch Beauchamp station. The church
is modern, but contains on the chancel wall a monument, with a kneeling
effigy, to a lady of the Portman family (1632).

_Bicknoller_, a little village 2-1/2 m. S.E. of Williton, nestling
under the W. slopes of the Quantocks. Its name (and that of Bickenhall
likewise) is probably connected with _beech_ (cp. the numerous names
containing _ash-, oak-, elm-, withy-_). The church, which used to be a
chapel of Stogumber, has a picturesque parapet N. and S. In the
interior the chief features that call for remark are (1) the capitals
of the N. arcade, with their bands of "Devonshire" foliage, (2) the
fine screen (1726) with beautiful fan tracery, (3) some good seat-ends,
(4) monument to John Sweeting of Thornecombe (d. 1688), (5) squint in
chancel pier, (6) piscina. In the churchyard is the shaft of an ancient
cross.

A little above the village is _Trendle Ring_, the site of an
encampment; whilst on the road to Crowcombe is an old house called
_Halsway_, said to have been a hunting lodge of Cardinal Beaufort, the
son of John of Gaunt, and guardian of Henry VI.

_Biddisham_, a small parish 4 m. W. of Axbridge. The small church is
reached by a lane from the Bristol and Bridgwater road. It retains a
square Norm, font, a piscina, and a Jacobean pulpit. Outside is the
shaft of an old cross.

_Binegar_, a small village on the top of the E. Mendips, with a station
on the S. & D. The church, rebuilt 1859, has a plain Perp. tower with a
representation of the Trinity on one of its battlements.

_Bishop's Hull_ (_hull_ is merely _hill_), a village 1-1/2 m. W. from
Taunton. The church is a ludicrous example of Philistinism. A small but
interesting Perp. church has been enlarged by the simple expedient of
replacing the S. aisle by a spacious chamber furnished with galleries.
On the N. is a slender octagonal E.E. tower (cp. Somerton). In the
original part of the church note (1) on N. of sanctuary, elaborate
Jacobean tomb with effigy, in legal robes, of J. Farewell (1609); (2)
effigies of three grandchildren tucked away in a small recess in wall
opposite; (3) grotesque corbels on E. wall of N. chapel; (4) good
bench-ends (observe representation of the Resurrection in N. chapel,
and of a night watchman near font). By the side of the Taunton road is
a fine Elizabethan mansion of the Farewells, date 1586.

_Bishop's Lydeard_, a village 5 m. N.W. of Taunton, with a station on
the Minehead line. It gets its name from the land having been bestowed
by Edward the Elder upon Asser, Bishop of Sherborne, in 904. Its church
has an exceptionally fine tower, with double windows in the belfry. The
W. window is good and the tower arch very lofty. Note (1) the fine
screen, with the Apostles' Creed in Latin; (2) the series of quaintly
carved bench-ends, the designs (windmill, ship, stag, etc.) standing
out well against the coloured backgrounds; (3) the good, though plain,
roof; (4) oak pulpit; (5) brass in S. transept of Nicholas Grobham and
wife (d. 1585 and 1594). In the churchyard is a fine cross (14th
cent.), with the figure of St John the Baptist on the shaft, and
_bas-reliefs_ on each face of the octagonal base. There is also the
base and broken shaft of what was once the village cross.

_Bishop's Sutton_, a village 2-3/4 m. W. of Clutton, with a modern
church.

_Blackford_ (near Wedmore), a village 6 m. S.W. from Cheddar (G.W.R.).
The church is an eccentric octagonal structure built in 1823.

_Blackford_ (near Wincanton) is a small village, lying rather low, 3 m.
E. of Sparkford. The church, which formerly belonged to Glastonbury
Abbey, is small and plain, but possesses a Norm. S. doorway and a Norm.
font. There are also the remains of a stoup in the S. porch and of a
piscina in the S. wall.

_Blagdon_, a village on the N. slope of the Mendips, 12 m. S.W. from
Bristol. A light railway from Yatton has its terminus here. The beauty
of the neighbourhood, naturally considerable, has been enhanced by the
formation of a large artificial lake, 2-1/2 m. long, intended as a
reservoir for Bristol. A charming view across the valley is obtainable
from the hillside above the church. The church is remarkable only for
its elegant Perp. tower. The rest of the building is an ugly Victorian
substitute for the original fabric.

_Bleadon_, a village 1 m. E. of Bleadon and Uphill Station, lies at the
foot of Bleadon Hill. The church has a tall tower with triple windows
in the belfry; but it is inferior to others of the same class, since
too much space is left between the base of the windows and the string
course (cp. Long Sutton). The chancel (the oldest part) is Dec. and
possesses a low side-window (cp. Othery, East Stoke, Ile Abbots). The
position of this and of the recess in the S. wall points to the chancel
having once been longer, a conclusion confirmed by traces of
foundations said to exist in the churchyard E. of the present east end.
Note in the S. porch a _bas-relief_ of the Virgin and Child; and in the
interior of the church, (1) stone pulpit; (2) Norm. font; (3) two
effigies (attributed to the 14th cent.), one near the pulpit, the other
in the sanctuary (the slab upon which the latter is lying is supposed
by some to be an Easter sepulchre, though its position on the S. is
unusual); (4) piscina on the N. of chancel - perhaps displaced. In the
churchyard is a mutilated cross. On the hill above there are traces of


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