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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bath, England

In 2009 I took my first trip to England.  I had been researching my genealogy, and I wanted to see the ancestral villages from the English branch of my family, as well as meet for the first time cousins with whom I had made contact.

In addition to the genealogical side of the journey, I visited a number of other places in southern England, including the city of Bath.


Bath is located about 100 miles to the west of London in the shire of Somerset on the banks of the River Avon (not the Avon of Shakespeare's Stratford... there are several rivers named Avon in the United Kingdom). 

The city was founded in A.D. 60 by the Romans who were attracted to the hot springs located there.  They built a temple and public bath on the site of the spring... and that is how the city got its modern name.

The Roman remains of the bathhouse are below street level.  The buildings on top of the site (shown below) date from the 18th century.


The Roman Bath is today a museum.  In addition to the remains of the "Great Bath" there are exhibits of archaeological finds.

 
The Great Bath in the early evening
 
 
 
Me at the Roman Bath
 
 
Although the baths fell into disrepair after the fall of the Roman Empire, during the medieval era Bath continued as a town centered around a monastery.  The present Abbey Church was built in the 16th century in Gothic style, and remains one of the city's major landmarks.
 
 



 
The interior of the Abbey

 
 
By the 17th century the town had become a fashionable spa. The British elite traveled from London to Bath to "take the waters", go to the theater and to socialize.  To accommodate the visitors terraces of townhouses were built in the Georgian style of architecture.  (The Georgian style was named after Kings George I through IV, during whose reigns the style was popular.)
 
"The Circus" is a complex of buildings surrounding a small circular park.
 
 
"The Royal Crescent" was the epitome of Georgian elegance.
 
 
 
Pulteney Bridge, built in 1773, crosses the River Avon.  It is one of only four bridges in the world with shops along the entire span on both sides.
 
 
Nearby, between the river and the Abbey, is Parade Park with its lovely flowers.
 

 
There is a tea house in the park, and there is no better way to spend a sunny afternoon in Bath than to sit here and enjoy tea and scones with clotted cream!




12 comments:

  1. you sir, are a wonderful tour guide.

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    1. Thank you, Dana. Many times I have taken friends and family to Mexico and Spain and played "tour guide". They often say that I should become a professional tour guide, but then it would be work instead of fun.

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  2. simple and succinct, a pleasure to read and view.

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    1. Thank you! Your comments are very much appreciated!

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  3. Very interesting post, I've always wanted to know more about Bath.
    Elaine McCullough May in Canada (also a retired teacher. I do enjoy your blog.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I'm glad that you enjoy my blog,

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  4. Until I moved about 8 miles from Ringwood to Bournemouth last year, I lived just a few metres from one of the many River Avons in the UK. There are eight of them, I think? The reason for so many River Avons? I guess Bath itself is the perfect example. You saw the old Roman baths....they are the guys responsible. When they settled here, they'd ask the locals what the name of the river was. The answer they'd get was simply 'river', in the old Celt language of the time. Which was...you guessed it...avon. Or something very similar to it. So there are, in effect, eight River Rivers in the UK. Maybe you knew this already. But I'd never pass up the opportunity to show off a bit of my local knowledge! :)

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    1. Yes, when I did a bit of research to refresh my memory before writing this post, I read that "Avon" comes from the ancient Celtic word for river. Later on this same trip, I visited the city of Salisbury. If I recall correctly Salisbury's river is also the Avon... but I assume a different Avon from those of Bath and Stratford.
      Thanks for stopping by, Gary, and taking the time to comment. If I write some more post on that trip to England, I look forward to you adding some of your knowledge.

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    2. Ah, Salisbury. Yes, it is a different Avon, and it is the Avon that I spoke of! Had you boarded a dingy and floated off, you'd have landed in Ringwood about 10 miles downstream! Our paths almost crossed! Well, they would have, if I hadn't been in Mexico at the time!

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    3. And now I am in Mexico and you are in England! One of these days our paths will cross,

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  5. Bath looks lovely and Pulteney Bridge reminds me of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

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    1. I bet I know who wrote this! Thanks for your comment, and glad that you figured out how to post it!

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