A Roman Holiday: in Bath

Some friends moved from New Zealand to Bath and so on a recent trip to the UK we just had to go see. The Romans had been here before us. The town was called Aquae Sulis back in 70AD and the waters named for the Celtic goddess Sulis.

Coat_of_Arms_-_City_of_Bath

It flows out of the ground at between 70 and 100 degrees Celsius (from natural geothermal activity).

The Romans played (and conducted business ) here for hundreds of years till their retreat. There was originally a caldarium, tepidarium, and frigidarium and several temples. Once abandoned it became buried under millennia of silt and debris which may have helped preserve all the artifacts.

UK Trip AprMay17 559

The signs give clues as to what you can and can’t do, such as,

there is to be no falling in the water.

All the tell tale signs the Romans leave all over Italy are here too. The underfloor pillars to enable the heating system, the mosaics, the construction methods. It is well worth a visit. https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/about

Below you can see my husband enjoying a taste of the waters.

Geochemical Characteristics of the Bath Thermal Waters
W.M. Edmunds and D.l. Miles
Chemical and isotopic composition of the King’s Spring Borehole 1986
Temp (°)                                 44.4, pH                                            6.70 , EH (mV)                                  variable
Diss O2                                     <0.1, Na                                          228, K                                               18.1
Ca                                           390, Mg                                             58, HCO3 –                                                187
SO4                                      1030, Cl                                           335, NO3                                          <0.05
Si                                             19.5, Sr                                               6.3, Ba                                              0.03
Li                                                0.23, Rb                                              0.011, F                                                 2.0
Br                                               2.0, I                                                  0.042, B                                                0.59
Se                                            <0.002, Total Fe                                     1.0, Total Mn                                    0.05
Cd                                            <0.001, Co                                            <0.001, etc etc etc…      https://www.romanbaths.co.uk/walkthroughs/spa-water-fountain

He tells me that for all its healthful qualities, it was absolutely awful.

Bath itself has lovely hilltop walking paths administered by the National Trust with views across the city and beyond. We didn’t get this far but a part of the park called Bushey Norwood is an area with an Iron Age hillfort and early Roman earthworks. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/bath-skyline

The Pulteney Bridge in Bath dates to 1774, reminiscent of a Florentine Ponte Vecchio. It has gorgeous views over the Pulteney Weir.

There was a Duchy of Cornwall village called Newton St Loe near our Bath accommodation. Called Niwetone back in 1086 in the Domesday book; it has a Roman connection too. Remnants of a Roman Villa with its mosaics were uncovered in 1837 not far from the village, then destroyed constructing the railway right over the top. What a staggeringly sad outcome for what should have been a national treasure. The village does have a gorgeous farm shop and cafe. Once we found it, I kept going back throughout our stay spending nearly all of our food money right here:  http://www.newtonfarmfoods.co.uk/index.php

According to my fellas, the pasties in Bath are pretty good too. These had no Roman connection at all.

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9 thoughts on “A Roman Holiday: in Bath

    1. I lived in the south of England for a year as a young woman and never ventured much further than the pub, and Miss Selfridges and an occasional picnic somewhere. I can’t believe I was in my mid-forties before I saw some Roman remains and could recognise them. I was aware of the Greeks which required travels and drinking on the beaches of Greece and Santorini but just never got the Romans…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve found that it’s tough to get a feel for history from books. Also, in school we didn’t look back much further than our Revolutionary War. Living in Italy and visiting historical sites and museums has helped give me a better perspective. But let’s face it, it’s complicated.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, just thought to say, its my oldest son that drew us here as he is living near London at the moment. He has flown the nest which has been a moving and exciting and kindof sad time for me and my old fella.

      Liked by 1 person

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