Continuing where we left off,
we had now reached the roof of the spire, and it was really nice up there. Noticeably absent were the hordes of pigeons that you would expect to be in a place like this, but surprisingly the flying menace was absent and so was their detritus. The view is slightly obscured by the stone work but the city stretches around you in all directions.
In the view above you can see the small door in the left hand tower; that is where the first staircase terminates. The roof is sheet lead, but I do not know whether is this the original lead used in the building of the abbey.
Then it was down again, and we went back via the Bishops Balcony, where he could Lord it over the masses below (who were currently shopping their lungs out)
The building shrouded in netting on the left is the Roman Baths, where I was going to go after the Abbey. It was a wonderful building, and well worth the trip. What always amazes me about these buildings is the level of ornamentation that they achieved, and the sheer beauty of a place like it. But then I expect that the sheer awe of a church like this would often be be used to make the population aware of the power of the church.
From churches to baths, and the Roman Baths were just next door. Again I am not going to play history teacher, that is why there is an official website.
The place was crowded though, you would not think that so many people would be interested in a bath in the first place! But then Bath has always been associated with thermal springs.
It is a fascinating place, but as far as I was concerned there were just too many people standing aimlessly around listening to their audio tours to fully be able to enjoy what I was seeing. The problem was that they tended to stand in front of everything so that nobody could actually see what the object of interest was.
This is probably what the Temple and Spring and Bath complex looked like around the 4th century. It is amazing how many ruins have managed to survive the passage of time, and how much thought went into their design and construction. But then the Romans seemed to thrive on things like that. Today the building serves as a money spinner, and a fancy new version has been built close by, but it is hard to imagine the everyday Roman citizen in Bath popping along to the bath where I was standing now, so many centuries later. They left a rich heritage behind them, and people are still discovering it today.
My next destination was the Pulteney Bridge
and the weir on the Avon River. Both are really magnificent, and would be spectacular at night.
The bridge was built between 1769 and 1774, and was built with the idea that people wanted to visit shops on a bridge. That was unfortunately not quite true, but the bridge has survived and is a very pretty structure. Just downriver from it is the weir, which has an almost wormholish look about it. I cannot decide if it was built like this to look aesthetically good, or whether it is functionally more efficient. But then Hydrology was never my subject.
The river loops around the town, with the locks that I had seen earlier forming part of the Kennet and Avon Canal. The Avon is quite an important river and is worth reading about
if you are that way inclined.
From here I headed to the Royal Crescent which was the furtherest point I would go to on this trip. I was starting to tire by now so the thought of heading home was a very attractive one.
Bath War Memorial
By sheer accident I walked into the Bath War Memorial
, and found the Crescent a bit further on. It is one of those strange visually impressive structures that you cannot quite fit into a photograph. The image below is a 1500×577 version which should help to show the immense size of the building
(1500 x 527)
Leading off from the crescent is “The Circus” which is a series of 33 houses in 3 blocks built around a central island. It is a very pretty place, but I would not like to see what the rental is like. It was completed in 1767, around about the same time as Royal Crescent was.
Why is it that modern architects are seemingly incapable of building something like this? I know in South Africa they are obsessed with faux “Tuscan Villas”. My photographs cannot do justice to something like this though, it is best seen to be believed.
Then it was time to head for the station and for home. The weather had been stunning after my cemetery visit, and I am just sorry that physically I was just not in the mood for any more sightseeing. However, there isn’t much stopping me from making a return visit, but this time I will skip the Bath in Bath. That was my day, and a mighty day it was too. Bath was beautiful. I really enjoyed seeing it, and will definitely return, although the only water I will take will be in a bottle!
Some random images.
Inscribed “On this obelisk, erected in 1738, the original inscription read “In memory of honours conferr’d and in gratitude for benefits bestow’d in this city by His Royal Highness Frederick Prince of Wales and his royal Consort in the year MDCCXXXVIII this obelisk is erected by Richard Nash Esq.””
“Erected by the citizens of Bath in memory of Edward the Peacemaker”
DRW © 2014-2021. Images recreated 17/04/2016, added more images 21/01/2021