Bath Time

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…”

I begin today with the opening lines of Mark Antony’s speech from Julius Caesar because, like Shakespeare, I have been inspired by the Romans. 

I recently visited the ancient Roman city of Bath in Somerset, England. The city became a Roman spa known by the Latin name Aquae Sulis in 60 AD when the Romans discovered hot springs and built baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon.

IMG_E3060
Statues on the ledge of the baths depict famous Roman generals including Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius, and Scipio Africanus

Excavation and historical preservation efforts have ensured that the Roman baths are remarkably well preserved, giving one amazing insight into how the Romans lived.

IMG_3072
Hot spring water that the Romans channeled into the baths. The hot water in the spring naturally rises at a rate of 1,170,000 litres each day at 115 degrees F (46 degrees C) .
IMG_3089
Excavated floor in the baths — the Romans used piled stones like these to create underground floor heating
IMG_E3078
Original level of the baths — note how much lower this is than modern-day street level, demonstrated by the buildings in the background

Archaeological evidence shows that the site of the Roman bath’s main spring was dedicated as a shrine to the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva.

IMG_3065.jpg

When the Romans arrived in Britain in 43 AD and discovered the natural hot spring– something they had never seen before–they were astonished and believed the spring must have originated from the gods. Hence, they attributed divine properties to both the water and the goddess of the temple.

IMG_3069
Head of Minvera

IMG_3071

The Romans wrote messages scratched onto metal to Minerva and tossed them into the baths. Known as “cursed tablets,” the messages were used by people to accuse others of wronging them; they sought justice by naming the suspect on a tablet to be read by the goddess.

Roman doctors prescribed “bathing in the hot waters” as a form of treatment for maladies like arthritis.

IMG_E3091.jpg
Separate from the main bath, this semi-circular bath was used by people visiting the baths for medicinal purposes. The special bench allowed the young, old, and sick to rest in the baths for hours at a time

The Romans also drank from the waters, believing them to have health benefits, such as curing illness and rejuvenating youth.

IMG_E3098
Drinking fountain

 

The Romans were not entirely erroneous. Spa water analyses have shown that the spring water contains a remarkable amount of minerals that sport health benefits.

IMG_3096.jpg
Bath spa water contains 7x the amount of minerals than most water brands that market themselves as “mineral water”

Will and I had the chance to taste the water for ourselves!

IMG_E3095
Verdict? Oddly warm, very minerally, but overall, not too bad 😉

On our way out, we could not refrain from stopping for scones and crumpets at the magnificent 18th century Pump Room.

IMG_E3100
Regarded as the social heart of Bath for over two centuries, the Pump Room is a neo-classical salon with a drinking fountain for the spa water

As I sat listening to the live pianist, drinking my spa water and nibbling on a crumpet, I imagined myself in a Jane Austen novel waiting for a gentleman to ask for my dance card.

IMG_E3103

IMG_E3102
In my happy place

 

Speaking of Jane Austen, she is another one of Bath’s claims to fame. Jane Austen set two of her six published novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, in Bath and made the city her home from 1801 to 1806.

IMG_E3127
Pulteney Bridge, a famous site in Austen’s time and also featured in Les Miserables

 

In Northanger Abbey, Austen writes: ‘They arrived in Bath. Catherine was all eager delight; her eyes were here, there, everywhere, as they approached its fine and striking environs, and afterwards drove through those streets which conducted them to the hotel. She was come to be happy, and she felt happy already.”

28689343704_c2e3796aff_b.jpg
The Royal Crescent, built in 1775

Jane often walked along the Royal Crescent, a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses and one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in England. Promenading along the Royal Crescent was a very fashionable thing to do in order to be seen by other members of high society.

IMG_E3115
I saw Will promenading, although he did not see me surreptitiously taking this photo… 🙂

We satiated our grumbling stomaches with a visit to Sally Lunn’s Bakery.

IMG_E3119

Sally Lunn’s Bakery is the oldest house in Bath (c. 1482) and serves the most famous local delicacy, the original ‘Sally Lunn’ Bun. According to legend, Sally Lunn, a French refugee, arrived in 1680 and established her bakery. Today Sally Lunn’s still serves a plethora of buns and allows guests to peek into Sally Lunn’s original kitchen.

IMG_E3121
Sally Lunn’s buns in the oven

 

traditional-sally-lunn.jpg
A traditional ‘Sally Lunn’ bun

Will found that he did not fit particularly well into the house built over 500 years ago…

IMG_3122
People were smaller back then

I, on the other hand, fit perfectly.

IMG_E3124
Not that I gloated or anything…

We rounded off our trip to Bath by climbing 212 stairs to the top of Bath Abbey.

IMG_E3106IMG_E3052

Founded in the 7th century, Bath Abbey is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in England. The Perpendicular Gothic period is the third historical division of English Gothic architecture, and is so-called due to its emphasis on vertical lines.

IMG_E3108

The first King of all England, King Edgar, was crowned in Bath Abbey in 973. The service performed at Bath Abbey set the precedent for the coronation of all future Kings and Queens of England, including Queen Elizabeth II.

The most intriguing part of our abbey tour was learning about how the bells are rung and getting to stand in the rafters of the cathedral next to the bells (with our hands over our ears) as the bells rang.

IMG_3132.jpg

IMG_E3131
The largest bell, the Tenor, weights over 1.5 tons and can be heard ringing throughout the entire city

And finally, we climbed on the rooftops of Bath Abbey…

IMG_E3154

This view was our reward:

IMG_E3137IMG_E3136

Now that I am done telling you the tale of my adventure, I think it’s time for a bath…

~Farewell, Janelle

 

SaveSaveSaveSave

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Bath Time

  1. cet54

    Thanks for sharing Janelle! Sounds like a really fun adventure!

    On Sun, Nov 5, 2017 at 2:46 PM Which We Call A Rose wrote:

    > whichwecallaroseblog posted: “”Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your > ears…” I begin today with the opening lines of Mark Antony’s speech > from Julius Caesar because, like Shakespeare, I have been inspired by the > Romans. I recently visited the ancient Roman city of Bath in Some” > Respond to this post by replying above this line > New post on *Which We Call A Rose* > Bath > Time by > whichwecallaroseblog > > > “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears…” > > I begin today with the opening lines of Mark Antony’s speech from *Julius > Caesar* because, like Shakespeare, I have been inspired by the Romans. > > I recently visited the ancient Roman city of Bath in Somerset, England. > The city became a Roman spa known by the Latin name *Aquae Sulis* in 60 > AD when the Romans discovered hot springs and built baths and a temple in > the valley of the River Avon. > [image: IMG_E3060] > > Statues on the ledge of the baths depict famous Roman generals including > Julius Caesar, Marcus Antonius, and Scipio Africanus > > Excavation and historical preservation efforts have ensured that the Roman > baths are remarkably well preserved, giving one amazing insight into how > the Romans lived. > [image: IMG_3072] > > Hot spring water that the Romans channeled into the baths. The hot water > in the spring naturally rises at a rate of 1,170,000 litres each day at 115 > degrees F (46 degrees C) . > [image: IMG_3089] > > Excavated floor in the baths — the Romans used piled stones like these to > create underground floor heating > [image: IMG_E3078] > > Original level of the baths — note how much lower this is than modern-day > street level, demonstrated by the buildings in the background > > Archaeological evidence shows that the site of the Roman bath’s main > spring was dedicated as a shrine to the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans > identified with Minerva. > > [image: IMG_3065.jpg] > > When the Romans arrived in Britain in 43 AD and discovered the natural hot > spring– something they had never seen before–they were astonished and > believed the spring must have originated from the gods. Hence, they > attributed divine properties to both the water and the goddess of the > temple. > [image: IMG_3069] > > Head of Minvera > > [image: IMG_3071] > > The Romans wrote messages scratched onto metal to Minerva and tossed them > into the baths. Known as “cursed tablets,” the messages were used by people > to accuse others of wronging them; they sought justice by naming the > suspect on a tablet to be read by the goddess. > > Roman doctors prescribed “bathing in the hot waters” as a form of > treatment for maladies like arthritis. > [image: IMG_E3091.jpg] > > Separate from the main bath, this semi-circular bath was used by people > visiting the baths for medicinal purposes. The special bench allowed the > young, old, and sick to rest in the baths for hours at a time > > The Romans also drank from the waters, believing them to have health > benefits, such as curing illness and rejuvenating youth. > [image: IMG_E3098] > > Drinking fountain > > > > The Romans were not entirely erroneous. Spa water analyses have shown that > the spring water contains a remarkable amount of minerals that sport health > benefits. > [image: IMG_3096.jpg] > > Bath spa water contains 7x the amount of minerals than most water brands > that market themselves as “mineral water” > > Will and I had the chance to taste the water for ourselves! > [image: IMG_E3095] > > Verdict? Oddly warm, very minerally, but overall, not too bad [image: 😉] > > On our way out, we could not refrain from stopping for scones and crumpets > at the magnificent 18th century Pump Room. > [image: IMG_E3100] > > Regarded as the social heart of Bath for over two centuries, the Pump Room > is a neo-classical salon with a drinking fountain for the spa water > > As I sat listening to the live pianist, drinking my spa water and nibbling > on a crumpet, I imagined myself in a Jane Austen novel waiting for a > gentleman to ask for my dance card. > > [image: IMG_E3103] > [image: IMG_E3102] > > In my happy place > > > > Speaking of Jane Austen, she is another one of Bath’s claims to fame. Jane > Austen set two of her six published novels, *Northanger Abbey* and > *Persuasion*, in Bath and made the city her home from 1801 to 1806. > [image: IMG_E3127] > > Pulteney Bridge, a famous site in Austen’s time and also featured in *Les > Miserables* > > > >

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s