|| The archaeological evidence
shows that the site of the main spring was treated as
a shrine by the Celts, and dedicated to the goddess Sulis.
The Romans probably occupied Bath shortly after their
invasion of Britain in 43 AD. They knew it as Aquae Sulis
(literally "the waters of Sulis"), identifying the goddess
with Minerva. In Roman times the worship of Sulis continued
and messages to her scratched onto metal have been recovered
from the Sacred Spring by archaeologists. These are known
as curse tablets. The corpus from Bath is the most important
found in Britain.
the Roman period, increasingly grand temples and
bathing complexes were built in the area, including
the Great Bath. Rediscovered gradually from the
18th century onward, they have become one of the
city's main attractions. The city was given defensive
walls, probably in the 3rd century. From the later
4th century on, the western Roman Empire and its
urban life declined. However, while the great
suite of baths at Bath fell into disrepair, some
use of the hot springs continued.
has been suggested that Bath may have been the
site of the Battle of Mons Badonicus (circa 500
AD), where King Arthur is said to have defeated
the Saxons, but this is disputed. The Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle mentions Bath falling to the West Saxons
in 577 after the Battle of Deorham. The Anglo-Saxons
called the town Baðum, Baðan or Baðon,
meaning "at the baths," and this was
the source of the present name. In 675, Osric,
King of the Hwicce, set up a monastic house at
Bath, probably using the walled area as its precinct.
King Offa of Mercia gained control of this monastery
in 781 and rebuilt the church, which was dedicated
to St. Peter. Bath had become a royal possession.
The old Roman street pattern was by now lost,
and King Alfred laid out the town afresh, leaving
its south-eastern quadrant as the abbey precinct.
William Rufus granted the city to a royal physician,
John of Tours, who became Bishop of Wells and Abbot
of Bath in 1088, with permission to move the seat of
Somerset from Wells to Bath. Bishop John therefore became
the first Bishop of Bath. He planned and began a much
larger church as his cathedral, to which was attached
a priory, with the bishop's palace beside it. New baths
were built around the three springs.
bishops preferred Wells, which regained cathedral status
jointly with Bath. By the 15th century, Bath Cathedral
was badly dilapidated. Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and
Wells, decided in 1500 to rebuild it on a smaller scale.
The new cathedral was completed just a few years before
Bath Priory was dissolved in 1539.
VIII considered the cathedral redundant, and it was
allowed to become derelict, but it was restored as the
city's parish church in the Elizabethan period, when
the city revived as a spa. The baths were improved and
the city began to attract the aristocracy in the bathing
seasons. Bath was granted city status in 1590.
During the English Civil War the Battle
of Lansdowne was fought on July 5, 1643 on the outskirts
was much rebuilding in the Stuart period, but this was
eclipsed by the massive expansion of the city in Georgian
times. The old town within the walls was also largely
rebuilt. This was a response to the continuing demand
for elegant accommodation for the city's fashionable
visitors, for whom Bath had become a pleasure resort
as well as a spa.
builders John Wood and his self-titled son laid out
the new quarters in streets and squares, the identical
facades of which gave an impression of palatial scale
and classical decorum. The creamy gold of Bath stone
further unified the city, much of it obtained from the
limestone quarries under Combe Down, which were owned
by Ralph Allen (1694–1764). The latter, in order
to advertise the quality of his quarried limestone,
commissioned the elder John Wood to build him a country
house on his Prior Park estate. A shrewd politician,
he dominated civic affairs and became mayor several
The early 18th century saw Bath acquire
its first purpose-built theatre, pump room and assembly
rooms. Master of Ceremonies Beau Nash, who presided
over the city's social life from 1705 until his death
in 1761, drew up a code of behaviour for public entertainments.
However, the city declined as a fashionable resort in
the 19th century.
Bath elected two members to the Unreformed
House of Commons.
the evening of 25 April and the early morning of 27
April 1942 Bath was subjected to three air raids by
the Luftwaffe in reprisal for RAF raids on the German
cities of Lübeck and Rostock. The three raids formed
part of the Luftwaffe campaign popularly known as the
Baedeker Blitz and damaged or destroyed more than 19
000 buildings and killed more than 400 people. Considerable
damage was done to noteworthy historical buildings.
Houses in the Royal Crescent, Circus and Paragon were
burnt out as were the Assembly Rooms while the south
side of Queen Square was destroyed. All have since been