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King's Bath

What is it?

"Of Bath's three hot springs, the largest rises in the King's Bath... where one can look back through two thousand years of history and architecture" [Forsyth 2003]. The mediaeval structure was built over the Roman Sacred Spring: "the King's Bath... was still essentially in its medieval form, with the main pool surrounded by arched recesses as it had been since the early twelfth century" [Cunliffe 1986].

The photograph below is taken from the Pump Room. It shows the floor of the Bath cut away in 1979 to reveal the shape of the Roman reservoir. The water level is now maintained near to the Roman level - the medieval water level, where bathers sat neck-deep in the hot mineral water, is indicated by the orange-brown stain on the walls.

The statue of the mythical King Bladud was added in the seventeenth century. The legend of Bladud was celebrated in 2008 with a public art event - see the website at It is also commemorated by the giant acorn finials high on the King's Circus.

Where is it in Bath?

The King's Bath is to the south of the Pump Room in Abbey Churchyard in the centre of Bath:
Location of plaque at King's Bath

King Bladud plaque at King's Bath

The text reads

"Bladud son of Ludhudibras
Eighth King of the Britans
From Brute, a great philosopher
& mathematician, bred at Athens
& recorded the first
discoverer and founder of
these baths, eight hundred
sixty three years before
Christ, that is two thousand
five hundred sixty two years
to the present year 1699"

Location map of plaque:
Pump Room location map - King's Bath plaque



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