The Kings Bath the medieval flame given to these baths. From the Roman period to the present day this has been the heart of Bath as within it rises the hot mineral spa water that has given the city its name. In the first century AD the Romans built a Stoned walled reservoir to Contain the Spring and supply water to the adjacent baths, No one swam in the Spring itself, it was a sacred site and worshippers threw into the water offerings to the patron deity Suljs Minerva. The Sacred Spring was covered by a rectangular vaulted building between the temple and baths shown in the reconstruction drawing by John Ronayne. By the sixth Century the temple and baths had fallen into disuse and the reservoir vault had collapsed into the spring. The waters Continued to rise within the ruined building and the Saxon monastery may have used them for bathing. In the I2th century the King’s Bath, named after Henry I, Was built within the remains of the Roman building. It was used as a curative bath and was fed from directly below by the hot Spring. The King’s Bath lay Within the Precincts of the medieval monastery.
Some of the medieval bathing niches are still visible on the far side of the bath. In 1704 - 6 the first Pump Room was built on the north side of the King’s Bath.Spa water for drinking was pumped up to it from the spring below. The present larger building was erected in 1790 – 5, partly covering the north side of the King’s Bath. Above is the watercolour of 1801 by John Nixon shows the King’s Bath as seen from one of the slips beneath the Pump Room which gave access to the bath from the changing areas. The statue of Prince Bladud, legendary founder of Bath is still to be seen today. The bath was used regularly for bathing until 1939. In 1979 its floor was removed for structural reasons and the water lowered to its present level; the orange stain indicates the former water level. Architecture from several different periods can be seen; the wall on the right below the balustrade is Roman and the bathing niches on the far side which once lined all four walls are medieval.
Medieval bathing in Bath - History of Bath
Medieval bathing in Bath
The drawing above by Thomas Johnson shows the King’s Bath in 1675. The rectangular form derives from the earlier Roman building within which the bath was built.
After the dissolution of the monastery in 1539 the King’s Bath eventually came into the hands of the City Corporation. In the 16th century the Queen’s Bath was built on the south side. Throughout the 17th century Bath became increasingly popular as a spa resort.
King Bladud of Bath - History of Bath