I’ve just got back from a short break in Bath. I love Bath as it’s so visibly historic. Almost every building you look at has a story. We stayed in a terraced house just north of the centre of the city and the landlady explained that it was built in 1776, the year of American independence. I could picture the men working on the terrace not knowing much about America and certainly not knowing about their independence, as the news would have taken some time to get back via sailing ships.
We had our evening meal in Sally Lunn’s house. It’s meant to be the oldest house in Bath and in the cellar are the layers of Bath over it’s history. You can see the remains of a Roman kitchen, probably serving the nearby Baths, on top of which is the refectory from the Benedictine monastery built there in the 12th Century. Further changes over the next 500 years saw the street level raised (making the ground floor into a new cellar) but the house remains essentially as it was in the 15th century. The food was delicious.
After that, we went on a ghost walk through the dark streets. It was gloriously eerie and we heard tales of grey ladies, elegantly dressed citizens haunting the pubs and the ‘Man in the Black Hat’ a retired Admiral who chose not to dress in the normal finery expected of gentlemen, preferring instead the attire of an off duty navel officer. As the upper classes looked down upon his choice to clothing, he stared back at them. Now he stares back as passers by in the darker alley ways.
The most atmospheric place for me was ‘The Dell – in the 18th century outside the city – where duels were fought. There was a particular dip in the ground which was reputed to be the place where most of the fighting took place and which certainly felt a little colder to me as we walked through in the misty darkness. The ghost associated with this area was a young gentleman who is often seen walking from the back of the houses towards the Dell, carrying his sword. He must have lost as he has never been seen walking away from the Dell. (In the photo on the right, are there faint lights in the lower left part of the picture?)
We went back to the B&B looking for ghosts and maybe the strange noises of doors closing in the middle of the night or the unexplained voices after everyone was asleep were just coincidence?