Bath, Somerset Genealogy

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Guide to Bath history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Bath royal Crescent.jpg

History[edit | edit source]

Coat of arms of Bath
Bath location in England
Bath city Flag

Bath is in the county of Somerset in the Avon Valley near the southern edge of the Cotswolds. The floodplain of the Avon, on which the city center is built, has an altitude of about 59 ft (18 m) above sea level.

The river, once an unnavigable series of braided streams broken up by swamps and ponds, has been managed by weirs into a single channel.

Water bubbling up from the ground, as geothermal springs, fell as rain on the Mendip Hills. It percolates through limestone aquifers to a depth of between c. 9,000 to 14,000 ft (2,743 to 4,267 m) where geothermal energy raises its temperature to between 64 and 96 °C. Under pressure, the heated water rises to the surface along fissures and faults in the limestone.

This natural phenomenon is responsible for the constant flow of water, since ancient times, that initiated the building of the initial spa at Bath. Hot water at a temperature of 46 °C (115 °F) rises here at the rate of 1,170,000 liters (257,364 imp gal) daily. [1]

The hills in the locality such as Bathampton Down saw human activity from the Mesolithic period. Several Bronze Age round barrows were opened by John Skinner in the 18th century. Bathampton Camp may have been an Iron Age hill fort or stock enclosure. A long barrow site believed to be from the Beaker people was flattened to make way for RAF Charmy Down.

Archaeological evidence shows that the site of the Roman baths' main spring may have been treated as a shrine by the Britons,[8][9] and was dedicated to the goddess Sulis, whom the Romans identified with Minerva.

The name Sulis continued to be used after the Roman invasion, appearing in the town's Roman name, Aquae Sulis (literally, "the waters of Sulis").

A temple was constructed in 60–70 AD and a bathing complex was built up over the next 300 years. Engineers drove oak piles into the mud to provide a stable foundation, and surrounded the spring with an irregular stone chamber lined with lead. In the 2nd century, the spring was enclosed within a wooden barrel-vaulted structure, that housed the caldarium (hot bath), tepidarium (warm bath), and frigidarium (cold bath).

Following the exit of the Roman overlords, Bath may have been the site of the Battle of Badon (c. 500 AD), in which King Arthur is said to have defeated the Anglo-Saxons. The city fell to the West Saxons in 577 after the Battle of Deorham.

By the 9th century the old Roman street pattern was lost and Bath was a royal possession. King Alfred laid out the town afresh, leaving its south-eastern quadrant as the abbey precinct. In the Burghal Hidage Bath is described as having walls of 1,375 yards (1,257 m) and was allocated 1000 men for defence.

In Medieval times, Bath fell into ruin,and was really not developed to its former glory until Georgian times, when the wealthy class required accommodations that were fit for taking the waters.

The population of the city was 40,020 at the 1801 census, making it one of the largest cities in Britain. Today, Bath has become a noted world site, and probably its major industry is tourism. [2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries (Civil)[edit | edit source]

Below are websites that may contain cemetery records for non-parish churches in Bath.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Parishes[edit | edit source]

Nonconformists[edit | edit source]

Bath Priory.jpg

Non-Church of England denominations in Bath include:

  • Baptist
  • Christians
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Countess of Huntingdon Methodist
  • Independent/Congregational
  • Irvingite/Catholic Apostolic Church
  • Jewish
  • Moravian/United Brethren
  • Plymouth Brethren
  • Presbyterian
  • Primitive Methodist
  • Roman Catholic
  • Society of Friends/Quaker
  • Swedenborgian/New Jerusalem/New Church.
  • Unitarian
  • Wesleyan Methodist
  • Wesleyan Methodist Association
  • Wesleyan Methodist Reform

Online Church Records

Non-Conformist Church Records can be found at:

  • The Genealogist - $, index to non-conformist church records (does not include Anglican Church)

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Civil registration is the recording of births, marriages and deaths in England and began in 1837. Civil registration records were recorded at the local registration office and the National registration offices. If you cannot find the civil registration in one index, search the other index as they are different indexes.

  • Bath BMD - Local registration office index
  • FreeBMD - National registration office index

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Map of BathGreat Britain, Atlas and Index of Parish Registers on

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers for Bath:

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Bath once had an important manufacturing sector, led by companies such Stothert and Pitt. Nowadays manufacturing is in decline in the city, but it boasts strong software, publishing and service-oriented industries, being home to companies such as Future Publishing and London & Country mortgage brokers.

The city's attraction to tourists has also led to a significant number of jobs in tourism-related industries.

Important economic sectors in Bath include education and health, both sectors supported by local and national funding. [3]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Bristol and Avon Genealogy Society
Research Room
Bristol Record Office
'B' Bond Warehouse, Smeaton Road
Bristol, BS1 6XN
Hours: listed here

Meetings for Bath held:
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution
16 Queen Square
Bath, BA1 2HN
Meetings are held at 7.30pm on the fourth Monday of most months. Parking at Charlotte Street car park. Some on-street free car parking is available in the vicinity after 7 pm but otherwise Charlotte Street car park is pay-and-display about a 5 minute walk away.

Archives[edit | edit source]

Bath Record Office
Guildhall, High Street
Bath, BA1 5AW
Telephone: +44 (0)1225 477421
Fax: +44 (0)1225 477439

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "Bath, Somerset," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, Somerset, accessed 23 March 2016.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Bath, Somerset," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, Somerset, accessed 23 March 2016.
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Bath, Somerset," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, Somerset, accessed 23 March 2016.