Bath Abbey: A Former Benedictine Monastery

A Place Of Worship Just 55 Minutes (40 Miles) From The King John Inn

Looming above the busy streets of Bath, the magnificent Bath Abbey attracts hundreds of thousands of people through its doors each year.

If you’re looking for the perfect base from which to explore Bath Abbey, then look no further than The King John Inn. Located just 40 miles away from the historic centre of Bath, our pub and inn offers 8 sumptuous en-suite bedrooms, delicious drinks and a mouthwatering pub menu.

History Of Bath Abbey

Since 757 AD, the location of Bath Abbey has served as a site for Christian worship, witnessing the presence of three distinct churches over the centuries. Initially, an Anglo-Saxon monastery was erected, where the coronation of King Edgar, the inaugural king of all England, took place in 973 AD. The ceremony formed the basis for the coronation of all future Kings and Queens of England!

Following the Norman conquest, the monastery was replaced with a huge cathedral around 1090, which had turned to ruins by the 15th century.

The building of the present Abbey started in 1499, but due to the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539, was not officially completed until 1616, meaning it took nearly 120 years from start to finish!

The Ladders Of Angels

One of Bath Abbey’s most striking features is its West Front, which features a huge arched window and intricate stone carvings.

To either side of the window are long stone ladders, filled with carved angels climbing up and down them. It’s believed that the design was thought up by the Bishop of Bath Oliver King, who was inspired by a dream he’d had of angels ascending and descending above him.

Bath Abbey's Fan-Vaulted Ceiling

Considered one of the finest examples of fan vaulting in the country, the Abbey’s beautiful ceiling dates back to the early 1500s and was constructed by master architects Robert and William Vertue. Eagle-eyed visitors may be able to spot a slight difference in the vaulting above the nave (the central part of the Abbey) – this section of the ceiling was restored in the 1860s.

Bath Abbey Memorials And Burials

Bath Abbey is home to 1,526 memorials – 635 on the walls and 891 on the floor. These poignant tributes commemorate people from all walks of life – from the Chilton family, who were plumbers in Bath in the early 19th century, to US Senator William Bingham.

There are also thought to be up to 8,000 bodies buried beneath the Abbey floor. The earliest burial to be discovered is from 1625, with the last body laid to rest in 1845.

The Windows Of Bath Abbey

Bath Abbey houses some magnificent stained glass windows depicting an array of stories, including:

The Great East Window, which tells the story of Jesus in 56 scenes.
The King Edgar Window, which shows the crowning of Edgar as the first king of all England at the Saxon monastery once located where the current Abbey stands today.
The West Window, which depicts stories from the first five books of the Bible, including God’s Creation of Eve and Noah’s Ark.

Bath Abbey Tower Tours

If you’re feeling energetic, you can join a Tower Tour and climb the 212 steps to the top of the church tower for stunning views of Bath and beyond.

Taking around 45 minutes to complete, the tour offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of Bath Abbey, as well as the chance to see the ringing chamber and the Abbey’s 18th century bells, stand on top of the Abbey’s famous fan-vaulted ceiling, and the opportunity to sit behind the Abbey’s clock face!

Directions To The King John Inn From Bath Abbey

Nestled inside the beautiful Cranborne Chase on the borders of Wiltshire and Dorset, The King John is a true British country inn.

To reach The King John Inn from the Podium Car Park near Bath Abbey, you must head south on Walcot Street (A3039) and then turn right onto Broad Street. Turn right onto Saracen Street and then turn left onto Walcot Street (A3039). Continue for approximately half a mile.

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto London Road (A4) and then turn right onto Cleveland Place. Continue onto Bathwick Street and then turn left onto Beckford Road (A36) and continue for 11 miles.

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on A36 and then, at the next roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on A36 for 5 miles. At the next roundabout, take the 3rd exit and stay on A36 for a further 2 miles.

At Cley Hill Roundabout, take the 2nd exit and stay on A36 and then, at the next roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto A350 and continue for 14 miles. At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Little Content Lane A30/A350 and go through 1 roundabout.

At the roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto Salisbury Road and then turn right onto Higher Blandford Road (B3081). Continue for 1 mile, turning left to stay on the B3081 and The King John Inn will be on your left.