Bath, the chief city of Somerset, is beautifully situated in the wooded valley of the sinuous Avon, 12 miles ESE. of Bristol, and 107 W. of London. Its houses are built wholly of white freestone - 'Bath oolite,' worked in the neighbouring quarries. Set in a natural amphitheatre, with Lansdown Hill (813 feet) to the north, the city has a finer appearance than any other in England. The beauty and sheltered character of its situation, the mildness of its climate, and especially the curative efficacy of its hot chalybeate springs, have long rendered it a favourite fashionable resort. The springs were known to the Romans, who here in the 1st century a.d. built baths, of which extensive remains have been discovered. The temperature of the springs varies from 97° to 120° P. The water is most useful in bilious, nervous, and scrofulous complaints, palsy, rheumatism, gout, and cutaneous diseases. Besides a beautiful park (1830), Bath has the Assembly Rooms (1771), the Guild-hall (1766), the Pump-room (1797), the Mineral Water Hospital (1737-1861), and the new baths (1887). The Abbey Church (1499-1616) is a cruciform Late Perpendicular structure, with a fine fan-tracery ceiling in the style of Henry VII.'s chapel, and a central tower 162 feet high. On Lansdown Hill is Beckford's Tower, 130 feet high, built by the eccentric author of Vathek. South of the city is Prior Park, built in 1743 by Ralph Allen, Fielding's friend, and now a Catholic college. There are several other educational establishments. Bath returns two members to parliament, and conjointly with Wells is the seat of a diocese. It has no manufactures of importance; but it has given name to a kind of bun, to wheeled invalid chairs, and to 'bricks' (made of very fine sand from the Parrel River) used for cleaning metal. Coal is found in the neighbourhood. Pop. (1881) 51,814; (1901) 49,817. Traditionally founded by a British prince, Bladud (863 b.c), Bath is really of great antiquity. It was a Roman station called AquAe Solis, at the intersection of the great Roman ways from London to Wales, and from Lincoln to the south coast of England. Richard I. granted Bath its earliest extant charter. It figures frequently in literature, in the works of Smollett, Fielding, Anstey, Madame D'Arblay, Miss Austen, Dickens, etc. See works by Warner (1800), Scarth (1864), Sir G. Jackson (1873), Peach (1873-86), King and Watts (1885), Meehan (1897).
Bath, a city and port of entry, Maine, U.S., on the Kennebec River, 35 miles S. of Augusta. Shipbuilding is the chief industry. Bath was incorporated as a town in 1780, and as a city in 1850. Pop. 11,000.