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Bath and Salisbury, England: from Stacy Beard's photo album

Editor's note: I always enjoy looking at Stacy's fine work. She's a great amateur photographer and she has an eye for composition as well as scale. It's a treat to see her work and I look forward to her next trip...stay tuned.

Lovely old bridge in Bath

Bath, England. I visited Bath when I was a study-abroad student in London in the fall of 1992, so this was a nostalgic visit for me.

Very old baths

After visiting Salisbury (photos below), I stopped in Bath for the evening. I decided to take a bus tour to catch the sites before dark. Taking a stroll through the town after my bus tour, I took this shot at the back of the building that houses the Roman baths built in the 1st Century. These are the only natural hot springs in Great Britain. After the Romans left Britain, the baths were buried and forgotten. In 1738 construction started of the Royal Mineral Water Hospital, and people started to come to Bath again to look for cures from the waters. In 1880 the King's Bath was excavated by archaeologists, and the rest of the Roman site was uncovered. Public bathing here started again, but stopped in 1978.

Tallest spire in all of England

Salisbury Cathedral is unique in Britain. Unlike its cousins, Salisbury did not evolve gradually over centuries, with constant additions and renovations. Rather, it was built nearly to completion within a single generation. As a result, it presents a unity of vision that is remarkable.

The Cathedral was begun in 1220, and finished, with the exception of the tower and spire, in 1258. The spire and its tower were built between 1320 and 1380.

At 404 feet (123m), it is the tallest spire in England. The medieval builders of the spire accomplished their masterpiece with foundations only 5 to 6 feet deep in the wet ground to take the strain of 6400 tonnes.

In 1668 Sir Christopher Wren was called on to survey the spire. Wren found that it was leaning nearly 30 inches out of plumb, and had iron tie-rods inserted to brace it. When Wren's braces were replaced some two hundred years later, measurements revealed that no further movement had occurred.

The Cathedral also houses the best preserved of only 4 original surviving Magna Carta (1215 AD) and Europe's oldest working clock (1386 AD).

Magna Carta is Latin for 'The Great Charter' the famous agreement made between King John and his barons at Runneymede in 1215. (Two of the others are at the British Library in London, and one is at Lincoln Cathedral). It is beautifully written in Latin on vellum (animal skin) and contains some 3,500 words, many of which have been abbreviated. It established, amongst other principles in law, that no free man may be imprisoned or prosecuted without fair trail before his equals. The basic principles of the Magna Carta have been incorporated into the Constitution of the United States of America.

gargoyles are for catching rainwater

Swans a swimming

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