"In 1644 a visitor to Bath wrote ‘the public ways of the city were become like so many dunghills’. As both the popularity of Bath and the population itself increased, less land became available for the disposal of waste in communal middens or cesspits and households resorted to disposing of their sewage into the street. The City’s runnels and ditches were little more than open sewers, awash with household, and in particular, human waste. Whose job was it to clean up the mess? Kay Ross explores the world of the Nightsoil Collector".
The study of linguistics can often tell us more about a place than we realise. In this article, Richard Coates looks into the etymology of two Bristol Hill names, contextualising one as being of Celtic origin, while the other appears to have ancient linguistic roots. This article highlights the significance of place name evidence, making a case for its value in historical studies.
In the twelfth century, crusader knights took on the mission of protecting pilgrims to Jerusalem and the Holy Land from across Europe. The journey was long and dangerous, but it was widely believed that taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land was the most sacred form of penance. Pious landowners who could not take the pilgrimage themselves gifted land to the order as an alternative form of penance. One such piece of land sits in the heart of Bristol, in the area which today surrounds Temple Meads train station. Julian Lea Jones tells the fascinating history of the rise and fall of the Knights Templar at Bristol, of their activities at the preceptory and of their thriving trade.
James Bridges was clearly a versatile and talented character; it seems that talent ran in his family. Following on from his father, the creator of a marvellous invention which is celebrated today at the British Museum, James Bridges was a skilled surveyor, architect and travelling showman with a keen interest in science. Bridges took on many projects throughout his lifetime, including the Bristol bridge, to name but one. In this article, Barb Drummond follows the story of this intriguing character - although the end of his story remains elusive.
The Maire of Bristowe is Kalendar,begun in 1478/9 by the town clerk, Robert Ricart,contains the first fully developed chronicle to be produced in an English provincial town.The book represents a considerable investment of time, money and intellectual effort. Its conception was unusually ambitious, and it was the product of a prosperous, sophisticated and self-conscious urban community. Peter Fleming provides a new look on this important document, as well as providing insight on the context of its creation.