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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Words on Wednesdays: Invisible

“The Roman remains were what they sought: medieval Bath was invisible”
Peter Davenport
Medieval Bath Uncovered

As a part of my week of work experience here at the Roman Baths, I was given the opportunity to organise a handling table for the Words on Wednesdays weekly summer event. I have always found medieval England interesting, so I decided to take advantage of the thousands of amazing artefacts here at the Roman Baths and take a closer look into medieval life.

Words on Wednesdays Medieval Handling Table

The focus of my table was the different elements of the home; I incorporated building materials such as floor tiles and window glass, as well as objects which would be found inside the home like pottery and cosmetic items. While the objects I used are more likely to have been found in the possession of someone of a higher status, and the tiles and glass in a cathedral, I wanted to create an idea of what life may have looked like in the medieval period.

A favourite object of mine, and of the visitors to my table, was the King John short cross halfpenny from 1205. The coin is a part of the Wellow Hoard, a group of 16 coins produced in the period 1180-1247. This is a great example to show how halfpennies were created 800 years ago, by simply cutting whole pennies in half!

Cut halfpenny of King John. Left: Obverse, Right: Reverse

Another group of objects that attracted a lot of attention were the 14th century cathedral floor tiles. These were found in the 1974 excavation of Orange Grove and have detailed designs including a griffin, 3 lions and an abbey. One of the designs particularly I liked was the griffin which symbolised the bravery of a lion combined with the intelligence of an eagle, and would have been a great addition to the floor of a cathedral.

Medieval floor tile. Left: Floor tile, Right: Reconstruction drawing

I greatly enjoyed putting together my table and getting to look at all the wonderful artefacts that the Roman Baths has to offer that aren’t Roman, and cast a light on a much forgotten era of Bath’s history.

Work Experience Student


  1. Did you hear about the thousands of 11th century silver coins found in the Chew Valley?

    1. Hi Tom,
      We certainly have, it's very exciting stuff! Here's a link to our press release:


      Watch this space...!