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Thursday June 23: By train to Bath (AKA Bath Spa). We’re reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, which is largely set in Bath, so had hoped to see something of the late-18th/early19th century city represented in her books. Due to an oversight on my part, we discovered after arriving that the free Austen-themed walking tours of the city are only offered on weekends. The (not free) Jane Austen center is informative, but a bit on the fannish side with an emphasis on film & TV series costumes (the one authentic Regency-era dress was displayed in full-filtered sunlight and had faded shockingly, if the photograph of its original state was anything to go by), and elevation of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.

Everyone found the Roman baths fascinating, however. The archaeology and displays for these have been substantially expanded since the last time I visited, which I think may have been in 1976! The link goes to an online “walkthrough.”


Friday June 24: We wanted to see the spurious Round Table at Winchester, probably created in the 12th c., rehabbed and painted by Henry VIII, all part of recurring efforts to use the legend of Arthur to bolster contemporary political ambitions:

Outside the Great Hall the houses the Table, we found a representation of it in pavement, so the students formed their own chivalric order:

Winchester Cathedral holds Jane Austen’s grave–more impressive than the gaudy memorial to her authorship, in my opinion:

The cathedral & its library were also hosting a special exhibition celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible, including the remarkable Winchester Bible. Images can’t do it justice.