The origins of a road – St Johns Rd and Bathwick

Pulteney Bridge

Bathwick History

Bathwick was originally named “Wiche” or “Wicke” (old English for a farmstead), the prefix Bath being added later to distinguish the place from many others of the name. From the days of the Conqueror, who included it among the numerous West Country properties which was granted to Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances in reward for his part in the Conquest, Bathwick has remained a single estate.

The Victoria County History of Somerset translates the Domesday Book of 1086 thus: “The bishop (Geoffrey of Coutances) himself holds WICHE. Alvric held it in the time of King Edward (the Confessor) and paid geld for 4 hides. There is land for 4 ploughs. In demesne are 3 hides and 3 ploughs and 4 serfs, and there are 1 villein and 10 bordars who hold 1 hide less 11 acres. There are 2 riding-horses and 14 swine and 250 sheep. There is a mill paying 35 shillings and 50 acres of meadow and 120 acres of pasture. It is worth 7 pounds.” 

After the bishop’s death in 1093, Bathwick became Crown land, and then passed into the possession of Wherwell Nunnery, Hampshire. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the estate reverted to the Crown and was bestowed by Queen Mary to the Neville family in 1553.

The mill mentioned in the Domesday Book was located immediately below Pulteney Bridge, on Spring Gardens Wharf. Originally a flour mill, it was expanded in the 1760s to include “fulling” woollen cloth. Also in this location stood the Day & English Brass & Iron Works where, in 1888, Joseph Day invented the two stroke petrol engine.

No16 Grove Street was built by Thomas Attwood in 1772-1774 as the City Prison. The original design, by Robert Adam (who also designed Pulteney Bridge) was rejected in favour of Attwoods.

In the 1840s, Northgate Brewery in Grove Street was the largest in the South West of England. There was also a second brewery in the parish, the Bathwick Brewery, on Bathwick Street.

Passers by on Bathwick Street will notice a Jacobean style arch outside Henrietta Court, which seems oddly out of place in front of such a modern building. This is “Pinch’s Folly” which was erected by William Pinch, son of the younger John Pinch (who, together with his father, was responsible for much of the Georgian architecture in Bathwick and Lansdown) and marks the entrance to their old builders yard.

For more information on Bathwick, see our blog posts on “Bathwick road names” and “Bathwick historical notes”

St Johns Road

This address first appears in Bath directories in 1897, with only a few houses and residents listed. Examples include Elmstead Lodge, Avonbank Cottages, The Rosery and Fern Cottage plus Bathwick School (H. Bowen as master) and an unaddressed poultry dealer by the name of G.W Worrell.

The house in question is first listed in 1934, as the residence of a Mrs A Southgate (whilst in the same year, I also noticed a resident at No7 by the name of Mrs M Hogsflesh). Mrs Southgate resided at the property until at least 1963, to be replaced by Alan K Reed (1965) and Anthony J Baker (1968).

 St Johns Rd

A much loved 1930s semi-detached family home over three floors, set in an excellent central location close to Pulteney Bridge, Bathwick St Marys primary school and city amenities.  This substantial 1189sqft property boasts spacious accommodation comprising of; large sitting/dining room, kitchen/breakfast room, cloakroom, three good sized bedrooms and family bathroom. With the added benefit of gas central heating via a Worcester condensing boiler, double glazing, enclosed south facing rear garden and driveway parking this home is sure to be an instant hit. Energy Rating 60. No onward chain.

Dining Area

St John’s Road is located off Argyle Street. From Laura Place, turn right into Grove Street which leads directly onto St John’s Road (where the property will be found on the right hand side).

Rear elevation

St Johns Rd floorplan

Full details for the above property may now be found on our website by clicking here.