Bath and Bladud: the progress of a wayward myth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Stern’s chapter is devoted to the legend of King Bladud, ‘maker’ of the baths of Bath. It is in two parts. Part one tells the tale of Bladud, as first related by Monmouth in the eleventh century, up until now, showing the changes and permutations it underwent over time. Part two tells the story of Bath over the same period, revealing how Bladud’s founding myth was reconceived whenever beliefs about the hot water changed. Both parts consider what an unfixed foundation mythology reveals about its spa city. To what extent, Stern asks, has Bladud’s story shaped Bath and its baths, and to what extent has Bath and its baths shaped what is, in more than one sense, the fluid tale of Bladud?


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpa Culture and Literature in England, 1500-1800
EditorsSophie Chiari, Samuel Cuisinier-Delorme
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Publication series

NameEarly Modern Literature in History (EMLH)
ISSN (Print)2634-5919


  • Athens, Bath, Bladud, Catholicism, Magic, Myth, Necromancy, Pigs, Protestantism, Pseudo-history, Romans, Science, Spa, Stamford, Statues, Swainswick, Swineford, University, Wood (John)