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New approaches to social history. Myth, memory, and place: Monmouth and Bath 1750-1900.

1. A Hard and Soft Social History

In the post-war decades in Britain, social history, in what may be called its heroic age, was new and fashionable, and could expect to attract devotees by virtue of these qualities alone. From the later twentieth century, the baton for novelty passed to other sub-disciplines such as cultural and gender history. But the change was not simply one of fashion. It represented a major shift in approach from a "hard" to a "soft" social history. Much of the social history of the heroic age was empirical in character, and almost all was built around a notion of social structure, particularly class structure, drawn from Marxist theory. During the 1970s and 1980s, the certainties which underpinned this approach began to dissolve, and in particular the appeal of a class-based analysis of society declined. Growing emphasis was placed on the mental and imaginative sphere in society, on imagery and representation, and on qualitative modes of investigation. What was once hard and definite became soft and malleable, capable of multiple configurations and meanings. Beliefs and ideas were no longer firmly moored to structures; indeed, society itself became increasingly seen as a cultural construct. (1) This paper takes as its starting-point the rich possibilities for social history opened up by the cultural turn. It does so by exploring the interaction of three phenomena that have attracted a good deal of attention, myth, memory and place, (2) and by engaging in a form of micro-history. Two towns in the South-West of Britain, Monmouth and Bath, are investigated, and two very particular sites within or adjacent to them, the Kymin and the Circus. Both sites were created in the mid to late Georgian period, and in various ways are texts of their time, means through which it is possible to explore contemporary beliefs and identities, and the ways in which these were constructed. The meaning of these sites was neither uniform nor fixed, but ambivalent, polysemous, and changeable. The interaction of myth, memory, and place reflects the way a 'soft' social history has opened up new avenues for exploring society and its core beliefs. However, to what extent such an approach constitutes a genuine social history, as opposed say to cultural history or cultural anthropology, is a debatable point. It is arguable that social history requires at the very least an implicit model of society, with some sense of a social structure. The essays published in the fall 2003 issue of the Journal of Social History, drawn from the first conference reassessing the position of social history, contain, as Peter Stearns notes, "frequent reference to the need to revive attention to social class, as a corrective to the frequent quirkiness of the cultural turn." (3) Moreover, Jurgen Kocka argues that a new "social turn" may be imminent, and that social historians insist that "conditions and consequences, structures and processes have to be taken seriously and brought back in." But significantly, he also claims that in any return to social history "it will not be the social history of the 60s and 70s. Rather it will be a social history after the linguistic turn. It will have to incorporate ingredients from political and cultural history, analyse social phenomena as constructed, combine structure, agency and perception." (4) In a similar spirit Peter Burke has recently suggested that "we are witnessing the emergence of a hybrid genre," merging social history and the New Cultural History, and expressed the hope "that in what we may call a 'post-postmodern age', connections will be re-established." (5) This paper concludes, therefore, by arguing that the identities explored in it are not socially neutral, but are located in particular social structures, and are inextricably associated with establishing elite and class identities. The implication from this is that the way forward for social history is not an abandonment of the principles which underpinned its post-war origins, but a fusion of the new and the old, of the cultural and the structural, of the soft and hard; a fusion that emphasizes not the dominance of one factor over the other, but the interaction between the two, so that each reflects and shapes the other.

2. Monmouth and the Kymin

Monmouth sits astride the border of England and Wales, at the junction of the Rivers Monnow and Wye, as the latter winds its way along a steeply sided and heavily wooded valley past Tintern Abbey to Chepstow and the Bristol Channel. To the east of the town, and commanding a spectacular prospect of it, rises the Kymin Hill. It was said by Charles Heath in his early nineteenth-century account of the hill, used extensively in this paper, to take its name from "the compound word, 'Cae-y-Maen,' or 'Ce-y-Maen,' which appears to be the old British name of the hill, [and] signifies, 'the ledge of large stones, or pieces of rock.'" Heath adds, "This ETYMOLOGY so perfectly accords with the spot, that there can be no doubt of its correctness; more especially when we recollect, that the Welch gave names to all their towns and particular places from local circumstances." (6) At the turn of the nineteenth century a group of recreational and commemorative structures and facilities were established on the Kymin. At the very summit of the hill, 700 feet above ground, a circular two storey summer-house was built, capped by battlements, with a kitchen below and a banqueting room above. Construction began in 1794 and lasted two years. (7) Paid for by subscription, it owed its origins to a "select party of friends", the Kymin Club, who took to picnicking on the hill every Tuesday during the summer--though the house was available, on payment of a fee, for use by other appropriate parties. (8) Near to the summer house, or "pavilion" as it was often referred to, was erected "a roomy STABLE, built on purpose for the Horses of such Company as frequent the spot," and "a spacious and handsome CAMP HOUSE ... to serve either as a dining or with-drawing room, as is most agreeable to company." (9) On the gently sloping ground to the rear of the summer-house a bowling-green was constructed, enclosed by a low wall, while on the steep wooded escarpment beneath the house, and entered through "a large door,--which when shut, so perfectly secludes the stranger, that he his [sic] almost induced to believe it enchantment," was laid out the Beaulieu Grove, a series of walks provided with strategically placed seats from which to contemplate the magnificent views below. (10) In 1800, a short distance from the summer-house along the crest of the hill, a further structure was added, the Naval Temple. A classically designed memorial, topped by a bronze seated figure of Britannia, it commemorated the pantheon of eighteenth-century British naval commanders and the victorious battles associated with them. Access to the site, which had been by a road that "was not only circuitous, but also difficult and dangerous for carriages to pass," was greatly improved by the construction after 1799 of an impressive "carriage road," "thereby rendering it a pleasant excursion, at all times, from the town, to the numerous strangers, who visit this country in the Summer season." (11)

The combination of location and man-made artefacts, most of which still survive today, created a remarkable site. It was a place of pure pleasure, a locus given over entirely to the imagination. Unlike the landscape that spread beneath it, which teemed with agricultural, commercial, and industrial activity, it possessed no practical economic function. It was a setting devoted entirely to sociability and contemplation, and was a type of sacred place, as the Naval Temple insinuated. As such its meaning and function, so clearly important to contemporaries, derived from its role as what we might now call symbolic territory, in which social myths could be generated and identities created.

The site acquired much of its resonance from being located on a physical, metaphorical, and metaphysical border. Sacred places have often been situated on hills and mountains, representing as they did the point at which land and sky, earth and the heavens, man and the immortals met. The liminal and sacred implications of the site are reinforced in Heath's account when he records the Kymin as place where night and day merge, during what he perceives as an exceptional event: "PHENOMENON Of the MOON RISING and SUN SETTING at the same Time, as seen from the Summer House. Towards the latter end of the Autumn season, when the division of time is equal, with regard to light and darkness, the rising of the MOON and the setting of the SUN, at the same moment, afford a spectacle in the highest degree sublime, beautiful and worthy the contemplation of the philosophic mind. Such scenes, indeed, call forth a mingled portion of awe and admiration,--justifying the exclamation of the Psalmist, 'that the Heavens declare the Glory of God; and that the Firmament sheweth his Handy Work!'" (12)

God's handy work could be seen in both what man constructed and nature provided. This was reflected in the town and the countryside. The Kymin sat on the border between the two. Spread out beneath the hill was Monmouth, by 1800 in the middle of its "great period of prosperity and fashion," (13) enjoying a long-term urban renaissance during which the physical and cultural landscape of the town was remodelled and refined. A revolution in building design swept away, at least in the more fashionable streets, irregular vernacular timber-framed buildings in favour of ones faced with brick, ashlar, and stucco, and deploying, internally and externally, the rules, order, and ornamentation of classicism. (14) Social life was embellished by the operation, at various points in time, of a theatre, assembly rooms, subscription concerts, classical academy, horse races, bowling-green, and public pleasure gardens. (15) The town was able to flaunt its credentials as a centre of politeness, civility, and urbanity, attracting the county gentry, so that the assizes--the highlight of the social year--were said to "infuse a spirit of gaiety unknown on any other occasion at Monmouth." (16)

It was from the cream of society in the town and vicinity that the members of the informal club were drawn that held its "Weekly Meeting at the Kymin." (17) As they ascended the hill they left behind the busy world of the urban for an overtly peaceful rural environment of woods, clumps of trees, and scattered rocks. The sylvan aspect of the hill allowed townsmen to taste the sweet delights of the pastoral idyll. It was a myth attracting growing attention among urban dwellers in general in the eighteenth century. Public walks, parks, and pleasure gardens were laid out, and townspeople took with a vengeance to domestic gardening. (18) Many of the public walks and gardens were located on the edge of the town, often alongside a river, deliberately exploiting the boundary location to heighten the contrast between the urban and the rural. Monmouth possessed such a site on the Castle Field which ran alongside the Monnow. There, according to Heath, "the stranger will find an agreeable Walk through these beautiful meads,--originally laid down as a Public Mall and Tea Gardens, by the late Mr. John Tibbs, who kept the Beaufort Arms Inn. This Ferme ornee lies on the north side of the town,--and as the visitor ranges over it, his mind will be delighted with the rich scenery that every where surrounds him in these pleasing fields." (19) By 1800 the commercial pleasure gardens located on the field had closed down, but the Kymin continued the tradition, occupying a site set even deeper in the countryside.

Monmouth and the Kymin were not just situated in any piece of rural landscape. They sat at the gateway to the lower Wye Valley, one of the cultural hot spots of the late eighteenth century, visited and depicted by the leading poets and painters of the age, such as Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Turner, along with a host of fashionable tourists. (20) In a sense it could be argued that the Kymin sat on the border between the Enlightenment and Romanticism. The club founded on the Kymin was one of an efflorescence of societies and clubs established in Britain, largely in towns, from the late seventeenth century, which embodied the Enlightenment ideals of civility, sociability, and improvement. (21) The Kymin Club positively oozed these values. The members met "for the purpose of dining together, and spending the day in a social and friendly manner," and the summer-house was erected when the weekly alfresco meeting had to be curtailed because of seasonal change; "Compulsory motives for separation are never in unison with the feelings of any society, much less with those whose object is professedly convivial. Under these circumstances, one of the company expressed a wish to have a slight building erected, as a security from the inclemency of the weather." (22) The summer-house itself was built to an ordered plan with elegant sash windows, and the nearby Naval Temple was constructed to the strictest classical design, with "two two-columned porticoes in antis back to back." (23) It would seem as if the polite and civilized mores of the newly elegant Monmouth had been transported to the neighbouring hill.

Yet the Kymin--below which the "royal Wye, that, to forsake these vales/Unwilling seems; and winds, with slow remorse, /Amid the woods of fascinating Gwent" (24)--was also a site of the picturesque and proto-romantic. The first major tour undertaken by William Gilpin, the leading theorist of the picturesque movement, was along the Wye Valley, giving rise in 1782 to Observations on the River Wye ... Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, a pioneering work on the subject that had already gone into five editions by 1800. (25) Charles Heath jumped on the bandwagon, acknowledging that Gilpin's Observations "have greatly increased the general desire for viewing the scenes his pen so charmingly describes," and produced a guide to the Wye. (26) One of Gilpin's preoccupations was with educating his readers into how to make a likeness that would serve as a permanent record of the scene observed. Heath structures his account of the Kymin to service this literally "picturesque" end, providing detailed descriptions of the view from each of the five windows of the summer-house--with each description divided in to foreground, middleground and background--and each of the six seats in the Beaulieu Grove. To aid the observer, the upper room of the summer-house was "furnished with a Dolland Tellescope, whereby every object within the horizon may be correctly ascertained." (27)

If the Kymin straddled a cultural frontier it also sat astride an even more obvious political border, that between Wales and England. In this respect the county of Monmouth occupied a notoriously ambivalent position. Formed after the Act of Union in 1536, the incorporation of the new county into England could not mask the territory's historic location within Wales, and its continuing cultural and linguistic associations with that country. The Modern Universal British Traveller of 1779 was confused to the point that it wrongly considered the transfer to England of more recent origin; "MONMOUTHSHIRE was formerly a Part of Wales, and continued so until the reign of Charles II, when it was reckoned an English county, (as it has been ever since) because the judges then began to keep the assizes here in the Oxford circuit." (28) The late Victorian Black's Guide to South Wales continued to express uncertainty about the county's identity: "Here [in the case of Monmouthshire] any South Wales Guide has to face a dubious question. Since Tudor times this has been legally an English county, while in character, in nomenclature, in feeling, in the accent, and to some extent in the language, of its people it is as Welsh as its neighbours, nature having drawn no line to square with Acts of Parliament." (29) In 1883 Henry Austin Bruce declared in a speech at the opening of the University College of South Wales, Cardiff, "in other border counties the great preponderance of the English element has swept away almost everything Welsh but names of places, rivers, and mountains; but although what Drayton has sung in sounding rhymes of the course of the Rhymney is strictly true--'That she of ancient time had parted as a mound/ The Monumethian fields and Galmorganian ground', the Rhymney does not part Gwent from Wales, and the great majority of the inhabitants of Monmouthshire retain to this day all the distinctive peculiarities of their ancient British stock." (30) Heath's account of the Kymin hardly resolves this equivocal position, with allusion to its Celtic etymology, the Druidical associations of the nearby Buckstone, (31) and in the description of the views from the hill, constant reference to sites, especially mountains, in Wales, such as the Blorenge and the Brecon Beacons, as well as England, ranging from the Clee Hills in Shropshire to the Mendips in Somerset.

The border location of the Kymin, and the ambivalent status of Monmouthshire, ensured that the Naval Temple built on the hill's summit was infused with symbolic meaning. On the face of it, the temple seemed to offer a resolution to the problem of national identity, and no doubt this was how it was intended. Hovering over the entire edifice was the statue of Britannia. Carrying the Union Shield she appeared to represent, under her capacious embrace, a way of gathering together the fragmentary polities of the British Isles. The issue was an acute one, not only because the British state was still in the process of formation--the Irish Act of Union received Royal assent in the very month in which, according to the memorial tablet, the temple was constructed, August 1800, and the Scottish Act of Union was less than a century old--but also because the British state was at this time engaged in a continental war which was helping to define, and being used to define, what it was to be British. (32) Up until 1797 Britannia was conventionally depicted holding a spear, but as a consequence of the increasingly prominent role of the navy in the war against the French, and of several spectacular victories, the spear was replaced by a trident. (33) It is this that the Kymin Britannia wields. The navy had come to be seen, though this drew upon a long tradition which grew naturally out of the myth of an island race, as the very bulwark of British liberty and the essence of what it was to be British. (34) In 1808 Sir Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, speaking in Parliament described the navy as "the characteristic and constitutional force of Britain." (35) It was therefore entirely appropriate that the temple should be a naval one, that the heroes celebrated should all be naval officers, and that battles commemorated ones fought at sea. In total 16 admirals or vice-admirals names are recorded, each one's name individually engraved on a medallion along with the date of his most famous victory. The latter of these range from 1759 to 1801, but 14 occurred from 1790, indicating that this is very much a monument to contemporary history, intended to "excite a zeal in other counties for emulating the bright example and patriotic spirit of Monmouthshire." (36)

Among the four medallions located in the upper tier of the monument was that to Nelson, celebrating his spectacular victory at the Battle of the Nile, and originally accompanied by a painting of the event, though this is no longer to be seen. Nelson was the hero of the moment. In fact, the Kymin temple was not quite the first of its kind. In 1799 a Nile memorial in the form of a pyramid surrounded by clumps of trees named after naval captains and ships was erected in the grounds of Thoresby Hall in Nottinghamshire. (37) What gave the Kymin temple a special significance was that it was visited by Nelson himself during a triumphal progress from Oxford through South Wales and the West Midlands between July and September of 1802. (38) The great man visited in Monmouth twice during his tour. On the first occasion he arrived by boat along the Wye, having sailed under the picturesque eye-catchers of Goodrich Castle and Symonds Yat, and was welcomed by crowds lining the banks and a band playing See the Conquering Hero Comes. He stopped only a brief time but on his return stayed for two days and nights, during which he participated in a public breakfast on the Kymin and viewed the temple, later attending a banquet at the Beaufort Arms in Monmouth, at which he gave two addresses. After the second of these, "Lady Hamilton sung appropriate words to the National Air of Rule Britannia, with such taste and powers of execution, as called forth the utmost astonishment and delight in the mind of every person at table." (39) In lauding Nelson and building the temple, Monmouth staked its own claim to be the epicentre of a British identity. What reinforced this aspiration was not only its border location but also its fortune in being the birth place of Henry V, of whom a seven foot and two inches high statue was placed by the corporation in a niche on the exterior of the shire hall in 1792, (40) and whose exploits against the perfidious French earned the following panegyric in a contemporary poem; "A King, whose dazzling banners o'er proud Gaul/ Victorious wav'd--whose deeds puissant fir'd/ With patriot zeal each freeborn Briton's breast,/ And stampt on Monmouth that ennobling badge,/ Which, from the plains of blood-dy'd Agincourt,/ He, dauntless warrior, won!." (41) Within two years of the battle of Waterloo in 1815 the name of the town's market place had been changed to Agincourt Square "in order to celebrate a victory of Henry V's that seemed as famous as Wellington's." (42) In visiting Monmouth and the Kymin Nelson, consciously or otherwise, was drawing an association that local people would surely not have missed, between himself and his illustrious royal predecessor. But the allusion to Monmouth's British identity could not entirely mask the fact that in the British polity one country predominated. On the temple itself the mask of equality slipped. Whereas an inscription on the west front boldly declared 'BRITAIN'S GLORY', a tablet on the north front celebrated "THOSE NOBLE ADMIRALS WHO DISTINGUISHED THEMSELVES BY THEIR GLORIOUS VICTORIES FOR ENGLAND."

3. The Circus and Bath's First Imperial Moment

From Monmouth to Bath is a relatively short distance as the crow flies. But whereas one was a small border town, the other was a booming city, located firmly in English territory, and symbolically, if not actually, at the very heart of its nation. Outside London, and arguably it has to be taken with London as a single metropolitan entity, (43) there is no other urban site more central to the making of Georgian England than Bath. From a small Cotswold town of around 2000 inhabitants in 1700, it expanded to 30,000 people by 1800, and was among the top ten cities in the country. (44) All this was on the basis of servicing the recuperative and recreational needs of the elite, and, more to the point, of providing in its water facilities, assembly rooms, walks, pleasure gardens, theatres, and shops the context in which the ruling order was able to produce and reproduce itself. Anybody who was anybody, and anybody who intended to become anybody, had to visit Bath. Nelson was amongst those who came, visiting on at least six occasions, the last two in 1797 and 1798 as a national celebrity, after playing an important part in the victory at St Vincent (February 1797), and losing his right arm during the failed attack on Santa Cruza, Tenerife (July 1797). (45) He was voted the freedom of the city after the 1797 victory--the same honour was accorded by Monmouth in 1801 (46)--and when he attended the Orchard Street theatre in January 1798, the audience, upon recognizing him, rose to sing 'Rule Britannia'. (47) When later in the year there was a day of public celebration, in the wake of the battle of the Nile, it was reported, "This loyal City shone away [i.e. was all illuminated] on the Rejoicings night I find--The Laurels have not yet been taken away from the Doors; and a Nelson Flag is now a fashionable Head Dress. By a Nelson Flag is meant a Handkerchief of those Colours fancifully disposed as it looks very pretty." (48) After Emma Hamilton had regaled the banqueters at the Beaufort Arms in Monmouth in 1802 with "Rule Britannia", she finished with an encore, a patriotic song that was especially popular in the West Country, which included the lines, "Come hither all ye youths of Bath,/Whose bosoms pant for glory." (49) Bath was keen to assert its loyalty. This was to shake off some Jacobite associations in the past, and some stirrings of Jacobinism in the present. (50) But it was also because as the social rendezvous of the elite, with gentry visitors drawn from across the entire British Isles, it played a vital role in forging a pan-British governing class. It was this that lay behind the lionizing of Nelson. As a physical memorial, several streets built in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were named after the great man or his victories; Nelson Street, Nelson Place, Nile Street, and possibly also Norfolk Crescent (Norfolk being the county of Nelson's birth). (51)

The construction of a dedicated monument to Nelson was considered, but none materialized. (52) So Bath never matched Monmouth in the building of a naval temple. But the city did have its temple to a departed local and national hero. The Circus, located on Lansdown Hill, and among the proposed sites for a Nelson memorial, became one of the iconic buildings and spaces of Georgian Bath. Designed by John Wood the elder, who laid the foundation stone in the year of his death 1754, its significance was recognized from the moment of its creation. The first edition of Cornelius Pope's New Bath Guide of 1762 reported one third of it "now actually finished and inhabited, and when completed it will be perhaps one of the most elegant piles in Europe, of a modern work especially." (53) Four years later the Cornish vicar John Penrose wrote to his daughter, "The Circus is reckoned one of the most elegant Piles of Building in Europe. It was begun building about twelve years ago, and is now finished except one House now in building. It is quite circular, and had three Openings for Streets leading to it.... The Circus consists of thirty two Houses, all quite uniform; three Stories and Garrets above the Level of the Street, two below, with a very wide Area between the underground Rooms and the Street.... Each Story has over it a grand Cornish, supported by Pillars of different Orders; the lowest Pillars of (I believe) the Tuscan Order; the middle ones, of the Ionic; the highest of the Corinthian. The whole Pile of Building, truly magnificent.... From Description I had conceived a grand Idea of this Place, but the Sight proved beyond all conception. No House in the Circus, less than [pounds sterling]100 per ann." (54) It was part of the linked sequence of Queen Square, the King's Circus, and the Royal Crescent built by John Wood and his son. (55) Though not designed as a whole, but assembled in bits and pieces over half a century (1728-75), the ensemble emerged as the core element in Bath's Georgian planning. The Circus lay at the hub of this sequence. With its circular triple-tiered structure, amphitheatrical appearance, and hierarchical deployment of the three classical orders, the obvious antique model was the Colosseum in Rome. Wood must have been fully conscious of this, particularly since his plan for Bath in 1725 included a "Place ... for the Exhibition of Sports, to be called the Grand Circus." (56) Tobias Smollett in Humphry Clinker (1771) and Sir John Soane in a lecture of 1809 noted the association. (57) Overall, it is unlikely that those of Bath's visitors who had undertaken the European Grand Tour, or who were familiar with the central monuments of the classical tradition, would have missed the allusion. Such references to one of the defining buildings of Rome, the capital of the antique world, constituted a powerful statement about how urban, civilized, and Europeanized a city Bath was, and how much those who visited the city and occupied its buildings considered themselves part of an international cultural elite.

John Wood must have been well aware of the commercial value of cultivating such an image. He was designing an architecture that played to the social and cultural fantasies of his clients. But it now seems clear--as a result of the innovative research of Stuart Piggott, C. E. Brownell, Ronald Neale, Tim Mowl, Brian Earnshaw, Eileen Harris, and Stephen Varey (58)--that Wood had other and quite different agendas in mind than simply pandering to the Romanophile tastes of the Georgian grand tourist set. The Circus was a polysemic structure, expressing a multiplicity of potentially conflicting meanings. The Colosseum had been a pagan public building devoted to pleasure, and the Circus, at its most basic, was a private commercial venture to provide up-market holiday homes. It is argued, however, that Wood also designed the Circus to express a Christian message. His use of circular and tri-partite forms has been seen as a symbol for God and the Trinity, and a conscious refutation in stone of the anti-Trinitarianism of Arianism, Socianism, and Unitarianism. He also believed that classical architecture, and the classical orders, used boldly and extensively in the facade of the Circus, were of Judaeo-Christian, not pagan origin. As he argued in The Origin of Building, "if we examine into the Writings of the most eminent Authors of antient History, as well Sacred as Profane, we shall find them all confess, that the Knowledge our Ancestors first had in Arts and Sciences, was given them immediately by GOD." (59) The Circus was thus as much a monument to God as it was to Mammon, as much an expression of the divine as of the commercial spirit. However, Wood took the notion of the Circus as a temple even further. There is a strong case that he modelled its form on the nearby prehistoric monuments at Stanton Drew and Stonehenge; for example, the 30 outer stones of Circle D at Stanton Drew and Stonehenge match the 30 houses in the Circus, and in his Choir Gaure, Vulgarly called Stone-henge on Salisbury Plain, described, restored, and explained of 1747, Wood measured the diameter of the prehistoric monument at 312 ft, while the Circus encloses 318 ft. (60) This reflects Wood's wider beliefs about the genesis of Bath. In its original form, he argued, it was one of the great cities of the ancient world, stretching across a huge triangular area whose points were defined by the locations of modern day Stanton Drew, Wookey, and Bath. (61) It was founded by the Druidical priest-king Bladud, one of the royal line celebrated in Geoffrey of Monmouth's twelfth-century History of the King's of Britain. Encircling modern day Bath, according to Wood, was a series of elevated sacred sites associated with Bladud. To the south, for example, lay Odd Down, on which had been situated three structures; a temple to Camolos, the British god of war; "the great Court of Justice of the ancient Britons"; and a "stupendous Mausoleum" to house Bladud's remains. To the north-west there was Solsbury Hill, where Baldud met his death while attempting to fly, and on which was erected a temple to Apollo. (62) The building of a modern day temple on Lansdown Hill, modelled on Druidical monuments, was thus for Wood a piece of archaeological reconstruction, a returning of Bath to its historic state, and a celebration of Bladud.

There were more than a few parallels with the Kymin at Monmouth. The Circus was a very urban building, and its enclosed form largely excluded views of the natural world beyond. Yet it was dedicated to Bladud the founder of the Druids, whom Wood called "Priests of the Oak" and depicted as a nature cult, (63) and the parapet of the Circus was accordingly crowned with giant stone carved acorn finials. Moreover, it was soon accompanied by the Royal Crescent, which with its spectacular views and sweeping greensward, complete with grazing sheep, was the perfect fusion of town and country. The Circus was the very epitome of the Enlightenment, with its classical purity, and its emphasis upon sociable living space. But embedded within its form were, as we have seen, all sorts of curious and fantastical notions that bordered on the magical and mythical, and seemed to anticipate the romantic movement. Finally, the Circus was a very European and international monument. Yet the allusions to Bladud and the Druids meant that it was also for Wood a deeply patriotic structure. The archaeological evidence already uncovered by the mid-eighteenth century would have pointed to the Romans as the founders of Bath. Though Wood did not deny that the Romans played an important part in the city's history, the Bladud story meant that Wood could avoid attributing the origins of Bath to a foreign party. Moreover, the Druidical Bladud was conspicuously not an English but a Celtic and a British monarch. Among antiquarians Druidism was a widely discussed and hotly debated subject in the eighteenth century. Whatever the controversies surrounding it, it was seen to be part of a culture that once covered the entire British Isles, and survived in those "peripheral" areas that resisted the Roman invasion. In particular, it became associated with Wales, and was a central feature of the Welsh Celtic revival of the period. (64) In modelling the Circus on a Druidical heritage and hero, at a time when the idea of Britain and the British state was in such a formative phase, and in a place which drew together the social elite from the various parts of the British Isles and forged then into a cohesive ruling class, Wood could be seen to be engaged in a form of patriotic boosterism and engineering, much akin to the building of the temple on the Kymin.

However, caution must be exercised here. Whatever private Druidical symbolism Wood had in mind when designing the Circus, there is little evidence that this received much recognition among or had much impact on the fashionable visitors to Bath. The Bladud foundation myth was almost certainly part of popular civic tradition, and may have enjoyed much support locally. A terrace constructed on corporate property 1755-62 was named Bladud Buildings. Wood promoted the myth in his Description of Bath, the standard guide to the city in the 1740s and 1750s, and there is some evidence that the story enjoyed a degree of acceptance at this time. (65) But Wood's ideas on Bladud, the Druids, and Bath were considered ignorant and crazy even by William Stukeley, the major contemporary antiquarian proponent of Druidism, who was himself increasingly ridiculed for his theories in this area. (66) Moreover, the Bladud myth came under a withering attack in the later eighteenth century that effectively destroyed any credibility that it may have enjoyed among the visitors. One of the factors which seriously undermined the city-foundation aspect of the myth was the gathering volume of Roman archaeological finds, largely a consequence of the building work that underpinned Bath's rapid physical expansion. Particularly important was redevelopment work in the area of the old city, which accelerated in the 1790s and led, during the erection of the new Pump Room, to the discovery of over 70 inscribed and sculptured stones, many from the Temple of Minerva. The finds were placed on public display in a small museum constructed by the corporation at the top of Bath Street, and the discoveries were drawn together in Samuel Lysons's Reliquiae Romano Britannicae (1813), which included a reconstruction of the impressive front of the Temple of Minerva. (67) Against this mounting volume of empirical evidence of the city's Roman past, nothing could be found of Bladud's great city. In such circumstances it was natural that from the visitors' point of view the model for the Circus should be seen as the Colosseum not Stonehenge, and that it should be seen as a celebration of Bath's Roman not Druidical past. But this did not necessarily have the anti-patriotic implications that it might appear to. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries had seen the formation of a British overseas empire, with first its Atlantic then Asian wings, and the wars raging against France in c.1800 had enormous implications for the continuity and extension of that empire. (68) It is tempting to believe that the enthusiasm for Roman antiquities at this time, and the desire in Bath to discover a Roman past, were linked to an emerging sense of imperial destiny. The torch once carried by Rome had now passed to the British people. To see in the Circus a model of the Colosseum--that most iconic building of Imperial Rome, to which captured peoples and exotic animals of the empire were brought for display--was a recognition that the imperial mission had arrived on the shores of Albion. Read in this way, the Circus, as much as the naval temple on the Kymin, was an assertion and celebration of a British destiny and identity.

4. Bath and Its Second Imperial Moment

Bath reached its zenith as a fashionable resort around 1800. Competition from the second wave of spas, such as Cheltenham and Leamington, and the burgeoning seaside resorts like Brighton, allied to an influx of middle class residents, meant that the city began to lose some of its chic and exclusive image. Interest in Bath's classical heritage--both historic and recent, Roman and Georgian--also stagnated before a rising tide of Gothicism, religiosity, moral respectability, and urban improvement. Early and mid-Victorian Bath was far from willing to concede that the city's glory days had passed, and was unwilling to dwell too much on the achievements of its Georgian forbears. On the wider stage the British Empire continued to expand territorially, but the imperial project faced criticism from influential liberal ideology which characterized formal empire as an expensive and outmoded form of political organization. By the late nineteenth century, however, with Britain facing a growing economic, political, and military challenge from Europe and beyond, there was a strengthening of imperialist sentiment. "Competitive imperialism" fuelled further territorial acquisitions, in part prompted by fears about the expansionist intentions of rival powers, and the Empire reached its physical zenith in 1921, though the psychological attachment lingered long after this. (69) It was during the 1870s and 1880s that there was also a rejuvenation of interest in Bath's Roman past, with a series of key archaeological excavations that captured the public's imagination and led most spectacularly to the rediscovery of the Great Bath in 1880-1, and the exposure of the adjacent bathing complex. The coincidence of the rising public profile of imperialist sentiment, prompted by the advocacy of a vocal minority of enthusiasts, and the new wave of excavations at one of the most important sites in Roman Britain was unlikely to be accidental. In growing numbers visitors flocked to the excavations to witness the civilizing benefits of Pax Romana, and confirm and justify to themselves the civilizing mission that underpinned Pax Britannica. (70)

The Roman revival in Bath kick started an interest in the city's Georgian past--a sort of classical double act. In the long term this was to prove so effective a partnership that it virtually expunged all other periods from the city's popular historiography. From the point of view of material heritage, the great advantage that the eighteenth century had over its Roman predecessor was the sheer volume of surviving fabric. It was this built heritage that became one of the focal points of Georgian revivalism, evidence of which can be seen in the publication of Mowbray Green's path-breaking Eighteenth-Century Architecture of Bath in 1904, and the first great conservation battle which led to the saving of Bath Street in 1909. But this early interest in Bath's Georgian buildings, aside from a few specialists like Green, was motivated not so much by the aesthetic quality of the buildings, as the memory of the famous people who had occupied them during the city's golden age. Because virtually everybody of note in eighteenth-century Britain visited Bath at some point in their lives, then the potential for associating the more prestigious Georgian buildings with a historical celebrity of the period was considerable. The exercise found its most committed devotee in Thomas Sturge Cotterell, a redoubtable councillor who committed himself to promoting the city's past. At the end of the nineteenth century he began compiling a Historic Map which linked buildings and celebrities, and by the fifth edition published on the eve of the Second World War had amassed almost 300 names. He was also the driving force behind the project, initiated in about 1898, to erect mural tablets to famous occupants of Bath's historic buildings. By 1939 over 60 plaques had been put up, sometimes attended by an impressive inaugural ceremony. (71)

Those people celebrated in the Historic Map and on the mural tablets are drawn predominantly from the Georgian era and from two occupational groups; the arts, especially literary figures, with about a half the names, and the state with about a third. In the latter category the central figures are politicians and military men, many of them key individuals in the establishment of the eighteenth-century British Empire. Naval commanders are prominent among the military roll call, and of the 16 who appear on the naval monument on the Kymin, six are recorded on Cotterell's Historic Map; Viscount Bridport (at 34 Great Pulteney Street, died there 1814), Viscount Duncan (at 44 Great Pulteney Street, visited 1796-1801), Viscount Hood (at 5 Queen Square, died there 1816), Earl Howe (at 71 Great Pulteney Street, visited 1794, 1795, 1798), Lord Rodney (at 14 Gay Street, visited 1782, 1783), and of course Lord Nelson (2 Pierrepont Street, visited 1780, 1781). None of those on the Kymin monument is linked on Cotterell's Map with the Circus, but among the names associated with the building are some of the most celebrated heroes of empire, including the elder Pitt (the Earl of Chatham), Clive of India, Edmund Burke, David Livingstone, and Sir Hugh Massy Wheeler (killed at the Massacre of Cawnpore in the Indian Mutiny in 1857). (72) By disinterring the personal histories of departed national heroes, and fixing them to the historic fabric, Cotterell, and the broader publicity machine of which he was part, were engaged in turning Bath into what was effectively an imperial mausoleum.

One of the few contemporary figures included on the Map was the leading Liberal Imperialist Lord Rosebery. In 1899 he stayed at Number 5 the Circus, during a visit at which he received the city's freedom, and unveiled mural tablets to William Pitt the younger at Number 15 Johnstone Street, and William Pitt the elder at Number 7 the Circus. The city council, in an attempt to squeeze as much publicity out of the event as possible, put on a big show for the day, one feature of which was a lavish luncheon at the Guildhall, during which Rosebery summarized the achievements of Pitt the Elder's administration of 1757-61; "He sees [sic, presumably seized] one empire in Canada, he took half an empire in India, our ships still supreme on every sea, our armies were victorious on land. There never was a moment at which the power of Great Britain reached so completely its acme as in the administration of Pitt's [sic]." (73) Such patriotic fervour matched the mood of the times and met the needs of a city in which selling heritage was becoming an increasingly important line of business. The exploitation of the city's combined Roman and Georgian heritages ensured that late Victorian and Edwardian Bath became a centre of imperial tourism, a place of pilgrimage to which the British and the white colonial diaspora came to celebrate their history, identity, and destiny. But it was not just the British who were coming. In growing numbers, and as the result of a mounting publicity drive, citizens of the USA were being drawn to Bath. For these tourists the British imperial message would have fallen on deaf ears. What appealed to them were the associations of Bath with artistic and particularly literary figures of the Georgian era, whose presence features even more strongly than the state in Cotterell's Map and the mural tablets project, and identity with an English-language culture. This raises a further issue. In creating identities there is always a price to pay for territorial success. As the Empire expanded so Britishness became a global brand. For the English, who had in some measure traded in their Englishness for Britishness as the most effective strategy to expand power, this created something of a crisis in identity. Such feelings were accentuated because the late nineteenth and early twentieth century witnessed Wales, Scotland, and especially Ireland developing robust versions of a national culture. (74) It was in response to this that new notions of Englishness began to emerge. (75) In Bath this led to a distinct ambivalence as to the meaning of its heritage. On the one hand, the city was portrayed as British and imperialist in its nature; on the other hand, it was also characterized as quintessentially English. In the long run, as the imperial project began to falter, and its benefits became less and less obvious, so the English strand in Bath's image became increasingly prominent.

In this paper three themes have been interwoven; myth, memory, and place. Myth in the form of heroes and sagas--Nelson, Bladud, naval battles, and city foundations; memory in that all the stories involve some reconstruction of the past; and place in that building and landscape are the mediums through which myth and memory are expressed. Places are, in effect, material texts, though to understand their meaning we have often had to resort, as those living at the time would have done, to contemporary literature. Two towns in the south west of Britain have been focused upon, Monmouth and Bath, and within or adjacent to these two particular sites, the Kymin and the Circus. Both are situated on elevated hill-top or hill-side positions, both involve the construction of monumental features in an antique classical style, and both were erected in the mid to late Georgian period. Both are secular structures yet draw heavily upon sacred forms that invest them with a higher level of meaning. Both, despite their physical solidity, are mentally fluid and plastic forms, shot through with ambivalence. Much of this derives from being located across a series of borders; environmental (town and country, the Circus originally represented the outer limit of Bath's built environment), cultural (the Enlightenment/Romantic eras), and politico-geographical (Wales, England, and Britain). It is the occupation of a physical and psychological borderland that gives these places their peculiar force. It is by operating across the boundaries, and through the juxtaposition of opposites, that identities are forged. At the heart of these sites--and the interaction of myth, memory, and place--is the creation of identities. One particular form of identification has been highlighted; national identity. Located on the border between Wales and England, and built at the height of the wars against France, the Kymin and its naval temple seem a bold gesture at creating a British identity. Yet whether this was a truly British, as opposed to inflated English identity, remains tantalizingly unclear. The meaning of the Circus at Bath is similarly ambivalent. Was it a monument to English, British, or international culture? The answer is probably all three. The tension between the British and Roman elements was to some extent resolved by the shared imperial theme. 1800 represented what might be called the first imperial moment in the modern history of Bath. The second one came in the late Victorian/Edwardian period. It was at this time that the Circus, and much of the grander fabric of the eighteenth-century city, was transformed into a vast mausoleum to the founders of the Georgian empire. Significantly it was also in the 1880s, after much neglect and some vandalism, that the Naval Temple on the Kymin, and the circular pavilion around it, were restored. In 1903 the site, after a public appeal for funds, passed apparently into the hands of the National Trust, itself only formed eight years earlier, all in time for the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1905, attended by substantial celebrations both on the hill and in Monmouth. (76) Yet even as a British imperial identity was being asserted, there remains the question as to what extent this was any more than an aggrandized form of Englishness, or a flag of convenience under which the other nations of the Atlantic Archipelago could sail in order to pursue their individual economic interests? Moreover, as the imperial era has passed, and particularly since the end of the Second World War, a further question has arisen as to how far it is possible to sustain a viable notion of British identity--as opposed to ones associated with England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the various regions of these countries--outside an environment of militarism and territorial expansion?

5. Culture, Structure, and a New Social History

The identities and sensibilities explored in this paper are on the face of it socially neutral. Urbanity, pastoralism, enlightenment, politeneness, civility, romanticism, nationalism, and patriotism constitute or evoke feelings that can be shared by all. Indeed, one of the problems with the 'old' social history was its reluctance to explore such sentiments because they appeared to have little relation to social class. However, these modes of feeling were as much a product and shaper of the social structure as those--conflict, solidarity, deference, and the like--traditionally associated with class. Charles Heath's account of the Kymin is, in its own subliminal way, as much suffused with the language of class as any report of Peterloo or the Merthyr Rising. It was made perfectly clear that those responsible for building the summer-house and Naval Temple, and modelling the landscape around it, were members of the elite. The subscription list for constructing the summer-house and its facilities contained over 175 names and was headed by the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort, who possessed a country seat at nearby Troy, the Marquis and Marchioness of Worcester, Lord and Lady Somerset, the Viscount and Viscountess Gage, and eight Members of Parliament. (77) The "donations on the part of the Nobility, Gentry, and other Subscribers" were solicited by "the unwearied exertions of Philip Meakins Hardwick, esq. of Monmouth, to whom the gentlemen of the town have rendered their tribute of respect for his Patriotism, by causing his Portrait to be painted at their Expence, and placed in the Banquetting Room." (78) The members of the Kymin Club, who met in the summer-house, were drawn from "the principal Gentlemen of Monmouth and its vicinity," and the social class of the "Ladies and Gentlemen" who were permitted to use the facilities on a casual basis, was intimated not only by a request to "leave their Subscriptions at the House," but also a recommendation to "strangers, to let their servants, or others, attend them with Provisions and Liquor from their Inn." (79) Significantly the new carriage road leading up to the summit was protected by locked gates, the keys to which could only be obtained at two local inns. (80) The Kymin project seems to have been designed as a bonding exercise among the Monmouthshire elite, though crucially one that drew together the haute bourgeoisie of the town and landed gentry of the country. In Heath's account of the celebrations during Nelson's visit the Corporation are by far the most prominent actors, though interestingly the Duke of Beaufort presented a buck to feed the guests at the specially mounted dinner at the inn named after his family. Heath's description of the views from the various windows of the summer-house and seats on the walk in the Beaulieu Grove is studded with references to gentlemen's houses and estates. So, for example, the view from Window No.III includes,</p> <pre> Troy house the seat of the Duke of Beaufort ... The Hill farm ... belonging to Samuel Fluyder, esq. Extending the eye,--the seat and park of Capel Leigh, esq. Pont-y- Pool ... On a rise, Gibraltar, a box, belonging to Mrs. Duberly, Monmouth Saint Dial's farm, occupied by Mr. Leigh Wonastow church, and mansion house, the seat of T. Swinerton esq. Dingastow church, and court house, the seat of Sam. Bosquanet, esq. ... Clytha Castle, a beautiful pleasure house belonging to the late William Jones, esq. Pant-y-goitree, the residence of the late Thos. Hooper, esq. ... Lanarth court, the seat of John Jones, esq. Lansanfraed court, the residence of Lord Avenmore Lanover house, B. Waddington, esq, with the church Langattock juxta Usk. All this is highly beautiful. And down the vale, the Hardwick farm, occupied by Mr. Ewer. </pre> <p>The viewer is being asked to perceive the landscape as a piece of property, subdivided among an elite whose authority derives from their holding of land. Moreover, Heath suggests that in recent years this pattern of landownership, and by implication of power, may have become more concentrated in the hands of a few; "some years ago (and not very distant), there existed around Monmouth a number of farmers, who occupied small farms.... Now their estates are added to others of greater extent, and the houses occupied by servants, who generally act as bailiffs to their employers." (81)

In Heath's account of the view from the Kymin there is also a sense of political aesthetics, in that the beauty of the view derives in no small measure from the presence of the landed elite, and the sense of order and stability it gave the scene. The civilizing influence of the ruling class is expressed explicitly in the description of the view from Window No. IV, when we are told that "Before Mr. Attlay erected this beautiful mansion,--the ground was a russet, and lying waste, being covered with thorns and brambles. By his taste, it ranks among the most pleasant residences in the district." (82) Attlay, by the application of the superior faculties he possesses as a gentleman, has transformed a chaotic, unproductive wasteland into an ordered fertile landscape. Reading Heath's account it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the notion of contemplating a prospect and more broadly of the picturesque, what might be called the "cerebralization" of the landscape, is a predominantly elite pastime that involves a level of abstract aestheticization that those who work on the land have neither the inclination nor time to engage in. For those with the wealth and leisure to be freed from manual labour it became a sign of their taste and intellectual superiority, and therefore of their right to rule, that they can turn the landscape into a cultural form. As the landscape gardener Humphrey Repton argued, it was the possession of taste which marked the higher from the lower social classes; "a knowledge of what is good, what is bad, what is indifferent, whether in action, in manners, in language, in arts, or science, constitutes the basis of good taste and marks the distinction between the higher ranks of polished society and the inferior orders of mankind." (83)

In Heath's account the labouring classes make only the briefest appearance. We are told that "BEFORE the memory of man had any recollection, the western aspect of the KYMIN HILL, has afforded a peaceful asylum to a considerable body of Labourers in Husbandry, employed in the surrounding farms, by the erecting on it of a number of Cottages." The presence of agricultural labourers' dwellings on the steep western escarpment of the Kymin--the 1841 census confirms that they were the predominant occupants of the hill (84)--probably reflects its relatively poor value as agricultural land. The very name "Kymin" also implies that the hill is "common" land, and the elites remodelling of the summit therefore constitutes a form of aesthetic appropriation. The labourers' inclusion in the scene is essentially ornamental and symbolic. During a period of rural poverty and protest, and widening social divisions, their portrayal by Heath presents a comforting image of a prosperous and satisfied common people, for whom the subversive activities of the French lower orders would be unthinkable; "to each of their dwellings is added a neat garden, many of them stored with numerous fruit trees, which give to their homely mansions not only a cheerful appearance, but also furnish them with a considerable portion of their food." (85)

Heath's description of Nelson's welcome to Monmouth, with "the loud and heart-cheering huzzas of the people, who had lined the banks of the river for near two miles," (86) hints at a popular patriotism, though there is no indication that "the people" attended the public breakfast and ceremonies on the Kymin, or participated in the dinner given at the Beaufort Arms in the hero's honour. The Bladud foundation myth in Bath may also reflect a sense of national, but more likely local popular patriotism. John Wood, the principal publicist of the myth, was born in Bath and attended the Bluecoat charity school, and would have been well acquainted with the popular beliefs and customs of the area. (87) The intelligentsia's scornful rejection of the Bladud story is indicative of the growing influence of outsiders who rejected locally based mythology, but even more so of polite society's rapid retreat from the world of magic, which during the seventeenth century had been part of the elite's cultural world. A continuing belief in magic was seen to reflect the primitive condition, gullibility, and limited intellects of the common people. The pursuit of reason and the Enlightenment can thus be interpreted as cultural engines for achieving greater social distancing and exclusivity. (88) Wood's personal attachment to the Bladud myth owes more to his search for an historic vision with which to give shape and energy to his personal plans for Bath, than any sympathy for popular culture as such. Moreover, he was careful to ensure that in planning a structure like the Circus, though he may have encoded the architecture with arcane messages, the design also met the needs of his market. What sold the Circus to its residents was its social kudos. This derived from its grandiose and novel form, its high-flown classicism, its connections with Rome and a high status imperial past, and its sheer fashionableness and exclusivity. The Circus was a monument to snobbery. What Wood felt about it is probably reflected in his description of Queen Square, his first major building project in Bath; "the intention of a Square in a City is for People to assemble together: and the Spot whereon they meet, ought to be separated from the Ground common to Men and Beasts, and even to Mankind in General, if Decency and good Order are necessary to be observed in such Places of Assembly." (89)

In the late eighteenth century, as Bath became the resort and residence par excellence for naval and army officers, nabobs, planters, and retired colonial bureaucrats, so the imperial motif in the city's make up may have strengthened. But it was in the late nineteenth century that this theme reached its climax. It has been argued that imperial and militaristic sentiments at this period had a wide popular following; that imperialism and patriotism were the stock in trade of the popular theatre, music hall, and panoramas. (90) But Bath was not a mass tourist destination. The imperial sentiment that swept across the city, underpinned by the Roman and Georgian revivals, serviced the needs of middle and upper class residents and visitors, including those from the colonies. Bath shaped to become an imperial Mecca. However, the pilgrims it sought to attract were drawn not from the population at large, either at home or abroad, but from a narrow elite for whom the British Empire was a source of real power and wealth. Moreover, the privileges of this group were legitimated by the emerging Romano-Georgian interpretation of the city's history, which suggested that Bath reached its cultural zenith, and made its greatest contribution to civilization, when empire flourished. The imperial identity which Bath celebrated, in refined buildings like the Circus, was not that of the populace but the governing classes.

The aim of this paper, through two case-studies or "micro-histories", has been to show how a hard and soft social history can be merged together. The development of cultural history has opened up new territories for those studying a society's past, and is reflected in this paper by demonstrating the way myth, memory, and place interacted to generate identities. But for the social historian the task cannot stop there. At the conference which preceded this Paula Fass issued the plea that "the elements of ballast, clarity and structure that I first found so attractive in social history have become even more urgently needed ... now, more than ever, cultural history needs exposure to the methods, ways of thinking and questions that social history can provide." (91) The challenge, and one way ahead for social history, is to harness the lessons learnt about social class from the heroic age, and fuse together culture and structure, to offer a more integrated and holistic version of the past.

Department of History

University of Wales, Lampeter

Ceredigion SA48 7ED

United Kingdom

ENDNOTES

I am grateful for the assistance I have received in preparing this paper from Mike Benbough-Jackson, Anne Borsay, Colin Eldridge and Andrew Helme (of the Monmouth Museum). I have also benefited from consulting the notes (6 August 2002, hereafter referred to as ME notes) prepared about the Kymin by Margaret Evans for the National Trust, a copy of which is lodged at the Monmouth Museum. I am grateful for the comments I have received while delivering this paper at seminars and conferences at the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth; Dundee University; John Hopkins University; and the Regional History Centre, the University of the West of England.

1. P. Burke, ed., New Perspectives on Historical Writing (Cambridge, 1991); P. Burke, ed., History and Social Theory (Cambridge, 1992).

2. S. Schama, Landscape and Memory (London, 1996); J. Taylor, A Dream of England: Landscape, Photography and the Tourist's Imagination (Manchester, 1994): R. Samuel and P. Thompson, eds., The Myths We Live By (London and New York, 1990); R. Porter, ed., Myths of the English (Oxford, 1992).

3. P. N. Stearns, "Social History Present and Future," journal of Social History, 37 (2003): 17.

4. J. Kocka, "Losses, Gains and Opportunities: Social History Today," Journal of Social History, 37 (2003): 26.

5. P. Burke, What is Cultural History? (Cambridge, 2004), 113-14.

6. C. Heath, Descriptive Account of the Kymin Pavilion, and Beaulieu Grove, facsimile reprint (Monmouth, 2002), 11-12. There is no pagination in this reprint, so the referencing inserted here is counted from the first page of the Preface. The reprint is largely taken from an undated edition bound with Heath's 1804 history of Monmouth. The compilers of the reprint date this as 1808, though a reference in this edition to 1809 suggests that this date might be more accurate. Inserted in the reprint are also a number of pages from Heath's Descriptive Account of the Kymin Pavilion ... to Which is Added a Description of the Naval Temple (London, 1802). This was preceded by an earlier undated second edition, A Descriptive Account of the Kymin Summer House, but with a preface dated 1800 (ME notes, p. 1). Unless otherwise stated the edition referred to here is the modern reprint.

7. Heath, Descriptive Account (1802), 13. The 1802 edition has no pagination, but the edition in Monmouth Museum has page numbers pencilled in, and these are adopted here.

8. Heath, Descriptive Account, 9-10, 15-16.

9. Heath, Descriptive Account (1802), 5-6.

10. Heath, Descriptive Account, 25-30.

11. Ibid. 34.

12. Ibid. 32.

13. J, Newman, The Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire (London, 2000), 404.

14. C. Heath, Historical and Descriptive Accounts of the Ancient and Present State of the Town of Monmouth (Monmouth, 1804), especially 180-8; K. Kissack, Monmouth: The Making of a County Town (Chichester, 1975), 293-300; K. Kissack, Monmouth and Its Buildings (Woonton Almeley, 2003).

15. Heath, Monmouth, 80-3, 102, 211; Kissack, Monmouth: The Making of a County Town, 241-3, 256-66; Kissack, Monmouth and its Buildings, 49, 59 and 65.

16. Heath, Monmouth, 99.

17. Heath, Descriptive Account, 9.

18. K. Thomas, Man and the Natural World: Changing Attitudes in England 1500-1800 (Harmondsworth, 1984), 234-6; P. Borsay, "The Rise of the Promenade: The Social and Cultural Use of Space in the English Provincial Town c. 1660-1800," British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 9 (1986): 125-40; L. Williams, "Rus in Urbe: The Greening of English Towns, 1660-1760," PhD thesis, University of Wales (1998); S. Harding and D. Lambert, Parks and Gardens of Avon (Bristol, 1994), 52-7; P. Stamper, Historic Parks and Gardens of Shropshire (Shropshire Books, n.p., n.d.), 32-9; D. Cruickshank and N. Burton, Life in the Georgian City (London, 1990), 190-5; R.T.L. Gowan, The London Town Garden 1700-1840 (New Haven and London, 2001).

19. Heath, Monmouth, 211.

20. R. Chamberlin, The Idea of England (London, 1986), p. 114; Kissack, Monmouth: The Making of a County Town, 245-56.

21. P. Clark, British Clubs and Societies 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World (Oxford, 2000); P. Borsay, "The Culture of Improvement," in P. Langford, ed., The Short Oxford History of the British Isles: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 2002), especially 192-3.

22. Heath, Descriptive Account, 9, 15-16.

23. Newman, Buildings of Wales: Gwent/Monmouthshire, 606.

24. Heath, Descriptive Account, 7.

25. I. McCalman, ed., An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age: British Culture 1776-1832 (Oxford, 1999), 523-4, 646-7.

26. C. Heath, The Excursion Down the Wye from Ross to Monmouth (Monmouth, 1808), preface, 1.

27. Heath, Descriptive Account (1802), 10.

28. Reproduced in Kissack, Monmouth and its Buildings, 3.

29. Black's Guide to South Wales, 9th edn. (London, 1896), 200.

30. H. A. Bruce, Letters and Addresses by the Right Hon. Henry Austin Bruce (London, 1901), 344. I owe this reference to Mike Benbough-Jackson.

31. Heath, Descriptive Account (1802), 49-52.

32. L. Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (New Haven and London, 1992); J. Smyth, The Making of the United Kingdom, 1660-1800: State, Religion and Identity in Britain and Ireland (Harlow, 2001).

33. J. Cannon, ed., The Oxford Companion to British History (Oxford, 1997), 127.

34. R. Harding, "The Royal Navy," in H.T. Dickinson, ed., A Companion to Eighteenth-Century Britain (Oxford, 2002), 481-8.

35. Quoted in Cannon, Oxford Companion, 674.

36. Heath, Descriptive Account (1802), 27.

37. F. Fraser, "If You Seek His Monument," in C. White, ed., The Nelson Companion (Stroud, 1995), 130-1.

38. T. Pocock, Horatio Nelson (London, 1987), 277-82; E. Gill, Nelson and the Hamiltons on Tour (Gloucester, 1987), 48-61.

39. Heath, Descriptive Account, 65.

40. Heath, Monmouth, 101-2.

41. Heath, Descriptive Account, 6.

42. R. A. Griffith, "Harry of Monmouth, Henry V of England: Local Esteem and National Reputation," The Monmouthshire Antiquary, 19 (2003): 80.

43. P. Borsay, "Metropolis and Enlightenment: The British Isles 1660-1800," Journal for the Study of British Cultures, 10 (2003): 152-3.

44. R.S. Neale, Bath 1680-1850 (London, 1981); S. McIntrye, "Bath: The Rise of a Resort Town, 1660-1800," in P. Clark, ed., Country Towns in Pre-Industrial England (Leicester, 1981), 198-249; T. Fawcett and S. Bird, Bath: History and Guide (Stroud, 1994).

45. Pocock, Nelson, 49-50, 63, 82-3, 147, 151; L. Hodgkin, A Brief Guide to Nelson and Bath (1991), 1-3.

46. See copy printed by Heath on silk in 1802 in the Monmouth Museum.

47. Hodgkin, Nelson and Bath, 3, 13.

48. Hester Lynch Piozzi to Lady Williams, 18 Dec. 1798, in T. Fawcett, Voices of Eighteenth-Century Bath (Bath, 1995), 181.

49. Pocock, Nelson, 280.

50. Neale, Bath, 306-7; S. Poole, "Radicalism, Loyalism and the 'Reign of Terror' in Bath," Bath History, 3 (1990), 114-37.

51. W. Ison, The Georgian Buildings of Bath (1948, reprinted Bath, 1969), 175-6; M. Forsyth, Pevsner Architectural Guides: Bath (New Haven and London, 2003), 253.

52. Hodgkin, Nelson and Bath, 6.

53. C. Pope, The New Bath Guide, or Useful Pocket-Companion (Bath, [1762]), 30.

54. J. Penrose, Letters from Bath 1766-1767, ed. B. Mitchell and H. Penrose (Gloucester, 1983), 67.

55. Forsyth, Bath, 135-51.

56. J. Wood, A Description of Bath, 1st pub. 1742-3, 2nd edn., 1749, reprinted (Bath, 1969), 232.

57. J. Summerson, Heavenly Mansions and Other Essays on Architecture (London, 1949), 99-100.

58. S. Piggott, The Druids (1968, Harmondsworth, 1977), 128-31; C.E. Brownell, "John Wood the Elder and John Wood the Younger," Ph.D. thesis, Columbia University (1976), 5-8, 150-88; Neale, Bath, 186-201; S. Piggott, Ancient Britons and the Antiquarian Imagination: Ideas from the Renaissance to the Regency (London, 1989), 146-7; T. Mowl and B. Earnshaw, John Wood: Architect of Obsession (Bath, 1988); T. Mowl, "Prehistory and Palladian--John Wood's King's Circus Bath," in C. Hind, ed., New Light on English Palladianism (London, 1990), 31-49; E. Harris, "John Wood's System of Architecture," Burlington Magazine, 131 (1989): 101-7; E. Harris, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785 (Cambridge, 1990), 480-9; S. Varey, Space and the Eighteenth-Century English Novel (Cambridge, 1990), 81-118.

59. J. Wood, The Origin of Building: Or, the Plagiarism of the Heathens Detected (Bath, 1741), 7.

60. Mowl and Earnshaw, John Wood, 191-2; Forsyth, Bath, 144.

61. Wood, Description of Bath, 40-1, 89, 99-103.

62. Ibid. 14, 130-4, 351.

63. Ibid. 136-47.

64. R. Sweet, Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London and New York, 2004), 124-53; G.H. Jenkins, The Foundations of Modern Wales, 1642-1780 (Oxford, 1993), 249-51, 424-6; P. Morgan, A New History of Wales: The Eighteenth Century Renaissance (Llandybie, 1981), 54, 89-90, 108-9, 114, 125.

65. P. Borsay, The Image of Georgian Bath, 1700-2000: Towns, Heritage, and History (Oxford, 2000), 52-3.

66. Sweet, Antiquaries, 131-3; S. Piggott, William Stukeley: An Eighteenth-Century Antiquary (1985), 79-109; Mowl and Earnshaw, John Wood, 208.

67. Borsay, Image, 56-7.

68. P.J. Marshall, ed., The Cambridge Illustrated History of the British Empire (Cambridge, 1996), 16-51; P.J. Marshall, ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire, II: The Eighteenth Century (Oxford, 1998).

69. B. Porter, The Lion's Share: A Short History of British Imperialism 1850-1995, 3rd edn. (Harlow, 1996); A. Porter, ed., The Oxford History of the British Empire, II: The Nineteenth Century (Oxford, 1999); Marshall, Cambridge ... History of the British Empire, 52-79.

70. Borsay, Image, 66-77.

71. Ibid. 102-3, 229-30.

72. T.S. Cotterell, Historic Map of Bath, revised edition to 1898, 4th edition corrected to 1931, 5th edition corrected to 1939.

73. Borsay, Image, 321.

74. M.G.H. Pittock, Celtic Identity and the British Image (Manchester, 1999), 94-128; T. Devine, The Scottish Nation 1700-2000 (London, 2000), 285-308; P. Jenkins, A History of Modern Wales 1536-1990 (Harlow, 1992), 301-46.

75. K. Kumar, The Making of English National Identity (Cambridge, 2004).

76. Western Mail, 1 June 1882, p. 5; Kelly's Directory of Monmouthshire (1901); ME notes, 8-9, 15-16, 18; Gill, Nelson and the Hamiltons, illustrations facing pp. 50-1.

77. ME notes, 1-2. The names of subscribers are included in the c. 1800 edition of Heath's Descriptive Account.

78. Heath, Descriptive Account, 2-3.

79. Ibid. 9-10.

80. Heath, Descriptive Account (1802), 6.

81. Ibid. 21; Heath, Monmouth, 102.

82. Heath, Descriptive Account, 23.

83. Humphrey Repton, Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803), quoted in A. Forty, "Common Sense and the Picturesque," in I. Borden and D. Dunster, eds., Architecture and the Sites of History (New York, 1996), 182.

84. A transcript of the census can be seen in the summer-house today.

85. Heath, Descriptive Account, 33. See also J. Barrell, The Dark Side of the Landscape: The Rural Poor in English Painting 1730-1840 (Cambridge, 1980), especially 1-33; A. Bermingham, Landscape and Ideology: The English Rustic Tradition 1740-1860 (London, 1987), 73-83, 88-9.

86. Heath, Descriptive Account, 56.

87. H. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600-1840 (New Haven and London, 1995), 1072; Penrose, Letters, 82-3.

88. R. Porter, Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the Modern World (London, 2000), 364-82.

89. Wood, Description of Bath, 345.

90. J. Mackenzie, "Empire and Metropolitan Cultures," in Porter, Oxford History of the British Empire ... the Nineteenth Century, 277-80.

91. Paula Fass, "Cultural History/Social History: Some Reflections on a Continuing Dialogue," Journal of Social History, 37 (2003):39.

By Peter Borsay

University of Wales, Lampeter
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