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Symbolism in Bath’s architecture

Bath’s architecture has more symbolic meaning than you probably first realised.

Shape is crucial to Queen’s Square, The Circus and the Royal Crescent, and it’s believed that the Woods had connections with the Freemasons. Much as he was obsessed with Palladian architecture, John Wood the Elder was also very interested in ancient monuments and druid activity, believing that there had been druid temples worshipping the sun and moon on Lansdown Hill in Bath.

The Circus is partly inspired by Stonehenge (as well as the Colosseum in Rome) and supposedly represents the sun, while the Royal Crescent is a symbol of the moon. Queen Square, supposedly representing the earth, is also aligned in such a way that it follows the Masonic path of the sun.

Symbols, The Circus, Bath, England by Christophe Cappelli Shutterstock

Masonic symbolism around the Circus © Christophe Cappelli, Shutterstock

There are many symbols associated with Freemasonry on the buildings themselves, particularly in The Circus, such as set squares, compasses and shapes. A Masonic Hall still operates in Bath, in Old Orchard Street. The original Theatre Royal building, which you can visit, has a museum and collection of Masonic artefacts.

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