Face to face with the Woods

Considering how grand and admired their building schemes are it is perhaps surprising that John Wood and his son (John Wood the Younger) – the architects of Georgian Bath – should be laid to rest in a small country church away from the city centre they helped to shape out of local stone.

In the chapel, you will spot the burial slab of John Wood the Elder (1704-1754), architect and developer – with his son – of Georgian Bath, including the Circus, Royal Crescent and Prior Park. John Wood the Younger is buried beside his father.

They lie in a family grave within St Mary’s Church at Upper Swainswick and, though their limestone-legacy helped win Bath its World Heritage Status – they are historical figures almost without faces.

The Circus – more of it on view at this time of the year! Designed by one Wood and built by the other!

By the time of his death in 1754 he and his son would have been well known, easily recognised figures as they continued their grand plans to develop Bath.

But today, we only have a naïve group picture which is said to include John Wood that is held by the Bath Preservation Trust and we have no image of his son.

That is until now. A group of people – including the Mayor of Bath, Cllr Dine Romero, braved the rain and gathered at the church last night for the unveiling of the first accredited images of both father and son. The owners of the miniatures, Bernardo and Sally Blasi Foglietti , also travelled from Italy to be there.

L to R. The Mayor of Bath, Cllr Dine Romero; Mr and Mrs Bernardo and Sally Blasi Foglietti; and David Crellin from Bath History Research Group.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview the day before and a chat with David Crellin from the Bath History Research Group – one of the two people behind this amazing discovery.

PS. Meanwhile, Mary Edwards asked me to mention Saturday’s church event at St Mary’s. She writes:

“Just wondered whether you would like to advertise Saturday’s Apple Harvest at the church. If so people need to bring some apples if they have them and some containers eg an empty milk cartoon.

The main point is that children will have great fun crushing the apples and making apple juice in the old fashioned way. There will be teas and apple treats for sale at the back of the church too.”