Bath Abbey to benefit from ancient Roman plumbing

We recently wrote about the intricate history of plumbing, covering the key historical moments that shaped our modern day water and heating systems, from ancient sewer development under the Roman Empire to the introduction of copper piping amidst public health concerns following WW2.

Today, history is being resurfaced as it was announced that Bath Abbey could be linked to the city’s Roman water network to heat the vast medieval church using ancient underground springs.

The idea has been in the pipeline for a number of years and excavation work has now begun to determine whether it will be possible to bring it to fruition.

The Church of England’s plans involve harnessing the energy of Bath’s 45 degrees Celsius spring water to power a modern heating system for the building.

If given the go-ahead, engineers will unearth the ancient crypts below the church to tap into a Roman drain that empties 850,000 litres of natural spring water into the ground every day. They will then divert the warm water through a network of underground pipes to provide a world-first, natural under floor heating system for Bath Abbey.

Church leaders believe the initiative would deliver a unique source of green energy for the abbey and help the 10th century building reconnect with the city’s Roman roots.

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