Abbey Gate
Savile`s map c.1600 shows the area south of the baths complex, with the outflow from the main hot spring running,through the priory wall on to the River Avon
Cleeve Abbey Gateway
The Old Abbey Gate.
The Duke of Kingstons Estate Map for 1750 shows rooms above the old Abbey Gate. Before it was pulled down Tobias Suger held the east part, 24, and Thomas Browne the west, 25, each paying 6d. yearly. The gate was opposite Evans Fish Restaurant, by Marks and Spencer's. The rental of 1733 reports, "the house now pulled down". Someone then incorrectly wrote "12" on the site in the Kingston Estate map.
1- The Talbot, 2 - The Abbey Gateway, 3 - The Raven
The Talbot was renamed the Painter`s Arms in the early 1840`s and was demolished (see painting below) in 1851.
Abbeygate Street was originally known as Lear Lane. Around 1777, it was renamed Abbey Lane, and received its present name in the nineteenth century. Lear was an Old English word meaning empty or barren, which suggests that the land was unproductive, The side entrance to Marks & Spencer's stands where St James's Street South once branched off Abbeygate Street. St James's Street South ran through to New Orchard Street and Philip Street, and consisted of 26 large houses, mostly built in the 1740s.
On the western corner of Abbeygate Street and St James's Street South stood the Talbot, which may have dated from 1620, when Sir Giles Mompesson issued a licence for an inn of that name It was a timber-framed building which Major Davis believed was built by the Abbey around 1500.
In 1762, James Atwood, a brassmaker, whose workshop was next door, leased the Talbot from the Corporation. In 1763 he advertised for
a tenant:
To he lett, a very good-accustomed house known by the sign of the Talbot in St James Street, Bath, with the stock of beer, consisting of between 10 and 40 hogsheads, all entire sound and good, together with the horses, vessels and brewing utensils; also the boxes and tables, copper sign and sign iron; with some other fixtures.
In 1796, it was advertised for sale as "that desirable public house, the Talbot, comprising two commodious dwelling houses in St James's Street and Abbey Lane, now in full business and in the occupation of William Tucker."
The Talbot seems to have had close links with the Raven a few yards away in Abbey Green. In 1806, for example, Arthur Cook, the landlord of the Talbot, moved to the Raven. Twenty-six years earlier, in 1780, Thomas Bell had also moved from the Talbot to the Raven, but he caused what must have been no end of confusion by renaming it - temporarily - the Talbot & Raven.
The Talbot was renamed the Painter's Arms in the early 1840s. It survived until 1851, when William Titley took the lease, together with that of "the house in the rear," a "salt house at 8 Abbeygate Street," and an adjoining salt refinery, "on the understanding that the old buildings are to be forthwith taken down and rebuilt."
On the north side of AVjbeygate Street was a " messuage or tenement called or known by the name of the Nag's Head," which closed around 1780.
There was also a Chequers in Abbeygate Street, which closed around 1782.
Before the redevelopment of the area in the 1740s, the Abbey gateway straddled Lear Lane just beyond its junction with St James's Street South. After the dissolution of the Abbey, John Hall of Bradford-on-Avon acquired part of the land inside the gate. In 1620, he granted a building lease to Edward Byam. In 1631 or 1632, Byam increased the size of his plot, and built Nos 5 & 6 Abbey Green {now 5 Abbey Green and 7-8 Abbeygate Street, the former NSJ Levi Store and Evans' Fish Restaurant). The south wall of the building incorporated an old boundary wall which can still be seen in the alley beside Marks & Spencer's. This was the Raven, which may have been a pub from the start, although the first reference to it comes no earlier than 1759. In July 1778, it was advertised for sale as an "inn or public house called the Raven ... with convenient stables [and] a remarkably healthy cellar room, sufficient to contain one hundred butts of beer." The Raven also claimed to have the best private clubroom in Bath; among the clubs that met there were a friendly society and a catch club.
Although a raven appears in several coats of arms, it is believed that the sign of a raven in the eighteenth century indicated Jacobite sympathies. In the late eighteenth century, the Raven had a variety of names, including the Druids' Head and the Bladud's Head. In 1812, the Sussex Masonic Lodge started holding their meetings at what was then known as the Bladud's Head, prompting the landlord, John Purnell, to change its name once again, to the Freemasons' Arms.
In 1832, Charles Gear took over the Freemasons' Arms and embarked on a full-scale refurbishment, including the installation of the large round-headed windows on the first floor. He renamed it the Freemasons' Tavern and announced its relaunch in the Bath Chronicle on 1 5 March 1832:
Charles Gear respectfully informs his friends and the public that he has, at considerable expense, fitted up the above house with a view to the comfort and accommodation of those who favour him with their company, and he intends to supply a good article on reasonable terms. Steaks, chops, etc. at the shortest notice ... Old wines and spirits, London and Bath papers daily.
Five months later, however, another advertisement appeared in the Chronicle announcing an auction of the tavern's contents. The following March, Mr Gear received a letter;
Take notice that I have this day, by virtue of the warrant from Mr Orchard vr. landlord taken and distrained the several goods and chattels mentioned in the inventory hcreunder written and impounded them in the premises for the sum of £30 arrears of rent of the house you rent of him situate in the Abbey Green in the City of Bath and known by ihe name of the Freemasons' Tavern: Kitchen: fender &. irons, 4 saucepans, pot, kettle, plate rack, frying pan, gridiron, 3 chairs, candlesticks, warming pan, 2 dish covers, lot of ware; Garret No 1: Bedstead, bed & bedding;
Garret No 2: 2 bedsteads, 1 bed & bolster, 2 blankets & quilts; Attic no 1: Field bedstead, bed & bolster, bedding, basin, stand & ewer; Attic No 2: 4 best bedsteads of furniture, feather bed ik bolster, lot of bedding, basin & stand, basin & ewer table, chest of drawers, 6 carpets; Drawing Room: Bagatelle board & balls, 6 cables, k chairs, 7 stools, lamp, 3 blinds, sundries; Parlour: 4 tables, 2 blinds;
Bar: 6 spirit cocks, beer engine, 35 beer measures, 2 sets spirit ditto, 40 various glasses, 6 bottles, tcaware, 6 stools, counter, 2 tables, glass, fender, irons, 9 beer cans, sundry fixtures; lap Room: 4 tables, 2 stools, fender; Cellar & stable: 7 casks, beer pulley, pony & harness.

After Mr Gear left, the Freemasons' Tavern went downhill fast. By 1851 it was one of seven pubs in Bath which the police wanted closed, on the grounds that the "keepers of these houses, after repeated cautions, had some of them kept open
their houses on Sunday mornings, and others allowed prostitutes and other bad characters to resort to them." Despite this, it soldiered on till 1911. The 1903 report on its facilities, however, suggests that they left a lot to be desired. There was a urinal in the corner of the yard, without a flush, which was described, with a degree of understatement, as "unsatisfactory."
In 1912 the Freemasons' Tavern was advertised for sale at "a public house, now unlicensed at 6 Abbey Green, a messuage, tenement and stable used as a brewery, and a yard." It was bought by Arthur Evans and turned into a hostel for girls of slender means and a temperance restaurant called the Abbeygate Tavern. The part of the building fronting Abbeygate Street later became Evans' Fish Restaurant; in July 2005, Black's camping and outdoor store moved into the building. The archway leading into Abbey Green from Abbeygate Street,
incidentally, which reinforces the impression that the former Freemasons' Tavern is two separate buildings, only dates from 1973.
In 1789: Thomas Farmer opened the London Inn & Tavern on Abbey Green. Three years later, in November 1792, it was taken over by John Thomas, before disappearing from the records. There is no clue as to its exact location, although it may have reopened around 1851 as the Crystal Palace.
Lilliput Alley, leading off Abbey Green, was originally known as Segar's Alley, then as Evelyn Street, anct there was once an attempt to call it Abbey Green Street. Today it is officially called North Parade Passage, although, not surprisingly, most people prefer to call it Lilliput Alley. The history of the range of buildings on its northern side is no less complicated. For a start, the level of the pavement is much higher than it was originally - so much so, in fact, that what is now the ground floor of the houses on the north side was once the first floor. What is more, they were once the other way round - or,to be more precise, their back entrances were once their front entrances. It is hard to imagine, picking our way down the grubby alley at the side of the Huntsman, that this was once the front way into Sally Lunn's and the buildings either side, but one look at the architectural embellishments and ashlar blocks on this side (in contrast to the rubble stone on the other) should convince us. And, if more evidence is needed, it is provided by early maps, which show these buildings looking out across a bowling green to the Orange Grove.

Token for Free Masons Tavern at 6 Abbey Green