Returning home and realising that an imperfect prince could not inherit the throne, he left the royal palace in disguise to take a job as a swineherd in an "untravell'd part of the country".
This was certainly the Avon Valley, and may well have been the area we know today as Keynsham - remembering that this was more than 1,000 years before the Romans built villas in Keynsham and a full 1,500 years before the Saxons came to Bath.
As Bladud drove his pigs in search of acorns he crossed the River Avon at shallows north of Saltford - at a place which subsequently took its name from the legend - Swineford.
The rest of the story is famous. Bladud's pigs also contracted his disease but were cured when they rolled in the hot mud around Bath's springs.
Observing the miracle, Bladud also bathed in the hot murky water
and he too was cured.
Coins like the ones above (click coins to see larger image) are in the archives of the Roman Baths – they are farthing-size. There is also an interesting display of Bladud images in a side room of the Pump Room.
There is a life-size stone statue of King Bladud - see picture on right - in storage in the Council's care. It is finally to be placed on public display again - in Parade Gardens. And next to it, one of our pigs, carved out of Bath Stone! This is due to happen in Open Heritage Week, at Half Term at the end of October 2009.
Update: We did it! King Bladud's now in
Parade Gardens -
A wonderful book by Moyra Caldecott – The Winged Man – early in 2008. It's a fictional account of what Bladud's life might have been like, based on thorough research of those times and other works. It has this well-known face from the Roman Baths on the cover – which many people believe also pictures Bladud.
Many places in Bath are named after Bladud – there's for example Bladud Buildings, just off Broad Street, and the Bladud's Head, a pub in Larkhall.
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