Number Three Hetling Court has been lovingly restored and offers many hidden treasures. Enjoy exploring this historic property rising from the unusual internal Garden Room with its desecrate wall fountain up to the richly furnished drawing room in tones of burnt orange and mocha and up to the elaborate Master Bedroom suite with its silver canopy, copper bath and soft furnishings in a mix of teal and intricate silk walls and curtains, all locally handmade and upholstered. The style of the house is one of opulence, extravagance and a 21st century take on Georgian interior fashion. Every guest comfort has been considered and addressed without compromising the authenticity of the property.
This wonderful house has been well documented and a beautiful painting of Hetling House from 1929 was presented to the present owners on the acquisition of the Thermae Bath Spa in 2014. This now enjoys pride of place in the Drawing Room of No. 3 Hetling Court and a more recent painting by Bath Artist Irene Marsh of Hetling Court also lives in the magnificent Master Bedroom.
The Townhouse is located in the historic spa quarter of Bath and is listed as being of Architectural and Historic Interest Grade 2. Alongside numbers 2, 4 and 5 Hetling Court, the Townhouse is part of an imposing set of buildings comprising of the Hetling Pump Room and Abbey Church House.
These buildings have a long and fascinating history during which time they have been the St Lazarus Hospital for Lepers founded about 1139, a house for ‘poor folks’, home of the ‘Prior’ or Master of St John’s and the quarters of Sir Edward Hungerford with his troops in the Civil War in 1643.
The buildings have been constantly adapted and there is evidence of their Tudor (16th century), Stuart (17th century), and mediaeval origins before they were incorporated into the 18th century development of Georgian Bath.
The site of the Hetling Pump Room on the corner of Hetling Court was developed in 1717 by a wealthy Apothecary, Mr William Skine, and it is reported by the famous architect John Wood that bathing facilities using the natural thermal waters were provided in this building.
In the mid-18th century, there arrived the Hetlings. Ernest Hetling was a Hanoverian who belonged to the court of the Hanoverian King George. The building became a Pump Room where people gathered to drink rather than bathe in the waters.
At the western end of Hetling Court lies Abbey Church House. This Elizabethan mansion was commenced in the reign of Henry the Seventh and completed about 1570. It also formed part of the Hetling Estate and Ernest’s son, William, lived here becoming a successful wine and brandy merchant and generous patron of the Arts. Abbey Church House was renowned for its social gatherings – in fact, William and the 16-year old Eleanor Rishton made a ‘runaway’ marriage at Gretna Green but was remarried on their return in Bath Abbey.
Since then, the building has been the venue for the Society for the ‘encouragement of agriculture, arts, manufacturing and commerce’, the Residence of ‘The Pumper’, the office of the Government Yeomanry and the meeting house for both the Mormons and the Oddfellows. These various uses came to an abrupt end in the Bath Blitz during the Second World War when the ‘Baedeker’ raids badly destroyed Abbey Church House and forced the restoration of the whole of the west front.
Hetling Court is now a characterful pedestrian thoroughfare flanked on one side by St John’s which dates back to 1174. If you are seeking a little oasis in the middle of the city, you are welcome to enter its beautiful courtyard and Chapel.
The Townhouse is a wonderful base to explore Bath and from its doorstep, all the major attractions, museums, theatres and shops in this World Heritage Site are within easy walking distance.