Combe Down is the location for many listed buildings of special architectural or historic importance. In Bath as a whole there are nearly 4900 such buildings. In the village and its surrounding area they range from Ralph Allen's Prior Park through to more humble quarrymen's dwellings. Much of the village's character is derived from its range of buildings and more recent housing developments are careful not to compromise those features.
Prior Park and its gardens remain one of the most beautiful places to visit in Bath. The gardens, owned by the National Trust, are open throughout the year and attract growing numbers of visitors. In recent years the gardens have seen both archaeological and renovation work returning them to what Ralph Allen envisaged in the eighteenth century.
Combe Down has changed significantly over the last three hundred years. Although change may well occur in the future it seems certain that the village will fight to balance the needs of residents and economic necessity, with its historic past.Back to Top
The village pubs are the King William IV, the Horseshoe, the Hadley Arms and the Forester and Flower.
The King William IV on Combe Road was opened in October 1830. It was the site of the Combe Down Brewery, much of which still stands. The brewery was closed in the 1880s but the building's asymmetrical front suggests that the original building was extended when the brewery was constructed. The Horseshoe on Raby Place on North Road might date as far back as 1848. Certainly by 1875 its occupant, William Brooks, was listed as a blacksmith and a beer seller. The blacksmith's forge at the back of the pub continued to be operated until World War Two. Although it originally consisted of three bars these have been knocked through into one although it still retains the old layout. The Hadley Arms, on North Road, was built by a quarry-master, Samuel Spence and used as a place to pay his men as well as a public house. Named after the Hadley family that owned land in Combe Down in the nineteenth century it still retained its entrance to Firs Quarry until the recent mines stablisation. The Forester and Flower on Bradford Road was opened as a beerhouse around 1835 by John Rudman and was used as a meeting place for one of the two national friendly societies of the time, the Foresters. It was renamed the Forest and Flower in late 2006 when it was taken over by Mrs Louise Flower.Back to Top
Holy Trinity Church dates to the point in Combe Down's history where it was attracting greater numbers of the middle class in the 1830s. It was designed by Henry Edmund Goodridge (1797-1864), the designer of Beckford's Tower on the other side of the city. The foundation stone was laid in May 1832 and the church consecrated on 29th June 1835. It was not until 1854 that Combe Down became an independent parish. No burials took place in its churchyard, as the ground is too hard, with rock very close to the surface.
The Union Chapel on Church Road was opened in 1815. It has been extended several times over the last two centuries. Its grounds were used for burials until May 1916, up to nine bodies in one grave have been reported.
On Bradford Road lies the Bath Jewish Burial Ground. There are around 50 gravestones. The earliest date is 1842. The walled yard contains a prayer room in the corner. Although the last interment is said to have been in 1942, the latest gravestone date is 1921. It was designed to be of considerable historic importance and it was listed by English Heritage in April 2006. It has been opened to the public on selected dates during the year.Back to Top
Combe Down Primary School is in the centre of the village. The old school house still exists on the corner of Belmont Road and Church Road as a private residence. Combe Down Nursery located on Combe Road is housed in the 1930s telephone exchange.
In addition both Monkton Combe School's pre-prep department (Glenburnie) and its preparatory School are located in the village. Prior Park College, a Catholic boarding and day school for boys and girls now occupies Ralph Allen's former home. Ralph Allen School, just outside the village, takes its name from the former mine owner.Back to Top