Bridekirk - Bridgwater

Pages 362-369

A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section

Bridekirk (St. Bridget)

BRIDEKIRK (St. Bridget), a parish, in the union of Cockermouth, Allerdale ward below Derwent, W. division of Cumberland; comprising the townships of Bridekirk, Great and Little Broughton, Dovenby, Papcastle, Ribton, and Tallentire; and containing 2112 inhabitants, of whom 121 are in the township of Bridekirk, 2 miles (N. by W.) from Cockermouth. This parish, which takes its name from its patron saint, contains some quarries of limestone and white freestone, and extends about five miles along the northern bank of the river Derwent, near which the land is fertile; a wet soil, incumbent on clay or limestone, prevails on its northern side. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £10. 13. 4., and in the patronage of Mrs. Dykes; net income, £137; impropriators, Mrs. Dykes, the Earl of Lonsdale, William Brown and J. S. Fisher, Esqrs., and Captain Senhouse. The church is an ancient edifice, principally in the Norman style, but modernised a few years since, by the erection of a new tower, and the enlargement of several windows: it contains a singular font, which, according to Camden, was brought from the Roman station at Papcastle, exhibiting, in rude relief, various designs symbolical of the serpent and the forbidden fruit, the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, the baptism of Christ, &c., likewise a Runic inscription. Sir Joseph Williamson, secretary of state in the reign of Charles II.; and Thomas Tickell, the poet and essayist, born in 1686, were natives of this place, each during the incumbency of his father.

Bride (St.) Wentlloog

BRIDE (ST.) WENTLLOOG, a parish, in the union and division of Newport, Upper division of the hundred of Wentlloog, county of Monmouth, 5¼ miles (S.) from Newport; containing 247 inhabitants. It comprises by computation 1300 acres, chiefly rich moorland, and generally level; the river Usk is to the east, and the Bristol Channel to the south. The living is a vicarage, with the living of Coedkernew united, valued in the king's books at £4. 18. 1½.; patron, the Bishop of Llandaff. The tithes have been commuted for £62. 4. payable to the bishop, and £41. 19. to the incumbent; the glebe consists of one acre.

Bride's (St.) Netherwent

BRIDE'S (ST.) NETHERWENT, a parish, in the union of Chepstow, hundred of Caldicot, county of Monmouth, 8 miles (E. by N.) from Newport; containing 179 inhabitants, of whom 128 are in the township of St. Bride's. This parish, with the hamlet of Llandevenny, comprises by admeasurement about 1000 acres; the soil of Llandevenny is principally pasture. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £6. 16. 3., and in the patronage of the family of Perry: the tithes have been commuted for £148, and the glebe consists of 52 acres. The church is an ancient structure.

Brideford (St. Thomas à Becket)

BRIDEFORD (ST. Thomas à Becket), a parish, in the union of St. Thomas, hundred of Wonford, Crockernwell and S. divisions of Devon, 4 miles (E. by N.) from Moreton-Hampstead; containing 560 inhabitants. The rectory-house of Brideford was occupied by a detachment of parliamentarian forces, previously to their encounter with the royalists at BoveyHeathfield, in the vicinity. The parish is bounded on the north and east by the river Teign, and intersected in the northern part by the main road from Exeter to Moreton; the number of acres is 4100, by computation. The soil is various, though generally fertile, and the substratum is interspersed with mineral produce: some shafts have been sunk for lead and for manganese, with every reasonable prospect of success; and there are quarries of good granite, which is wrought for various purposes. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £13. 15., and in the patronage of Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk, Bart.: the tithes have been commuted for £375, and the glebe consists of 238 acres, with a house. The church, a handsome edifice in the decorated and later English styles, was greatly enlarged and embellished in the reign of Henry VIII., and has an elegant rood-loft, a fine screen, and a richly carved pulpit; the chancel is of much earlier date. In the granite rocks, to the north-west of the parish, are some singular caverns; and various celts and ancient coins have been found.

Bridestowe (St. Bridget)

BRIDESTOWE (St. Bridget), a parish, in the union of Oakhampton, hundred of Lifton, Lifton and S. divisions of Devon, 6½ miles (S. W.) from Oakhampton; containing 1128 inhabitants. It comprises 3682 acres, of which 2337 are meadow and pasture, 1049 common and moor, and 296 woodland; the soil is on a clay bottom, and the surface hilly, and intersected with some fruitful valleys: the tract of common was originally part of Dartmoor. The village is pleasantly situated on the road to Falmouth, and the surrounding scenery is enlivened by several seats. Fairs for cattle take place on the first Wednesday in June, and July 29th. The living is a rectory, with the living of Sourton annexed, valued in the king's books at £32. 17. 11.; net income, £424; patron, the Bishop of Exeter: the glebe consists of 60 acres, with a corps land annexed comprising several estates, part of which has been disposed of to redeem the land-tax. The church exhibits some Norman details, and is approached by a stately avenue of lime-trees; the tower was rebuilt in 1830, at an expense of £590, and is a handsome embattled structure. On the recent destruction of a very old church which had been converted into a poor-house, a perfect Roman arch was rescued from the ruins, and placed at the entrance of the churchyard. In ploughing a field at Millaton, in the parish, a sepulchral urn of stone, with a human skull, and some silver coins of Richard II., were discovered.

Bridge (St. Peter)

BRIDGE (St. Peter), a parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Bridge and Petham, lathe of St. Augustine, E. division of Kent, 3 miles (S. E. by S.) from Canterbury; containing 817 inhabitants. It comprises 1161 acres, of which 204 are in wood; the surface is varied, and the soil in some parts chalk, alternated with a rich and fertile loam. The village is situated on the road to Dovor, at the base of two considerable hills; and, from the salubrity of the air, has much increased within the last few years, and become the residence of many respectable families. The river Stour passes through the parish. The living is a vicarage, annexed to that of Patrixbourne: the church is principally in the Norman style, with a spire. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans. The poor law union of Bridge comprises 22 parishes or places, and contains a population of 10,981; the workhouse is a plain brick building.


BRIDGE-END, a hamlet, in the parish of Horbling, union of Bourne, wapentake of Aveland, parts of Kesteven, county of Lincoln, 3¾ miles (W.) from Donington; containing 46 inhabitants. It lies on the road from Donington to Grantham, and about a mile and a half north-east of the village of Horbling.

Bridgeford, Great and Little

BRIDGEFORD, GREAT and LITTLE, hamlets, in the parish of Seighford, S. division of the hundred of Pirehill, union, and N. division of the county, of Stafford, about 3½ miles (N. W.) from Stafford; the one containing 83, and the other 154, inhabitants. These hamlets are seated on opposite banks of the river Sow, by which they are separated; and the road from Stafford to Eccleshall passes through both. The village of Seighford is distant, southward, about a mile. The land is fertile, and highly cultivated, like the other portions of the parish.

Bridgeham (St. Mary)

BRIDGEHAM (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Guiltcross, hundred of Shropham, W. division of Norfolk, 2 miles (W. by S.) from East Harling; containing 328 inhabitants. It comprises 2702a. 28p., of which 1248 acres are arable, 426 meadow, 846 heath and furze, 75 sheep-walk, and 35 plantation. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £11. 1. 0½., and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes have been commuted for £371, and the glebe comprises a little more than 15 acres. The church is chiefly in the decorated style, and consists of a nave and chancel, separated by a carved screen; the font is large, and curiously sculptured. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.


BRIDGE-HILL, an ecclesiastical district, in the townships of Duffield and Belper, parish and union of Duffield, hundred of Appletree, S. division of the county of Derby. It embraces all that part of the town of Belper which lies west of the Midland railway; and is about two miles in length, and a mile and a half in its greatest breadth. A part of the district is very steep, hilly, and rugged; the lands are watered by the fine stream of the Derwent, and the road from Derby to Matlock passes through. The cotton and nail manufactures are carried on by a portion of the population. The district was formed in August 1845, under the act 6th and 7th of Victoria, cap. 37; and until the proposed erection of a church, divine service is performed in a licensed room belonging to an inn: the estimated cost of the church is £2000. Within the district are places of worship for Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists, Methodists of the New Connexion, and Plymouth Brethren. A stone, having the arms of John of Gaunt, is still preserved in the gable of a house on Mount Pleasant.


BRIDGEMERE, a township, in the parish of Wybunbury, union and hundred of Nantwich, S. division of the county of Chester, 7 miles (S. E.) from Nantwich; containing 219 inhabitants. It comprises 1075a. 1r. 11p. The impropriate tithes have been commuted for £105, and the vicarial for £15.


BRIDGEND, a hamlet, in the parish of Bexley, union of Dartford, hundred of Lessness, lathe of Sutton-At-Hone, W. division of Kent; containing 138 inhabitants.


BRIDGE-RULE, a parish, in the union of Holsworthy, partly in the hundred of Black Torrington, Holsworthy and N. divisions of Devon, and partly in the hundred of Stratton, E. division of Cornwall, 4 miles (W.) from Holsworthy; containing 497 inhabitants, of whom 276 are in the western or Cornwall portion. This parish, which comprises by computation 3600 acres, and is situated on the Tamar, derives its name from a bridge over that river, and from Ruald or Reginald, lord of the manor soon after the Conquest. The part in Cornwall is intersected by the Bude canal, cut chiefly for the conveyance of sand to Launceston, the road from which place to Stratton also passes through the parish. The soil is various, about one-half being good arable and pasture land, and the remainder moor and marsh; the substratum is chiefly clay, with a deep mould above, where the soil is good: the surface, in general, is hilly. Stone is quarried for road-making and building purposes. A fair is held on the 21st of June. The living is a discharged vicarage, endowed with a portion of the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £14; net income, £150; patron, the Rev. T. H. Kingdon; impropriators of the remainder of the great tithes, the Landowners. The land appertaining to the vicarage consists of about 160 acres, and an excellent glebe-house has been built. The church, which stands in Devonshire, has a tower cased with granite. There are places of worship for Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists.

Bridge-Sollers (St. Andrew)

BRIDGE-SOLLERS (St. Andrew), a parish, in the union of Weobley, hundred of Grimsworth, county of Hereford, 6½ miles (W. N. W.) from Hereford; containing 65 inhabitants. It comprises 725a. 9p., of which 360 acres are pasture, 355 arable, and 10 woodland. The parish is intersected by the river Wye, and partly bounded on the west by a portion of Offa's Dyke, which here abuts upon the left bank of that stream; it is crossed from east to west by the road from Hereford to Kington. The living is a discharged vicarage, endowed with a portion of the rectorial tithes, and valued in the king's books at £8. 10.: the whole tithes have been commuted for £178. 4., of which £45 belong to Sir J.G. Cotterell, Bart., the patron, £23 to the Dean and Chapter of Hereford, and £110.4. to the incumbent, who has also an acre of glebe.


BRIDGETOWN, a township, in the parish of Berry-Pomeroy, union of Totnes, hundred of Haytor, S. division of Devon; containing 644 inhabitants.

Bridgford, East (St. Mary)

BRIDGFORD, EAST (St. Mary), a parish, in the union of Bingham, N. division of the wapentake of Bingham, S. division of the county of Nottingham, 3 miles (N. by W.) from Bingham; containing 1110 inhabitants. Here, says Horsley, was the Margidunum of the Romans, numerous relies of whom have been discovered in the vicinity, particularly gold, silver, and brass coins of various emperors. Stukeley describes the place as lying within a mile of the station Ad Pontem: he adds, that "the Romans had a bridge across the Trent, with great buildings, cellars, and a quay for vessels to unload at;" and near a place called the OldWark Spring, have been found, according to the same authority, "Roman foundations of walls, and floors of houses, composed of stones set edgeways into clay, and liquid mortar run upon them." The parish comprises by computation 1777 acres, and is bounded on the north by the Trent, and on the south by the Fosse road, leading from Newark to the Nottingham and Grantham road: the soil is loamy, with some good tillage and pasture land; and the surface hilly towards the north. The river affords facilities for the conveyance of coal, grain, and other articles; and the manufacture of cotton stockings and lace is carried on to a moderate extent. In the 35th of Edward III., a market was granted to be held on Tuesdays, and two fairs yearly; but no record exists of their having been held. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £19. 8. 6½.; net income, £752; patrons, the President and Fellows of Magdalene College, Oxford. Under an inclosure act, in 1798, 284 acres of land were assigned in lieu of tithes; there are 40 acres of old glebe, and an excellent residence. The church was rebuilt about sixty years since, but considerably reduced from its former dimensions; it had previously much glass, also, embellished with the arms of lords of the manor. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.

Bridgford, West (St. Giles)

BRIDGFORD, WEST (St. Giles), a parish, in the union of Basford, partly in the S. division of the wapentake of Bingham, but chiefly in the N. division of the wapentake of Rushcliffe, S. division of the county of Nottingham, 2 miles (S. S. E.) from Nottingham; containing 332 inhabitants. This parish, which is bounded on the north by the river Trent, and intersected by the Grantham canal, comprises 1078a. 1r. 15p. The soil is gravelly, with the exception of the rich meadow and grazing land on the banks of the Trent and towards the hills, where it is strong and clayey; the surface rises gradually from the northern extremity of the parish to Edwalton, which bounds it on the south. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £16. 14. 2., and in the patronage of John Musters, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £437. 10., and the glebe comprises nearly 34 acres, with a good house. The church is an ancient edifice, affording accommodation to 300 persons. At each of the hamlets of Basingfield and Gampston is a place called Chapel Yard, the supposed site of a chapel. The Rev. William Thompson, late rector, endowed a school with £20 per annum.


BRIDGHAMPTON, a tything, in the parish of Yeovilton, union of Yeovil, hundred of Somerton, W. division of Somerset, 2½ miles (E. N. E.) from Ilchester; containing 87 inhabitants.


BRIDGNORTH, a borough and a market-town having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of Stottesden, S. division of Salop, 20½ miles (S. E.) from Shrewsbury, and 140 (N.W.) from London; containing in the municipal borough 6198 inhabitants. This place, anciently called Brugia, Brug, and (including Little Brug) Bruges, derives its name from a bridge over the river Severn at Quatford, built by the Saxons, and which, after many sanguinary conflicts with the Danes, was finally destroyed, to prevent the future incursions of these marauders. Upon the erection of a new bridge, about a mile and a half to the north of the former, it obtained the appellation of Brug North, whence the present name of the town is deduced. Bridgnorth is supposed to have been founded by Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great: it was afterwards enlarged by Robert de Belesme, Earl of Shrewsbury, who erected, or probably rebuilt, the castle, and fortified the town with walls and six strong gates, some portions of which are still remaining. On the earl's rebellion against his sovereign, Henry I., in 1102, the town and castle were besieged, and, after an obstinate defence, were surrendered to the victorious monarch, who gave them to Hugh de Mortimer. This grant was confirmed by Stephen; but it appears to have been little more than nominal, since "Præpositi," or provosts, were appointed to collect the revenue for the crown. Mortimer having risen in rebellion against Henry II., that monarch laid siege to the castle, which he nearly demolished, and in this state it lay until the reign of John; he afterwards confirmed to the inhabitants all the privileges and franchises which they had enjoyed under Henry I. In 1216, King John passed a day in the town, on his march to Worcester, where he was soon afterwards interred; in 1263, the place was taken by Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester.


During the civil war in the reign of Charles I., Bridgnorth, being a royal garrison, was in 1646 attacked by the parliamentarians, who gained an entrance through the churchyard, and, the royalists retiring into the castle, set fire to the town, which was nearly consumed. The parliamentarians having made the church of St. Leonard their magazine, the royalists planted cannon on the round tower of the castle, and set fire to the church; the flames spread to an adjoining college, and entirely destroyed it. The castle was now closely invested, but being strongly fortified both by nature and art, it sustained a siege of three weeks without receiving any material injury. The besiegers, despairing of success, had begun to undermine the rock on which it was built, when the garrison, having exhausted all their ammunition, capitulated on honourable terms, and retired to Worcester.

The town is most romantically situated on the banks of the river Severn, which divides it into two parts, called Upper and Lower. The Upper Town is built on the summit and steep acclivities of a rock rising abruptly to the height of 180 feet from the western bank of the river, and presents an appearance singularly picturesque. Crowning the summit of the rock, at the southern extremity, are the small ruins of the square tower of the castle, declining considerably from the perpendicular line, and the modern church of St. Mary Magdalene; while at the northern extremity is the venerable church of St. Leonard, with its lofty square embattled tower, crowned with pinnacles. Upon the castle-hill walk, and forming a conspicuous object, is the reservoir, a capacious flat square tank, supported on lofty pillars of brick, assuming at a distance the appearance of a handsome portico. On the side of the rock rising from the river are several successive tiers of detached houses, intermixed with caverns and rude dwellings, and interspersed with gardens, shrubberies, and lofty trees. The walk round the castle-hill is defended by a palisade of iron, and commands a most extensive view of the surrounding country, which abounds with picturesque scenery, being richly diversified by cultivated fields, well-watered meadows, wood-crowned eminences, and barren rocks. Two streets, containing well-built houses, lead from St. Mary's church into the High-street, and there are others of a similar character. Over the river is a stone bridge of six arches, leading into the Lower Town, the streets in which contain some modern and several ancient houses; among the latter is Cann Hall, a very antique structure in the Elizabethan style, where Prince Rupert resided in 1642, when he addressed a letter to the jury empanelled for the choice of town officers, entreating them "to select such men for their bailiffs as were well affected to his Majesty's service." The town is partially paved, and the inhabitants are supplied with soft water from the river, and with spring water from Oldbury, at the western extremity of Bridgnorth. The public library in St. Leonard's churchyard, a handsome octagonal brick building lighted by a dome, was founded by the Rev. Hugh Stackhouse, to whose memory a marble tablet has been erected over the fireplace: it was extended, by subscription, from a theological to a general library, and contained more than 4000 volumes; but is now chiefly restricted to theological works; and a new general library has been recently erected on the castle-hill. A theatre, a neat and commodious edifice of stone, was erected in 1824, on part of the site of the ancient moat of the castle, accidentally discovered; it has been since sold, and converted into shops. Races are held in July, on a race-course about a mile from the town.

The trade principally arises from the navigation of the river, which affords every facility for the conveyance of goods; but it has declined in consequence of the more certain transit by canals: some vessels are built; and a great quantity of malt of very superior quality, and of grain, is sent to various parts of the country. The iron-trade has greatly declined; but there is a foundry where a good deal of casting is done, and nails are made to a small extent: two carpet-manufactories were established about 1810, and increased at subsequent periods; and there is a considerable manufactory for tobacco-pipes. The market, held on Saturday, is abundantly supplied with wheat, barley, and beans, to the growth of which the land in the neighbourhood is particularly favourable. The fairs are on the third Tuesday in February; third Tuesday in March, for horned-cattle and sheep; May 1st, a pleasure and statute fair; third Tuesday in June, for wool and cattle; first Tuesday in August, for lamb's-wool and cattle; third Tuesday in September, for cattle, sheep, and cheese; October 29th, a large fair for salt butter, cheese, hops, and nuts; and on the first Tuesday after the Shrewsbury December fair, which is a great fair for cattle and general merchandise.

Seal now disused.
Present Seal.

The town is a borough by prescription: the first charter respecting which there is any certainty was granted by King John, in the 16th of his reign, (1215) and subsequent charters were bestowed by Henry III and VI. By the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., 1835 cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors; the mayor is a justice of the peace, and there are thirteen other magistrates, appointed by a separate commission. A court of record, for the recovery of debts to any amount, was formerly held, but is now disused; general sessions of the peace are holden quarterly before the recorder, and petty-sessions by the mayor and borough justices once a fortnight. The powers of the county debt-court of Bridgnorth, established in 1847, extend over the registrationdistrict of Bridgnorth. The municipal limits of the borough comprehend the parishes of St. Mary, St. Leonard, part of Quatford, and the liberty of Quatt-Jarvis; and comprise 3006 acres of pasture and meadow land, 70 of arable, and 5 of wood. The borough received the elective franchise in the 23rd of Edward I., 1295 and from that time has continued to return two members to parliament: the right of election was formerly vested in all the burgesses, whether resident or not; but is now, by the act of the 2nd of William IV., 1832 cap. 45, confined to the resident burgesses within seven miles, and extended to the £10 householders. The mayor is returning officer. The borough for parliamentary purposes embraces 10,731 acres, of which 5137 are arable, 5539 meadow and pasture, and 55 wood. The town-hall, erected about the year 1646, is a spacious building of timber framework and plaster, supported on pillars and arches of brick forming a covered area for the use of the market: above, is a large room where the public business of the corporation is transacted, besides a smaller apartment in which meetings of the council are held.

Bridgnorth town comprises the parishes of St. Mary Magdalene and St. Leonard, containing, respectively, 2773 and 2997 inhabitants; and gives name to a royal peculiar, of which the late Thomas Whitmore, Esq., was lay dean. The living of St. Mary Magdalene's is a perpetual curacy; net income, £258; patron, the Representative of the late Mr. Whitmore. The church, formerly the chapel belonging to the castle, and exempted by King John from all ecclesiastical jurisdiction, was made parochial in the 4th of Edward III., 1330 and rebuilt of freestone, in 1792, at the cost of about £8000; it is a handsome edifice in the Grecian style, with a lofty tower surmounted by a cupola. The interior is supported by a line of plain stone pillars of the Ionic order, and of large dimensions, extending from the entrance along each side of the body of the church. The living of St. Leonard's is also a perpetual curacy; net income, £288; patron, the Representative of Mr. Whitmore. The church, once collegiate, was erected in 1448, on the site of a structure raised in the reign of Richard I.; and was originally a magnificent edifice, comprising seven different chapels, the arches leading into which from the present nave, and now walled up, are still discernible. It suffered greatly while in the possession of the parliamentarians, during the civil war, and was consequently rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, in 1646. In each of the parishes is a parsonage-house, purchased partly from Queen Anne's Bounty, and partly by the impropriator; and about 20 acres of excellent land are attached to the livings, being a devise of Francis Wheeler in 1682: the rent, with some deductions leaving about £90 per annum, is divided between the incumbents. There are places of worship for Baptists, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, and Irvingites. The free grammar school was established in 1503, and has three exhibitions to Christ-Church College, Oxford, founded by Mr. Careswell in 1689; the property, which is chiefly in land near the town, produces an annual income of about £80. The Blue-coat charity-school, kept in an old castellated brick building, over one of the ancient gates, was instituted in 1720, and is supported partly by a small endowment arising from benefactions vested in the funds; the entire income is about £100 a year. There is also a national school, maintained by subscription. The hospital in St. Leonard's churchyard, for ten aged widows, was founded in 1687, by the Rev. Francis Palmer, rector of Sandby, in Bedfordshire; the income is about £120. The almshouses in Church-lane, endowed with estates producing £130 per annum, under the direction of the trustees of charities within the borough, are for twelve widows or single daughters of burgesses. The poor law union of Bridgnorth comprises 29 parishes or places, and contains a population of 16,118.

At the southern extremity of the High-street is part of an arch which formed the entrance to the castle ward; also some portions of the walls, which inclosed an area of fourteen acres. At the northern extremity of the town, on the west bank of the river, are the remains of a convent of Grey friars, which have been converted into a malt-house: the great hall, or refectory, is still nearly in its pristine state; and the panelled oak ceiling, the stone fireplace, and many of the windows, though the lights are stopped with plaster, are in entire preservation. About a quarter of a mile south of the Lower Town was an hospital for lazars, converted in the reign of Edward IV. into a priory, and now a private mansion. In making the shrubberies to the north of the house, in 1823, thirty-seven bodies were discovered lying in rows, within eighteen inches from the surface, having evidently been buried in winding sheets and without coffins; they were in good preservation, the teeth still retaining their enamel. Some slight vestiges of the church may be traced in the walls of the outbuildings. There are also remains of several fortifications in the neighbourhood, it having been the scene of frequent battles between the Saxons and the Danes. About a mile south of the town, on the eastern bank of the river, is a large mount, with a trench on all sides except the west, on which it is defended by a rocky precipice overhanging the Severn; Robert de Montgomery had here a strongly-fortified palace. Half a mile eastward lay the forest of Morfe, which, in Leland's time, was a "hilly ground, well wooded; a forest, or chace, having deer," and for which a forester and steward were appointed from the time of Edward I. to that of Elizabeth. The brother of King Athelstan is stated to have passed the life of a hermit here; and a cave in a rock, still called the Hermitage, is supposed to have been his solitary abode. On a portion of the tract are five tumuli in quincunx, under some of which the remains of human skeletons have been discovered. The sylvan features of the forest long since disappeared, and the whole, comprising between 5000 and 6000 acres, was inclosed in 1815. Dr. Thomas Percy, Bishop of Dromore in Ireland, and compiler of Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, was a native of Bridgnorth; and the house in which he is said to have been born, in 1728, is still remaining.

Bridgwater (St. Mary)

BRIDGWATER (St. Mary), a port, borough, market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, locally in the hundred of North Petherton, W. division of Somerset, 35 miles (S. W.) from Bristol, and 137 (W. by S.) from London; containing 10,449 inhabitants. This place was given to Walter de Douay, one of William's followers, at the time of the Conquest, and was thence called "Burgh Walter" and "Brugge Walter," by which names, both signifying Walter's burgh or borough, it is designated in various ancient records. William de Briwere, to whom it was granted in the reign of Henry II., built a castle in the following reign, combining the strength of a fortress with the splendour of a baronial residence; and obtained from King John the grant of a market and a fair. He founded the hospital of St. John, for a master, brethren, and thirteen poor persons of the order of St. Augustine, whose revenue at the Dissolution was £120. 19. 1¼.; he also constructed the haven, and began to erect a stone bridge of three arches over the river Parret, which was completed by Sir Thomas Trivet in the reign of Edward I. His son William founded a monastery for Grey friars, about 1230, and dedicated it to St. Francis. The barons, during their revolt against Henry III., took possession of the town in 1260.


In the civil war of the 17th century, the inhabitants embraced the royal cause; and the castle being strongly fortified, the people of the surrounding district deposited therein their money, plate, &c. The parliamentarians under Fairfax invested the town, and laid close siege to the castle: both were resolutely defended; but the town being fired on both sides of the bridge, the garrison capitulated on terms of personal indemnity, and surrendered the fortress, with all the treasure in it, and 1000 prisoners, into the hands of the enemy. The castle, having sustained considerable damage during the siege, was demolished in 1645, and the sally-port and some detached portions of the walls are all that now remain. In the reign of James II. the inhabitants favoured the pretensions of the Duke of Monmouth, who, on his arrival from Taunton, was received with great ceremony by the corporation, and proclaimed king. He remained for some time in the town; and having, from the tower of the church, reconnoitred the royal army encamped on Sedgemoor, he rashly resolved to hazard the battle that terminated so fatally to his ambition. His adherents in the town suffered greatly for their attachment to his cause, under the legal severity of Jeffreys, and the military executions of Kirke.

The town is pleasantly situated in a well-wooded and nearly level part of the county, the view being bounded on the north-east by the Mendip hills, and on the west by the Quantock hills: the river Parret divides it into two parts, connected by a handsome iron bridge of one arch. The streets are spacious and well paved, and the town is lighted with gas, under an act obtained in 1834: the houses, chiefly of brick, are uniform and well built; and there is an ample supply of excellent water from springs. The western part is particularly clean. In the eastern part, termed Eastover, very great improvement has been effected. There is a foreign trade, consisting in the importation of wine, hemp, tallow, and timber; but the trade of the port is principally coastwise. Coal is brought free of duty from Monmouthshire and Wales, and is conveyed into the interior of the country by a canal to Taunton, Tiverton, Ilminster, and Chard, and by the river to Langport and Ilchester: in 1837, an act was obtained to enable the company of proprietors to continue the line of the canal below the town. That portion of the Bristol and Exeter railway, extending from Bristol to Bridgwater, was opened June 14th, 1841; and the remaining portion of the line, between Bridgwater and Exeter, was completed in May, 1844. In 1845 an act was passed for improving the navigation of the river, extending the quays, and making a short railway between the quays and the Bristol and Exeter railway; and another act, passed in 1846, authorises a railway from Bridgwater to Stoford, on the coast, where a harbour has been projected. The quay is accessible to ships of 200 tons' burthen, and furnished with every appendage requisite for the convenience of commerce. A principal source of employment is the making of bricks for general use, and scouring-bricks; the latter composed of a mixture of clay and sand deposited by the river: they are usually called Bath or Flanders' brick, and this is the only place in the kingdom where they are made. The market-days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; Thursday's market is for cheese, corn, and cattle, and is much frequented. The markethouse, lately erected, is a handsome building, surmounted with a dome and lantern, and having a semicircular portico of the Ionic order. The fairs are on the first Monday in Lent, July 24th, October 2nd (which continues for three days), and December 27th.

The first charter of incorporation was bestowed in the reign of John, and others were subsequently granted by Edward II. and III., Henry IV., VII., and VIII., Mary, Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. and II. Under the act of the 5th and 6th of William IV., c. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, 6 aldermen, and 18 councillors; the number of magistrates is 13. The borough first sent representatives to parliament in the 23rd of Edward I., since which time it has continued to return two members. The right of election was formerly vested in the householders resident within the borough (which comprised 158 acres), paying scot and lot; but it was extended, by the act of the 2nd of William IV., cap. 45, to the £10 householders of an enlarged district containing 742 acres, which, both for parliamentary and municipal purposes, forms the present borough: the mayor is the returning officer. The corporation hold quarterly courts of session for the trial of all offenders, except those accused of capital crimes; and a court of record for the recovery of debts to any amount. The powers of the county debtcourt of Bridgwater, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Bridgwater. The summer assizes, alternately with Wells, and the summer-sessions for the county, are held here. The judges' mansion is a handsome modern edifice, containing apartments for the judges, the borough court-rooms, and a room for the grand jury. The borough prison contains distinct departments for debtors and criminals, the latter of whom are only confined here previously to trial, or to their committal to the county gaol.

Corporation Seal.

The living is a vicarage, with the rectory of Chilton Trinity united, valued in the king's books at £11. 7. 6., and in the patronage of the Crown, with a net income of £342: the impropriation belongs to the corporation. The parish church is an ancient and handsome structure, with a square embattled tower and a lofty spire: it has a rich porch in the decorated style of English architecture, and the altar is embellished with a fine painting of the Descent from the Cross, found on board a captured French privateer, and presented by the Hon. A. Poulett. An additional church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected in 1840, at an expense of £4000, and was consecrated on the 16th of June, in that year; it is a substantial structure in the later English style, and contains 1100 sittings: a good altar-piece was presented by Mr. Baker, an artist. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the Vicar's gift; net income, £150. The church of St. John the Baptist, Eastover, completed in April 1845, and consecrated in August 1846, was built by the Rev. John Moore Capes, at a cost of nearly £10,000, and is a very handsome structure in the early English style, with stained-glass windows; it has an organ which cost £600, presented by another member of the Capes family. An ecclesiastical parish is annexed to it under the 6th and 7th Vict., cap. 37, and the living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Bishop of Bath and Wells; net income, £150. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Independents, Wesleyans, Roman Catholics, Unitarians, and others. The free grammar school was founded in 1561, and endowed by Queen Elizabeth with £6. 13. 4. per annum, charged on the tithes, to which two donations of £100 each were added: it is under the control of the corporation, who appoint the master, and under the inspection of the bishop of the diocese. A school, now conducted on Dr. Bell's system, was established by Dr. John Morgan, in 1723, and endowed with 97 acres of land; the management is exercised by charity trustees appointed by the lord chancellor, under the Municipal act. A school was also instituted in 1781, by Mr. Edward Fackerell, who endowed it with the dividends on £3000 in the three per cent. consols., and rents, producing together an annual income of £174, for educating the children of his relatives. The infirmary, a commodious building, was established in 1813, and is supported by subscription. The union of Bridgwater comprises 40 parishes or places, with a population of 31,778. Admiral Blake was born here in 1599, and received the rudiments of his education in the grammar school.

Bridlington, or Burlington (St. Mary)

BRIDLINGTON, or Burlington (St. Mary), a parish, and the head of a union, in the wapentake of Dickering, E. riding of York; comprising the townships of Bridlington, Buckton, Hilderthorpe with Wilsthorpe, and Sewerby with Marton, the hamlet of Easton, and the chapelries of Grindall and Speeton; the whole containing 6070 inhabitants, of whom 5162 are in the sea-port and market-town of Bridlington with Quay, 3310 being in the Town portion, and 1852 forming the Quay portion; 38 miles (E. N. E.) from York, and 201 (N.) from London. This place is of great antiquity; it is said to have had a Roman station in its immediate vicinity, as well as to have been afterwards occupied by the Saxons. The manor was given by William the Conqueror to Earl Morcar, and subsequently, upon his attainder in 1072, to Gilbert de Gaunt; and is described in the Domesday survey as having a church and four burgesses. Walter, the son of Gilbert, founded a magnificent priory for Augustine canons, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Its commanding situation at the east end of the town gave it a fine prospect of the sea, but at the same time exposed it to the attacks of the enemy's ships, which frequently entered the harbour; it was, therefore, in 1388, by permission of Richard II., defended with fortifications, the remains of which are an arched gateway, with a room over it, occasionally used as the town-hall, and some cells underneath, serving for a temporary prison. The priory flourished till the dissolution of monastic institutions, when William Wode, the last prior, was executed for high treason, in 1537, upon the charge of being concerned in a rebellion of the same nature as that denominated the "Pilgrimage of Grace." In 1643, the queen of Charles I. bringing a supply of arms and ammunition from Holland, purchased with the crown jewels, narrowly escaped the squadron under Batten, the parliamentary admiral, who, after the queen's debarkation, bombarded the town. In 1779, a desperate naval fight took place off the coast by moonlight, between the noted pirate Paul Jones and two British ships of war: the latter, after a sanguinary contest of two hours, were compelled to yield, being overpowered by a greatly superior force.

The Town portion is pleasantly situated on a gentle acclivity, in the recess of a beautiful bay, about a mile from the sea, and consists principally of one long street, intersected by some smaller ones, irregularly formed and narrow; the houses are in general ancient and of good appearance, and the inhabitants are amply supplied with water. About a mile to the south-east is Bridlington-Quay, a small, handsome, and well-built town. The Town and Quay are lighted with gas, from works erected midway between them in 1833, at the cost of £4000. The latter district is much frequented for sea-bathing, and contains hot and cold baths fitted up for the accommodation of visiters. About a quarter of a mile from the quay is a chalybeate spring, in much repute for its medicinal properties; and in the harbour is an ebbing and flowing spring, discovered in 1811, that furnishes an abundant supply of fresh water. The quay, which has been rebuilt, presents an agreeable promenade; and the two piers forming the harbour, stretching out a considerable distance into the sea, command extensive prospects, especially the northern pier, from which are fine views of Flamborough Head and Bridlington Bay. The harbour affords a retreat to numerous coasting vessels during contrary winds; and the bay, protected from the north-west winds by the coast, and from the north winds by the noble promontory of Flamborough Head, offers safe anchorage for ships in gales of wind. In 1837, an act was obtained for improving the piers and harbour, and for rendering it more commodious and safe as a harbour of refuge. The port is a member of the port of Hull. There is a small manufactory for hats: the trade in corn, malt, and ale, formerly flourishing, declined after the opening of the Driffield canal to Hull, but subsequently the trade in corn improved, and in 1826 an exchange was built in the market-place, which is well attended; there are several windmills for corn, and a steam-mill for grinding bones for manure. The Bridlington branch of the Hull and Selby railway, 31 miles in length, was opened in October 1846; and railway communication has since been established between the town and Scarborough. The market is on Saturday; and fairs for cattle, linen, and woollen-cloth, &c., are held on the Monday before Whitsuntide and the 21st of October. The powers of the county debt-court of Bridlington, established in 1847, extend over the registration-district of Bridlington.

The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £138; patrons, the Trustees of the late Rev. C. Simeon: the impropriation belongs to Mrs. Harland. Under an inclosure act in 1768, land and a money payment were assigned to the impropriator in lieu of all tithes, with certain exceptions for the township of Bridlington. The church is a part of the ancient edifice belonging to the priory, formerly a magnificent structure of unrivalled beauty, and abounding with details of the most exquisite richness, but now lamentably mutilated; the central tower has been removed, the two towers at the western end have been made level with the nave, and the chancel and transepts destroyed. A handsome district church, erected at Bridlington-Quay, on a site given by John Rickaby, Esq., was opened for divine service on May 23rd, 1841, having been completed at a cost of £2300, raised partly by subscription, and partly by grants from the Incorporated Society and Her Majesty's Commissioners for Building Churches: it is dedicated to Christ, and contains 611 sittings, of which 320 are free. The living is a curacy, in the patronage of the Incumbent of Bridlington, with a net income of £150. At Grindall and Speeton are other incumbencies. There are places of worship for Baptists, the Society of Friends, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists, and Independents; and a Roman Catholic chapel, St. Joseph's, in St. Johnstreet, completed in 1846. A free grammar school for twenty boys was founded by William Hustler, in 1637, and endowed with a rent-charge of £40. The union of Bridlington comprises 32 parishes or places, and contains a population of 13,059. Numerous fossil remains have been found; and in the vicinity the head of an enormous elk has been discovered, the extremities of the horns being more than eleven feet apart. Sir George Ripley, a celebrated alchymist of the fifteenth century, author of a treatise on the philosopher's stone, and, in the earlier part of his life, a canon of Bridlington; William de Newburgh, an eminent historian in the reign of John; John de Bridlington, prior of the monastery, and author of Carmina Vaticinalia, who died in 1379; and Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, a great patron of the fine arts, whose title was derived from this place, and became extinct at his death in 1753; were natives of Bridlington. "Burlington" now gives the title of Earl to a branch of the family of Cavendish, raised to the peerage in 1831.