Bridport with Allington

Universal British Directory 1791

Transcription from a copy of the original book, kindly donated to the OPC Project by Alan Bartlett, 2003

Bridport is of great antiquity. It took its name from the river Birt or Bride. It has a large neat church, by the name of St. Mary’s, are situated in the South-street. There were formerly several other chapels; but since the reformation they were alienated. There are two meeting-houses for dissenters and one for the Quakers. The town consists of three wide open spacious streets, and greatly improved in buildings of late years. It is very much lake the latter T. viz. the East West, and South streets, and several back lanes and passages, and very populous. It has a handsome market-house in the center, lately erected at the expense of three thousand pounds. The markets are Wednesdays and Saturdays, and have a great supply of flesh-meat. The harbour is very much improved of late years, and is still improving; it will admit of vessels of upwards of 300 tons: it is about one mile and a quarter from town, which is of great service to the neighborhood. The trade of the town is principally in the twine and hat manufactories; also, in the sail-cloth manufactory. The soil is very deep and rich, and productive of hemp and flax. It is a free and open borough, sends two members to parliament in the 23d of Edward the first. The present members are Charles Sturt, Esq. And James Watson, Esq. Serjeant at Law. It is a town corporate, consisting of two bailiffs, recorder, fifteen capital burgesses, whereof the bailiffs are two, two serjeants at mace, and several other inferior officers. Here are two schools, one of them is maintained out of the salary arising from the Bull Inn; the other is from different persons. There are three fairs, viz. on Old Lady-day, Holy Thursday, and Old Michaelmas.

Post-office opens every morning at 7 o’clock and shuts at 10 o’clock for London; and opens every morning at 11 o’clock, and shuts at two in the afternoon for the West. The mail goes through here every day, as this is the great Western post-road from London to Execter and Plymouth.

Bridport is 135 miles from London, 37 from Exeter, 80 from Plymouth, 6 from Lyme, and 17 from Dorchester. It is not far from he shore of the channel, where it has a harbour, abounding with copperous stones, cornu animonis, and many curious fossils. In the time of the Saxons it had a mint, was created a borough by Kin Henry III. The corporation, under the King, are entire Lords of all. It had once a good harbour and trade, and manufactured so much hemp in ropes, cables, &c. that, in the reign of Henry VIII, it was ordered the the cordage for the English navy should, for a limited time, be made here, or within 5 miles of it, and nowhere else; which act was confirmed by almost every parliament for near 60 years after. Yet this trade is sunk to little or nothing, though the soil, between this place and Beaminster, is so fruitful in hemp, that, when a man was hanged, it was proverbially said, he was stabbed with a Bridport dagger. The situation of the town is low. It was incorporated b Henry VII, and afterwards by Queen Elizabeth and king James I and Charles II, by whole charter two bailiffs were to be chosen yearly out of 15 capital burgesses; and the corporation was empowered to choose a recorder and town-clerk, &c. The buildings are chiefly stone, and rather mean, but some are of brick and neatly built, in all about 250. The quarter-sessions for the county are held in the town-hall once a year. Here was formerly a priory which stood near the bridge at the East-end of the town, now a dwelling house, called St. John’s. At the West-end of the town was an hospital, now no more. Also a chapel dedicated to St. Leonard was formerly here; and near the entrance of the South –street is an ancient building said to have been the prior’s house. At the meeting of the three streets, near the middle of the town are the remains of St. Andrew’s chapel, part of which is converted into a dwelling-house; part the sessions house, over which is the free-school & another part is made a goal for criminals; and part is in ruins. It has a low tower remaining. Part of the chancel is left, and serves for a clock-house. There was a chapel dedicated to St. James, in Wyke’s-court-lane, now a dwelling house. A chapel dedicated to St. Michael stood at the West-end of the town, of which there are no remains. Mackerel are here in such prodigious plenty, that there has been a watch set to present farmers from dunging their land with them, which, it was thought, might be apt to infect the air. In the year 1722, an act passed for restoring the haven and piers of Bridport, in order to bring it to its ancient flourishing state; for heretofore it was a place of great trade and commerce; but, by reason of a general sickness, which swept away the greatest part of its most wealthy inhabitants, and by other accidents, the haven became neglected, and choked with sands & the piers fell to ruin, and the town, of consequence, to decay; so that there was no security for ships that happened to be driven by perils of weather into the deep and dangerous bay wherein the haven formerly was, which occasioned frequent shipwrecks. The act therefore authorizes the bailiffs and burgesses of Bridport to levy certain tolls on divers merchandizes, &c. in order to restore the said piers and harbour. However, the act has never been fully executed.

There are two London and Exeter coaches up and down every day, besides the mail coach. The London and Exeter wagons pass Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, both ways. The Bristol wagons every Saturday. The principal inns are the Bull, and the Golden Lion.

BATTICOMBE John, esq. Gentleman
BISHOP Thomas, esq. Gentleman
CHAMP John, esq. Gentleman
COPPOCK John, Gentleman
DOWNE William, esq. Gentleman
GOLDING Richard, esq. Gentleman
GUNDRY Samuel, esq. Gentleman
HOUNSELL John, esq. Gentleman
PIKE Joseph, esq. Gentleman
WAY Thomas, esq. Gentleman
ANSTIS Rev. Matthew Dissenting Minister, Boarding school for young girls
HOWE Rev. Tho. Dissenting Minister
SHERIVE Rev. Dr. Rector
SYMES Rev. Benjamin  
SALTREN Rev. John Dissenting Minister
CARPENTER William surgeon
DOWNE Samuel surgeon
ROBINSON Simon surgeon
DALLY Edward Attorney
SYMES John Attorney
TOMLYNS John Attorney
ACKERMAN Joseph Bookseller and Agent to the Sun Fire-office
ALNER William confctner.
ANSTIS Matthew Schoolmaster
BALL & KENWAY Twine merchants
BENNETT William Grocer
BARNES William carpenter
BALSTON William Victualler
BALSTON Abraham Joiner
BROWNE George carpenter
BATTISCOMBE John, jun. Victualler
BISHOP John Girth Web-maker
BISHOP Edmund Sadler
BUNT William Excise Officer
BOOLS Nicholas Ship builder
CARTER Jothum Carrier
CARTER William Grocer
CLEAK Adam watch maker
CHILLCOTT Nathaniel Merchant
COCKRAM William Grocer
COLFOX Thomas Woolstapler
CRANG John Supervisor
COPPOCK J. jun. Twine merchants
CRAZE Richard Hatter
CHAFFY James Innholder
CHAMBERS Joseph Collect-maker
CLAPCOTT Robert Tide-waiter
CHECK William Grocer
CLENCH John Sadler
DAVIE John Maltster
DAAGILOE William Grocer
EWENS Johns Sailcloth-maker
EWENS Thomas Butter merchant
EWENS William Cooper
EUSTIS John Grocer
FISH Thomas Innholder
FOWLER William Twine merchants
FOURACRES William Baker
FUDGE David Builder
GOLDING George Mercer
GOLDING Joseph Twine merchants
GOLLY Joseph hair dressers
GRAY William Grocer
GUMMER Robert, jun. Twine merchants
GIFFORD Henry Butcher
GUNDRY Joseph Twine merchants
GUNDRY & SYMES Twine merchants
HART Thomas Cordwainer
HART James Grocer
HODDER George hair dressers
HOOD & CO.   Bag & Sailclothmakers
HILL John Twine merchants
HOUNSELL John Cutler
HOUNSELL Wm. Twine merchants
HOUNSELL Joseph Twine merchants
HOUNSELL John Twine merchants
HAYTER Joseph Innholder
HAYDON Thomas hair dressers
KEEPING John carpenter
KING Francis Slopman
KENWAY James Silverfinish
KNIGHT Richard Farrier
LACY Giles Post-malster
MILLER John carpenter
MORRIS Thomas Taylor
MITTS William Cutler
PARRY William Mercer
PERHAM Thomas Miller
PERHAM William Butcher
PERHAM John Miller
PERHAM John Maltster
PATTEN William Taylor
PUNFIELD Elias Maltster
ROSE Henry Victualler
RUSSELL Thomas Carrier
STONE Joseph Sailcloth-maker
SEYMOUR & CO.   Merchants
SAUNDERS James Victualler
SYMES & DODGE Fishmongers
STEPHENS William Mercer
TAYLOR Samuel Sailcloth-maker
TETT Francis Plumber
TUCKER Thomas Mercer
TUCKER G. & Co. Twine merchants
TUCKER Edward Mercer
TUCKER T & Co. Twine & Bag-makers
TUCKER Richard & Co. Sail-makers
WARR Joseph Maltster
WARR George Mail Contractor
WARR Richard Joiner
WEBBER John SwissClock maker
WISDOM William Excise Officer

Bridport Page | OPC Page