Bridport, a municipal borough, a market-town, a parish, and a poor law union in Dorsetshire. The town stands on a gentle eminence between the rivers Brit and Asker, a little above their confluence, surrounded by hills, 1 ½ mile N of the Bride's Mouth, 9 ½ miles by railway WSW by Maiden-Newton, and 15 by road W of Dorchester. It has a station on the G.W.R., 154 miles from London. There is a branch to Maiden-Newton and another to West Bay. It had a mint and 120 houses at the time of the Conquest; was occupied by both the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, but not contested by either, during the Civil War; made a riotous outburst at the time of the Duke of Monmouth's landing at Lyme, and had an ancient priory dedicated to St John the Baptist. It consists of three spacious, airy streets, contains many handsome houses, and commands from its summit-ground many fine vista-views. The town-hall occupies the site of an ancient chapel, was built in 1786, and is a handsome edifice of brick and Portland stone. The parish church is cruciform, chiefly Later English, has a central, square, pinnacled tower, was restored in 1860 at a cost of upwards of £3000, and contained a monument to a kinsman of Queen Philippa, and some other interesting monuments. St Andrew's Church, near the northern entrance to the town, is a small, beautiful edifice. There are Congregational, Baptist, Quaker, Unitarian, Methodist, and Roman Catholic chapels, almshouses, and other charities, a literary and scientific institution, and a working men's reading-room and club. Bridport Harbour is at the mouth of the Brit, 1 ½ mile distant, and takes its name from a basin enclosed by a double wooden pier, flanked by picturesque cliffs, and capable of admitting vessels of 250 tons.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Bridport St. Mary|
|Poor Law union||Bridport (1836-)|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
The parish register of baptisms, marriages and burials begins in 1600. The original register books are now deposited with the Dorset Archives Service, but have been digitised by Ancestry.co.uk and made available on their site (subscription required).
Bridport was in Bridport Registration District from 1837 to 1974
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Bridport from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, 1848
- Hunt & Co.'s Directory of Dorsetshire, Hampshire, & Wiltshire 1851
Online maps of Bridport are available from a number of sites:
- Bing (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- Google Streetview.
- National Library of Scotland. (Old maps)
- old-maps.co.uk (Old Ordnance Survey maps to buy).
- Streetmap.co.uk (Current Ordnance Survey maps).
- A Vision of Britain through Time. (Old maps)
Newspapers and Periodicals
The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the Dorset County Chronicle and the Sherborne Mercury online.
Villages, Hamlets, &c
The Visitation of Dorset, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.