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BRIDPORT (ST MARY), a sea-port, borough, market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, and the head of a union, in the Bridport division of DORSET, 14¾ miles (W.) from Dorchester, and 134 (W. S. W.) from London, on the high road to Exeter; containing 4787 inhabitants. This was a town of some importance in the time of Edward the Confessor, and is mentioned in Domesday book as having a mint and an ecclesiastical establishment. During the civil war in the reign of Charles I. it was garrisoned by the parliament; but, not being a place of much strength, was alternately in the possession of each party. In 1685 it was surprised by some troops in the interest of the Duke of Monmouth, under Lord Grey; these were defeated by the king's forces, and twelve of the principal insurgents were afterwards executed. The TOWN is situated in a fertile vale surrounded by hills, having on the west the river Bride or Brit, from which it takes its name, and on the east the Asher, over which are several bridges: these rivers unite a little below the town, and fall into the sea at the harbour, about a mile and a half to the south. It is chiefly formed by three spacious streets, containing many handsome modern houses; and is partially paved, amply supplied with water, and well lighted with gas. A mechanics' institution, containing a reading-room, and lecture and class rooms, has been built at the expense of H. Warburton, Esq. a late member for the borough.

Source: A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, 1848. Transcribed by Nigel Batty-Smith ©2014

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