Portishead or Portshead (popularly Posset), a village and a parish in Somerset, with a station on the G.W.R., 130 miles from London. The village stands on the Severn's estuary, under wooded hills, at the end of Wans Dyke, 3½ miles WSW of the mouth of the river Avon, and 9 W by N of Bristol; is supposed to have been anciently the harbour of Portbury; is now a watering-place, with a gay assemblage of villas; commands a charming view over the Severn's estuary to the coast and mountains of Wales; and has a post, money order, and telegraph office, a handsome hotel, and marine baths. Portishead Dock, belonging to the corporation of Bristol, was opened in 1879. It has immense granaries, and there are facilities for the reception of timber, oil, sugar, and other cargoes. The depth of water on the sill is 33 feet, and in the dock 27 feet. The Great Western and Midland Railway Companies each have offices on the dock. A fort was formerly at Portishead Point, and was taken from the Royalists in 1645 by Fairfax. In 1894 the corporation of Bristol constructed a fine promenade, or marine and carriage drive, from which extensive views of the Bristol Channel are obtained. The parish comprises 2122 acres; population, 2787. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Bath and Wells; gross value, £650 with residence. The church is Early English; consists of nave, aisle, and chancel, with a fine tower; and has been restored and considerably enlarged.
There are Congregational, Wesleyan, and Roman Catholic chapels, a meeting-house for the Friends, and a seamen's institute containing library, reading and refreshment rooms.
The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.
|Ecclesiastical parish||Portishead St. Peter|
|Poor Law union||Bedminster|
Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.
Ancestry.co.uk, in association with Somerset Archives & Local Studies, have images of the Parish Registers for Somerset online.
Directories & Gazetteers
We have transcribed the entry for Portishead from the following:
- Samuel Lewis' A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858. (Portishead (St. Peter))
Online maps of Portishead 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 following Somerset papers online:
- Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette
- Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser
- Western Gazette
- Wells Journal
- Somerset County Gazette
The Visitation of Somersetshire, 1623 is available on the Heraldry page.