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.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.