Set in the beautiful ad contrasting countryside of Somerset, Bridgwater is a busy and bustling market town.
This town lies in the River Parrett’s valley, foot of the Quantocks. Bridgwater is a preferred choice for many as this town has the Mendip hills and Somerset level stretching out here which makes this a ‘beautiful’ place.
The royal charter made Bridgwater a borough in 1200, and was granted the right for a mayor only in 1468. Initially, this was known as a ‘River Port’ and in the Middle Ages, Bridgwater was known for its fairs and markets. The Matthew fair which started in the 14th century still flourishes. The two important religious houses of Bridgwater, the Friary and the Hospital of St. John closed down in the year 1539.
It is almost 1000 years that a community has existed here. With the changing of times Bridgwater has witnessed development in the technological, economic and cultural sectors. BRUGIE, an agricultural community was a settlement here before Bridgwater came into being. It was in 1200 AD William De Bruere was able to get a grant for the Royal charter for Borough. It was at this time that the castle construction work commenced.
Only in the 15th century did this town have around 300 houses and became a thriving port. Export of woollen cloths from different parts of Somerset led to the prosperity of this town. The establishment of the cloth trade also commenced during this time. This town suffered a lot During the Civil War, due to the support extended to the Royalists. Commercial and domestic buildings which were timber framed were destroyed by the Parliamentary artillery siege, which lasted for three days. The Roundheads destroyed the castle as a reprisal.
18th to 20th Century, Bridgwater
The beginning of the 18th century saw a boon in the cloth trade before collapsing at the time of the industrial revolution. With Bristol gaining importance, Bridgwater came to a point of stagnation. Only during the 19th century this town could grow once again, and this was due to roofing tiles commercial manufacture and also improvements in communication. The railway station, which was located to the east, could encourage the growth away from the river.
The local brick ad tile industry declined during the 20th century. New industries were welcomed by this town like Cellophane. Bridgwater has been the administrative centre of the Sedgemoor District since 1974. This town has witnessed many development and changes with the passing of time but most of the older parts of the town have been able to retain the old charm with the medieval patterns of streets and historic buildings. You need to be aware that this town of Bridgwater has been mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and the Doomsday book due to the origin as a trade centre.
Visiting Bridgton and ensuring a trip to the historical structures here gives you a feel of the town way back in history. You understand the way this town has evolved with the passing of time.