Bridgwater can boast the most interesting and eventful history of any town in Somerset. From its humble origins in the Dark and Middle Ages, it developed a strategic significance during the mediaeval period when it acquired its bridge and castle. It grew to be a town with a maritime trade, ship building, a booming brick and tile industry and a legacy of markets and a fair, which survives today, along with its world-famous illuminated carnival. Through the bloody days of the 17th century, it experienced the Civil War at first hand, with the downfall of the enormous Bridgwater Castle, and the Monmouth Rebellion when so many townsfolk rallied to the Protestant call, only to suffer death as hundreds were hung, drawn and quartered whilst others were transported into white slavery in the West Indian sugar plantations.
Stage coach travel, corrupt elections and a workhouse which could boast a thirty percent mortality rate over the winter period all add to the colourful past of this former market town. The rise and fall of the brick industry acted as a prelude to the years of First World War and First World War l. Discover more about Bridgwater’s rich history, learning of its most interesting characters by selecting from the list to the left.
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Text Copyright © 2008 Roger Evans