Bridport is surrounded by many beautiful hills and rolling countryside but dont be fooled into thinking it is a a small town that has no importance.
The King of Wessex, better known as Alfred the Great, established it as a fortified burgh in the late 9th Century.
In the 10th century Bridport had a mintmit was to the north of the town believed to be where Pymore mills are today,
so bridport must have been a place of some importance.
In 1253 Henry III made the town a Royal Borough,later confirmed by Elizabeth I and James I.
The local land is very well suited to growing both hemp and flax, So it would be natural that a rope making industry would grow up here.
It was so important in 1213 that King John made the ropers to work ‘night and day’ to make the rope he needed for his navy,
Rope from Bridport was also used for making hangmen’s nooses.
In fact the noose was nicknamed ‘a Bridport dagger’ which was put to good use by the infamous Judge Jeffreys the “Hanging judge” and with a cruel twist of fait nearly all from bridport who where involed with the Duke of Monmouth battle to overthrough the king would of in some way helped to make the rope for their own execution’s .
In the time of Henry VIII the rope making industry in Bridport was so important he ordered that all hemp grown within 5 miles of the town should be reserved to make rope for his navy.
14th-century Bridport was blessed in a number of ways its maritime links and history as a market,
this provided a good mercantile basis.
But it was something else which tranformed, for centuries, the prosperity of the town. Flax had come to Britain with the Romans, but it was in 9th-century Saxon England that it started to be more widely cultivated.
Successive Tudor monarchs insisted that increasing portions of arable land around Bridport be devoted to hemp production to ensure the supplies necessary for the rope-making industry.
In Bridport, by the middle of the 16th century, if you grew hemp within five miles of the town, you had, by Act of Parliament, to sell it at Bridport’s market.
Then in the late 16th century Queen Elizabeth gave Bridport a new charter and allowed the people to hold markets and fairs.
In the early 17th century, the burgeoning East India Company needed supplies of sails and rigging for its fleet of ships. A century later, fishing line, to be supplied to the Newfoundland cod fleet and colonies.
Throughout history Bridport has been at the centre of rope and net production and even now it is still producing high quaity nets and rope for many industrys,including sports,fishing, aerospcae,and space exploration.