Description of Bridgwater
This account of Bridgwater has been transcribed and translated from Camden’s 1607 edition of Britannia (London), page 164. William Camden 1551-1623 was a noted historian and antiquarian.
Hoc suscepto fluuio, Pedredus opidum magnum, et incolis refertum petit, quod Bridgewater vulgo vocitamus, nomenque a ponte, et aqua inuenisse creditor; sed refragantur Chartae antiquae in quibus semper BurghWalteri diserte appellatur, et coniectura probabili, a Waltero de Duaco qui Guilielmo Conquestori militauit, et multa praedia ab ipso in hoc agro accepit. Nec alio nomine in donation illa vocatur qua Fulco Paynell Dominus de Bampton loci possessionem Guilielmo de Briwer contulit, ad colligendam eius gratiam qui gratia plurimum apud Regem Ruchardum Primum valuit. Huius Guilielmi filius eodem nomine, cum firmandi castri licentiam fecisset Ioannes Rex, castellum hic posuit iam tempore euictum; pontemque incepit, quem Trivete Cornubia nobilis immensis sumptibus perfecit. Cum vero Guilielmus de Briwer iunior sine prole diem clausisset, in familia heriscunda obtigit Margaretae sorori, per cuius filiam ex Guilielmo De La fert in familiam de Cadurcis, sive Chadworth deuenit, et ab ea haereditario ad Duces Lancastrenses. Verum maximus honor huic accessit, quod Comitatus titulo ab Henrico Octavo exornatum fuerit, cum Henricum Daubeneium Comitem de Bridgewater creauetit, cuius soror et unae haeredum Cecilia enupta fuit Ioanni Bourchier primo ex ea familia Bathoniae Comiti.
Translation…having taken this river, the Parrett continues to a great densely populated town, which we habitually call Bridgwater in the vulgar tongue. The name is believed to come from bridge and water, but this is refuted through the ancient chaters, in which it is always addressed as Burgh Walteri (the borough of Walter), and with the best reasonable inference, this refers to Walter of Duaco, who was a knight of William the Conqueror, and who recieved many manors from him in this area. Nor was it called any other name in that donation which Fulk Paynell, Lord of Bampton, conferred posession of the location to William Briwer, for the purpose of gaining his favour, being the greatest and favoured of King Richard the first. The son of this William, of the same name, when King John produced a licence of castle fortification, he set down a castle here (which has been overwhelmed by time) and began a bridge, which a Cornish nobleman Trivete perfected with immense cost. When this William Briwer the younger ended his days without children, in the family heritage the town fell to his sister Margaret, through her daughter with William de la Fert it fell in the family of Cadurcis or Chadworth and from its heirs to the Duchy of Lancaster. Indeed, the greatest honor come to this town, was the creation of the title of an Earldom by King Henry the Eighth, when Henry Daubeney was created Earl of Bridgwater, whose sister and heiress Cecilia was married to John Bourchier, out of the house of the Earl of Bath.
Trans. Miles Kerr-Peterson 2018