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"PORLOCK, a parish, post town, and small seaport, in the hundred of Carhampton, county Somerset, 6 miles W. of Minehead, and 8 W. of Dunster. This place, which derives its name from the Saxon portlocan, "an enclosed harbour," is a decayed market town, situated among the cliffs of Porlock Bay, in the Bristol Channel. The parish contains the hamlets of Porlock Weir, West Porlock, Yearnor, and Bossington. It was once the seat of the West Saxon kings, and was invaded by Danish pirates in 918. In 1052 it was burnt by Harold, the son of Earl Godwin, who sailed here from Ireland with nine ships, and vestiges of whose camp are still remaining. The town comprises two streets, composed of straggling and small houses. A portion of the inhabitants are engaged in the fisheries, and others in the coasting trade. The soil is of a sandy nature upon a subsoil of hard stone. The surface is diversified by lofty hills, winding valleys, and deep glens. Coal and lime are largely imported from Wales." From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) Transcribed by Colin Hinson © 2003
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