National Gazetteer (1868) - Porlock

"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.

The living is a rectory* in the diocese of Bath and Wells, value £339, in the patronage of the lord chancellor. The church, dedicated to St. Dubritius, is an ancient structure 90 feet in length, with a wooden spired tower containing a clock and five bells. The interior of the church contains a tomb and effigies of the Rogers family. The church has recently undergone a complete restoration, including new roof, seats, &c. The parochial charities consist of a bequest by Henry Rogers, producing 18s. per month, which is distributed among 12 poor persons who have not received parochial relief. There are a day and Sunday Church of England school. The Wesleyans have a place of worship. Ashby Combe is the principal residence. Colonel Blathwayt is lord of the manor. Fairs are held on the Thursdays prior to the 9th October, 12th May, and 12th November, chiefly for cattle and sheep; the October fair being the largest."

"BOSSINGTON, a tything in the parish of Porlock, hundred of Carhampton, in the county of Somerset, near Porlock. It is in a pleasant spot on the coast of Porlock Bay, in the Bristol Channel."

"PORLOCK-WEIR, a hamlet in the parish of Porlock, hundred of Carhampton, county Somerset, 1½ mile W. of Porlock."

"WEST PORLOCK, a hamlet in the parish of Porlock, hundred of Carhampton, county Somerset, 1 mile W. of Porlock.

"YEARNOR, a tything in the parish of Porlock, county Somerset, 5 miles W. of Minehead."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]