Seal of the Commonality affixed to a Bridgwater deed of 1343 reference Somerset Record Office DD\S\WH/61 by permission pic P E Cattermole
Seal of the Commonality Taken from Dilks T.B. Bridgwater Borough Archives 1200-1377, Somerset Record Society Vol 48 1933
The seal of the commonality
The seal of the community or commonality of Bridgwater (green wax) is attached to an
undated (prob. early 13th. C.) mss Ordinance of the Burgesses [No. 10 in SRS
48; SRO D\B\bw/132]: Ad amorem et caritatem inter nos nutriendum
et lites et rancores reprimendum For the nurture of love of and
charity among us and for the prevention of quarrels and bickerings.
Dilks interprets this seal as "castle with portcullis and three
towers"[No. 10 SRS 48] and "a triple tower with portcullis, surmounting a triple-arched bridge under which flows the river"[SRS 48 xiii]. The illustration above however shows four arches.
A fragment of the the seal of the community is attached to
the Will of Gilbert Russel dated 20 September 1317 [No. 80 SRS
Dilks considers that "the wooden bridge shown on the seal of the community
is of course conventional" [SRS 48 lii]. He notes: "But the earliest bridge
must have been of that material, and according to Leland's tradition the
'right ancient stronge and high bridge of stone of 3 arches' had
been 'begon of William Bruer.' There we must leave it, for Trivet's building
comes later" (1395).
What is the evidence for a 13/14th C. bridge?
Trivet's bridge is described in the deed of defeasance [No. 477 SRS 53] as
la novel pont de Bruggewater, the new bridge.
That there was
an old bridge preceeding it is suggested in several documents.
King John's charter of 26 June 1200 (?) granted to Willelmo Briwer that
Brug' Walt' should be a free borough with the right to raise pontage (fees
for the construction & maintenance of a bridge)
in the early 13th C., the Burgesses granted a lease of unum dimidium
burgagium ultra pontem half a burgage beyond the bridge [No. 23 SRS 48]
by his will, Gilbert
Russel [1317, v s] left xs ad emendos lapides ad viam corigendam
inter hospitale et pontem (10s. to buy stones to mend the road between
the hospital and the bridge)
all Hugo Godwyne's tenements in occidentali parte pontis were
devised to his son John and in orientali parte pontis to his son Richard in
the early 14th. C. [No. 107 SRS 48]
conveyance of a tenement on 31 May 1355 scituato in alto vico ex
opposito castri sicut itur a magno ponte ad forum [No. 176 SRS 48,
and disposal in 1363 [No. 207 SRS 48]
conveyance of a mesuagio ... magni pontis in alto vico sicun itur de
dicto ponte versus ecclesiam paroch on 8 June 1355 [No. 177 of SRS 48]
conveyance of a tenement on 5 January 1371 in vico sicut itur ... et magnum pontem
[No. 260 SRS 48]
in the record of debts outstanding to the parish church
in 1373, there are five names associated with cicus inter pontem et
cimiterium [No. 283 SRS 48]
the receiver of the community 1373-75 accounts for 6s from Ric.
Peke for the rent of the house on the bridge domus super pontem for three
terms [No. 297 SRS 48]