Bridport is a market town near Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, with a history as a centre for rope making. Bridport was established as a ‘burh’ or fortified town, by Alfred the Great, and throughout the Saxon period it was one of the most important towns in Dorset.
The town was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Brideport’, with over 100 houses, and in 1253 it was made a royal borough by Henry II.
The long association of Bridport with rope-making began at the instigation of King John. According to tradition, in 1231 King John ordered that Bridport work to produce cables and ropes 24 hours per day for his army and navy. From these beginnings, Bridport came to be almost synonymous with rope-making.
At first, both rope and nets were made from locally-grown hemp and flax. Bridport’s long, straight main street was used as a place to lay out ropes for drying. Ropes used for gallows were among the products made here, giving rise to the euphemism ‘o be stabbed with a Bridport dagger’ to refer to hanging. Bridport also made cables for the British navy, and fishing nets as well. Most of the historic core of the town dates to the 18th century.
Excerpt taken from www.britainexpress.com