Langport in 1841
Langport is in the hundred of Pitney, 131 miles west by south from London, and 13½ miles east of Taunton. It was a borough at the time of the Domesday Survey, and was held of the king ; it had 34 burgesses, and was called Lanporth. A severe encounter took place here in the civil war of Charles I in 1645, between a Royalist detachment of Lord Goring's army and a Parliamentarian force ; the Royalists were beaten with considerable loss.
The town is at the junction of the rivers Ivel and Parret, and is on the slope and at the foot of the hills which overlook the marshy flats adjacent to those rivers : the lower part of the town near the river is liable to be flooded. The principal street leads down the hill to the Parret, over which was a bridge of ten arches : this bridge is now pulled down and a handsome bridge of three arches is erected on the site (1840-1). There are several other bridges or arches, either over arms of the river, or designed to allow a passage to the waters in the time of floods. The town is well lighted with gas, and paved throughout. A small part of the town lies west of the Parret, and is distinguished as Langport Westover, from the principal part, which is Langport Eastover. The village of Huish Episcopi, or Bishop's Huish, in the hundred of Kingsbury East, is so near to Langport on the east side of the town as to form part of it.
Langport church consists of nave, chancel, north and south aisles, two chapels, and a vestry-room, with a good western tower. There is an ancient building with an arched gateway under which the road to Yeovil passes : it is popularly called Hanging Chapel, a name which it perhaps owes to its having been a place of execution after Monmouth's rebellion : it is now used as a museum. There are an Independent meeting-house and a neat guild-hall. On a bridge of one arch, near the middle of the town, the Register-office, an elegant little building, has lately been erected. There is also a public reading-room. The church of Bishop's Huish has a fine tower with eight pinnacles.
The parish of Langport has an area of 660 acres ; the population in 1831 was 1,245 ; to this may he added 1,780 acres, and 574 inhabitants, for Bishop's Huish : together 2,440 acres and 1,819 inhabitants. The chief business of the place is the import of coal, iron, timber, and other articles from London, Bristol, and Wales, by means of the navigation of the Parret, which is now made navigable for several miles above Langport bridge by means of locks. The market is on Saturday, and there are four yearly fairs.
Langport is a borough ; the corporate body consists of a portreeve and two bailiffs chosen yearly, and nine other capital burgesses : the portreeve and recorder are magistrates, and petty sessions are held occasionally, but the borough court of record is disused. The corporation keep the bridges in repair. Langport sent members to parliament in the reign of Edward I.
The living of Langport is a chapelry, annexed to the vicarage of Huish Episcopi ; their joint clear yearly value is £210, with a glebe-house : they constitute a peculiar of the archdeacon of Wells.
There were in the two parishes, in 1833, one infant-school with 70 children ; an endowed grammar-school with 30 boys ; a national day and Sunday school with 80 children ; eight other day or boarding schools, with 102 children ; and one Sunday-school with 50 boys and 40 girls.