Other charters were granted by Henry III in 1227 (confirmed in 1318, 1370, 1380), which gave Bridgwater a gild merchant which was important for the regulation of trade allowing gild members to trade freely in the town, and to impose payments and restrictions upon others. Parliamentary representation began in 1295 and continued until the Reform Act of 1870 when the original borough constituency was disenfranchised for corruption in 1870.From 4 July 1870 the town was incorporated within the county constituency of West Somerset.It was formerly part of the Hundred of North Petherton.In a legend of Alfred the Great, he burnt some cakes while hiding in the marshes of Athelney near Bridgwater, after the Danish invasion in 875, while in 878 the major engagement of the Battle of Cynwit may have been at nearby Cannington.The town lies along both sides of the River Parrett, 10 miles (16 km) from its mouth, has been a major port and trading centre and maintains a large industrial base.It is linked to Taunton by the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal.Bridgwater is located between two junctions of the M5 motorway and Bridgwater railway station is on the main railway line between Bristol and Taunton.Historically, the town had a politically radical tendency, being involved in several events of note on the national stage, and was defended by its own castle.
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The castle itself was deliberately destroyed the following year, while in 1651 Colonel Wyndham made arrangements for Charles II to flee to France following the Battle of Worcester.When there was a redistribution of Parliamentary seats to take effect at the 1885 general election, a new county division of Bridgwater was created.A Saturday market and a fair on 24 June were granted by the charter of 1201.Bridgwater Castle was a substantial structure built in Old Red Sandstone, covering a site of 8 or 9 acres (32,000 to 36,000 m²).
A tidal moat, up to 65 feet (20 m) wide in places, flowed about along the line of the modern thoroughfares of Fore Street and Castle Moat, and between Northgate and Chandos Street.
hence becoming known variously as Burgh-Walter, Brugg-Walter and Brigg-Walter, eventually corrupted to Bridgwater.