Bridgewater (Indian name, Nunlcetest), a township of Plymouth co., Mass., on the Fall River and Bridge water branch railroads, 27 m. S. E. of Boston, and 20 m. N. W. of Plymouth. It once formed part of Duxbury, was purchased of the Indians in 1645 by Capt. Miles Standish, and was incorporated as a separate precinct in 1716. In 1790 it contained 4,975 inhabitants; three new townships were afterward separated from it, and incorporated as East, North, and West Bridgewater. - Old Bridgewater is pleasantly situated on Taunton river, embraces some of the best land in the county, and possesses considerable commercial importance; pop. in 1870, 3,660. It is the seat of a state normal school, with a library of 5,000 volumes; of an academy, incorporated in 1799; and of a state almshouse. There are 15 or 20 public schools, and Episcopal, Swedenborgian, and Congregational churches. The town contains 2 rolling and slitting mills, a forge manufacturing anchors, chain cables, etc, a brass foundery, a paper mill, 3 saw mills, 2 manufactories of hollow ware and castings, 2 of cotton gins, 1 of cotton, woollen, and other machinery, 1 of metal sheathing for vessels, and 2 of tin ware. A weekly newspaper is published here. - East Bridgewater is about 25 m.
S. S. E. of Boston, on Beaver and Sautucket rivers, branches of the Taunton; pop. in 1870, 3,017. It has important manufactures, some of which have been carried on since its first settlement, about 1688. Cannon were cast here during the revolution. The town contains 2 shoddy mills, 2 rolling and slitting mills, 2 forges manufacturing bar iron, 6 saw mills, 1 manufactory of cotton gins, and 2 of tacks and brads; 299 males and 97 females are engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes. A weekly newspaper is published here. There are several churches and good schools. - North Bridgewater is about 20 m. S. E. of Boston, on the Fall River railroad, and is watered by the Salisbury river; pop. in 1870, 8,007. It has a good soil, adapted to grazing, and contains Congregational, Swedenborgian, Baptist, and Methodist churches, a weekly newspaper, and good schools; 1,059 males and 208 females are employed in the manufacture of boots and shoes. There are also manufactories of mechanics' tools, tacks, brads, lasts, shoe pegs, blacking, musical instruments, tin ware, etc. - West Bridgewater is about 25 m. S. E. of Boston, on the Fall River railroad; pop. in 1870, 1,803. A branch of the Taunton river flows through it, affording motive power to several mills and factories.
There are 4 saw mills, 3 manufactories of hollow ware and castings, and 1 of soap; and 144 hands employed in the manufacture of boots and shoes. There are churches of various denominations and several schools.
Bridgewater, a seaport, parliamentary borough, and parish of Somersetshire, England, on the river Parret, the Bristol and Exeter railway, and the Taunton and Bridgewater canal, 29 m. S. W. of Bristol; pop. in 1871,12,101. It is a place of much antiquity, mentioned in "Domesday Book" by the name of Brugie. The Parret admits vessels of 200 tons, and opens on the Bristol channel. The foreign trade is principally with the United States, Canada, the West Indies, and Russia. About 8,500 tons of shipping belong to the port. Brick and tile making is carried on in the neighborhood, the making of white brick, known as Bath brick, constituting a staple trade of the town. The parish church is a fine structure. There are places of worship for Unitarians, Quakers, Independents, Methodists, and Baptists; also various schools and charitable institutions. In the neighborhood is the isle of Athelhey, in which Alfred took refuge from the Danes. At the conquest many Saxons were settled here. It was a place of importance in the various civil wars of England, and attained a celebrity from the part taken by its inhabitants in the Monmouth rising, and the retaliation therefor.