Bristol, a town, port of entry, and the capital of Bristol co., E. I., 16 m. by rail S. E. of Providence, and 11 m. N. of Newport; pop. in 1870, 5,302. It is pleasantly situated on a peninsula stretching out toward the south, between Narragansett bay on the west and Mount Hope bay on the east. The town is 5 m. long and 3 ra. broad, and has an area of 12 sq. m. It includes Mount Hope, a beautiful eminence 300 ft. above water, noted for the fine view from its summit, and interesting as the ancient residence of King Philip, who was killed here in 1676. The soil is very fertile, and a considerable portion of the inhabitants are engaged in raising onions and other market vegetables. The village is a place of summer resort, and contains a newspaper office, several churches, banks, manufactories, and good schools. During the revolutionary war it was bombarded by the British, and a large part of it burned to the ground. A railroad connects it with Providence, and steamers from Fall River to the latter city also stop here.
For the year ending June 30,1871, the imports from foreign countries into the district (which also includes Warren) amounted to $37,161; exports, $30,329. There were registered 22 vessels with a tonnage of 2,139.
Bristol, a post borough, and formerly the capital of Bucks co., Penn., on the right bank of the Delaware river, nearly opposite Burlington, N. J., and about 19 m. above Philadelphia; pop. in 1870, 3,269. It is a pleasant, neat-looking town, with several churches, a bank, a flour mill, a mineral spring, and abundant means of communication with the chief cities of the Union. A quarterly periodical is published here. A railroad from New York to Philadelphia passes through it, a line of steamboats connects it with Philadelphia, and the Delaware branch of the Pennsylvania canal terminates here in a large basin communicating with the rive.
Bristol, a seaport and city of England, on the borders of Gloucestershire and Somersetshire, but independent of both, situated at the confluence of the Avon and Frome, 8 m. from their entrance into the estuary of the Severn, the head of Bristol channel, 12 m. N. W. of Bath, and 118 m. W. of London; pop. in 1871, 182,524. The Avon being navigable for large vessels up to this point, gives to Bristol great commercial advantages, which have been further improved by dock accommodation. The British docks, which were originally formed in the reign of George III., at an expense of £600,000, were purchased in 1847 by the corporation, and are now the property of the city. Bristol was long the second city of the kingdom, and from 1750 to 1757 the average net receipts of the customs there amounted to £155,189 sterling, while those of Liverpool were £51,136. But in the latter part of that century the advantages of Liverpool in natural position, and her vicinity to the northern coal, iron, and manufacturing districts, rapidly secured her the superiority; and the West India trade, which formerly belonged exclusively to Bristol, has been in the present century transferred to London, since the completion of the West India docks.
The growth of railway communication has also partly deprived Bristol of its long standing character as the commercial depot of the west of England. It is still the great point of shipment between the south of Ireland and England. Numerous manufactures are carried on, among which are refined sugar, brass and copper wares, soap, glass, chain cables, anchors, machinery, tobacco, earthenware, floor cloth, wire, pins, shot, sheet lead, zinc, saltpetre, tin pipes, hats, spirits, malt liquors, and soda. There is a large cotton factory, employing 1,700 hands, and other manufacturing establishments are on a large scale. There are seven banking establishments, including a branch of the bank of England, a savings bank, and a gas company. The tides in the Bristol channel rise 48 ft. at springs and 23 at neaps, and at the floating harbor often to 30 ft., so that vessels of the largest draught come to the city. To obviate the risk of damage at the rise, and of grounding at low tide, a floating harbor or wet dock has been constructed, by changing the bed of the river Avon for a length of 3 m. There is a quay of a mile in length, and a number of basins. Five bridges connect the opposite sides of the floating harbor and river.
There are also graving docks and ship yards, suitable for vessels of the largest size. The Great Western and Great Britain, besides many other large steamers, were built at this port. Three railways, the Bristol and Gloucester, the Great Western, and the Bristol and Exeter, have termini in this city. There are numerous interesting monuments of antiquity, among which the church of St. Mary Redcliff is conspicuous both for its beauty and for Ohatterton's connection with it. The cathedral has a fine Norman gateway. Among the modern buildings are the council house, in the Italian style, the guildhall, in the Tudor style, the Victoria rooms for concerts and exhibitions, the Bristol institution, with a fine gallery of art, and the bridewell prison, rebuilt after the riot of 1831. The Bristol library, founded in 1772, has 50,000 volumes. Clifton, a suburb of Bristol, is a noted watering place. (See Clifton.) - Bristol dates from before the Roman invasion, but did not become a place of strength and importance till after the Norman conquest. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was noted both for its trade and manufactures. By the enterprise of Bristol merchants some of the early expeditions for the extension of discovery in the western world were fitted out.
Sebastian Cabot passed his early life in Bristol, and a Bristol ship first touched the American continent. Martin Fro-bisher brought one of the Esquimaux to Bristol in 1578. Hakluyt belonged to Bristol, and Newfoundland was colonized from Bristol. It figured in the wars of the roses, and was a commanding position during the war between Charles I. and the parliament. It was carried by storm by Prince Maurice and Prince Rupert in 1643, but after the defeat of Charles at Naseby. was surrendered by Prince Rupert to Sir Thomas Fairfax, after a brief resistance. It was the scene of riots on account of local disputes in 1793, and of a disastrous riot in 1831, on occasion of a visit from Sir Charles Wetherell, an opponent of the reform bill.
Church of St. Mary Redcliff.