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Bridgewater
05034

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About Bridgewater, Vermont
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Click for Bridgewater, Vermont Forecast

Windsor County
Chartered: July 10, 1761 (New Hampshire Grant)
Area: 31,602 Acres = 49.38 Square Miles [ Size Rank: 32* ]
Coordinates (Geographic Center): N 43° 36' W 72°37'
Altitude: 820 feet ASL
Population (US Census, 2010): 936 [ Population Rank: 161* ]
Population Density (persons per square mile): 19 [ Density Rank: 192* ]
Full Census Info: Town
  County  State

*Area, Population and Density rankings refer to Bridgewater's relative position among Vermont's 255 civic entities (9 cities, 242 towns, 4 gores and grants). Complete rankings are here.

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Granted to a group of 61 associates, many of whom were illustrious citizens. Included in the list were Samuel Wentworth of Boston, three ministers of the gospel, and Mesech Weare, who was to become governor of New Hampshire in 1776. The name is probably for Francis Egerton (1736-1803), the third and last Duke of Bridgewater; a grandson of John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough, and also related to the Granvilles.

Francis Egerton was one of the most remarkable men of his age. He was the only survivor of a large family of brothers and sisters. Much despised by his mother for his supposed awkwardness, he was left to the care of stable boys and lower servants until he was nine, when he became heir to the dukedom and was hustled off to Eton to be birched into some semblance of manners. At twenty-one he suceeded to the title and estates. At one time Bridgewater was engaged to Elizabeth, the widowed Duchess of Hamilton, but broke off the match because she refused to stop associating with her unconventional sister, Lady Coventry. He never married and preferred to live in seclusion at his estate at Worsley in Lancashire, six miles northwest of Manchester.

The Duke of Bridgewater is considered to have been the father of the British inland waterways system, which transformed the industrial life of the country. Single-handedly in the 1760's he financed, and had the necessary bills put through parliament, for a canal from the coal mines in Worsley to Manchester, six miles away; later he paid for another canal, from Manchester to Liver pool. Bridgewater financed the first canal from his own fortune, managing by the most rigid economies to live on £500 a year. Despite his personal economies, it is said that he was most generous with the workmen. After the Manchester stretch of the canal was put into use, tourists came from all over the world to see ships passing over ships by means of the aqueduct over the River Irwell.

The Duke was a patron of Turner long before that artist became famous, and he filled his Worsley estate with pictures and porcelain. When war was declared on France, he immediately subscribed £100,000 to the cause. However, his greatest contribution to the nation was cheap transportation on his canals.

Since Benning Wentworth always tried to please as many people as possible when he named towns, it is possible he may have had Bridgewater in the Massachusetts Bay colony in mind as well as the English peer. That town was chartered and named in 1656 for the first Earl of Bridgewater, John Egerton (1579-1649). Somewhat later than the incorporation of Vermont's Bridgewater, Connecticut, New York, Maine and New Hampshire all named towns Bridgewater, making it one of the most popular place-names in the Northeast.

Material excerpted or adapted from Esther Munroe Swift's
Vermont Place-Names: Footprints of History
with the author's permission

Activities
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Goings-on in and near Bridgewater
Calendar of Events provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing.

Contact Info
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Emergency Services (Statewide): 911
Hospital: Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (Hanover, NH) 603-650-5000
Town Clerk:  Nancy Robinson 7335 US RT 4 Bridgewater, VT 05034
 802-672-3334
 M-Th 8-4

Churches, Ministries, Charitables
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United Church of Christ : United Church of Christ

Schools
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Windsor Central Supervisory Union 802-457-1213
Bridgewater Village School 802-672-3464

Neighboring Towns
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This is a basic geographic reference, intended to show relative location of adjacent towns. Directional accuracy is limited to 16 compass points. There isn't even the slightest suggestion that one can necessarily travel directly from one town to the next (as in "You can't get there from here").

Stockbridge Barnard Pomfret
Bridgewater
Killington Woodstock
Mendon Plymouth Reading

Utilities
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Notes about utilities:

  • One electric or phone company indicates that company serves the entire town. More than one of either indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • A listed cable company MIGHT mean the entire town is covered, but not necessarily. More than one listed indicates each serves different areas of town.
  • Unless your area is one served by Vermont's only gas utility, your only option is bottled gas (any dealer).
    Cable Comcast 800-266-2278
    Electric Green Mountain Power 888-835-4672
    Telephone Fairpoint 866-984-2001
    Telephone Vermont Telephone Company 800-279-4049

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    May 25, 2013