THE Yorkshire seaside town of Bridlington has been known by several names down the centuries by those fortunate enough to live there: Bretlington, Brillinton, Breddelinton and Bolliton among them.

There are various theories about where the name comes from. The Bridlington Today website suggests the town could be named after the Bridlings, the sons of or descendants of Bridla – who was possibly the Anglo-Saxon chieftain who established a settlement here.

Another theory is the name is derived from the Norse word “berlingr” – meaning smooth water.

Certainly the town has been around for a long time. Roman roads and villas can be found nearby, and near Sewerby an Anglican cemetery marks the spot where the Angle, King Ida, landed in 557 AD.

The priory dates back to medieval times, when it had its own harbour, at the mouth of the “Gypsey Race”.

“The monastery at the priory had its own ships,” writes historian Mike Hitches, in his fascinating book of old photographs of the town, Bridlington Through Time. “One, the Mariole, is known to have exported locally-produced wool.”

By Victorian times, this was a fishing town. About 300 fishing boats were known to be using the harbour in 1902, writes Mr Hitches – 84 of them Bridlington based. It was also an important southern base for the Scottish fishing fleet, which would often call into the harbour, with “as many as 100 vessels at the port on August Sundays”.

Following the arrival of the railway, the town also opened as a resort, with large-scale building between the Promenade and seafront, to create the town we know today.

Our images today, all from Mike’s book, capture something of Bridlington’s history as a port, fishing town and resort. The main image, which seems to be a sketch or etching, shows an artist’s impression of the harbour in the 18th century, complete with sailing ship rigged and ready to leave.

• Bridlington Through Time by Mike Hitches is published by Amberley, priced £14.99