Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Portland, held by the King's steward who was recorded in the Domesday Book. It is generally believed that the island has been inhabited since at least the Mesolithic period as there is archaeological evidence of Mesolithic inhabitants at the Culverwell Mesolithic Site.
Historically it has been a great source of limestone as Sir Christopher Wren, the architect and Member of Parliament for nearby Weymouth, used six million tons of white Portland limestone to rebuild destroyed parts of London after the Great Fire of London of 1666.
Porlock is a parish and small port, and formerly a market-town, in the union of Williton, hundred of Carhampton in Somerset. "This place, which derives its name from the Saxon Portlocan, 'an inclosed harbour,' is of considerable antiquity, having been a residence of the West Saxon kings, who had an extensive chase here. About the year 918, a band of pirates entered the harbour; but the greater number were slain by the inhabitants, and the rest escaping to the island of Steepholmes, died of hunger. In 1052, Harold, son of Earl Godwin, having sailed from Ireland with nine ships, entered Porlock bay, and, being unsuccessfully opposed by the inhabitants, slew great numbers, set fire to the town, and carried off much booty. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
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