Old Langport was situated on the hill at the eastern end of Bow Street, a strategically defensive position. The Celts and Romans came as did the Saxons who had a fortress here. By this time, Langport was an important river port fortified by the Normans. Once a borough with a portreeve, (a mayor or principle magistrate), a corporation and a Town Hall dating back to 1735, Langport has retained much of its medieval character. Many businesses were founded on the strength of the river and the sea but the coming of the railway in 1853 resulted in its rapid decline and the long tradition of the river trade eventually ceased.
Its former glory is today reflected in handsome elegant buildings with beautiful mansard roofs set in an impressive conservation area. Fine houses are flanked by stone walling, railings and steps leading to the 13th Hanging Chapel on the hill. It is said to be the surviving east gate of the defended town. Built over the former main road its passage takes the form of a pointed barrel vault. Red brick, white and grey lias buildings surround it and spectacular views of the levels can be seen between the houses. The site of All Saints Church was the original settlement with its fine exterior clearly seen from the moors in the south. The grave of Walter Bagshot is in the church yard. He became a famous economist, born in Langport, who helped form today's international monetary system. His forbears in the 18th Century established the Langport Bank of Stuckey & Co. connecting Langport to London's financial centre. Langport had had its own mint since Saxon times and their company brought great prosperity to the town for 150 years. The bank has since been absorbed by the Nat West Bank.
Langport is a small town of great contrasts between the tightly defined spaces within the town streets and the open green levels where in summer cattle graze on rich pastures. These meadows support many of the original marsh plants which in turn provide habitats for many varieties of plant and animal life. In winter the flooded moors provide scenes of unprecedented beauty. The unique wetlands of Somerset have given the county its name 'sumer saeta', the land of the summer people.