Gilmanton was incorporated in 1727. First known as Gilmantown, the town was home to the Gilman family, originally settled at Exeter. Twenty-four members of the Gilman family received land grants in the new town of Gilmanton. (Other families related to the Gilmans also received grants in the new town, including the Dudleys, the Leavitts, the Folsoms and the Coffins.) At one time it was the second-largest town in the state, following Portsmouth. The original town was larger than it is now, with villages and parishes including Belmont, Gunstock Parish (Gilford), Hurricane, Tioga, Factory Village and Lakeport. A parish first called Averytown, the site of an unprofitable iron-mining enterprise, is still known as Gilmanton Iron Works.