Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for SOUTHAMPTON

SOUTHAMPTON, a town, a district, and a division, in Hants. The town stands on the river Itchin, Southampton water, and the Southwestern railway, 12 miles SSW of Winchester; ranks as a great head-seaport; commands inland navigation, up the Itchin, to Winchester; is a focus of railway lines for the S parts of Hants; and has facile railway communication with all parts of the kingdom.

History.—Southampton arose out of the decay of the Roman station Clausentum at Bittern; was ravaged by the Danes in 873, 930, 942, 980, and 992; is supposed to have had a castle, and other fortifications, at these dates; was made a mint town by Athelstane; became an occasional residence of Canute; was known, at Domesday, as Hantun, or Hantune, and is thought to have got that name from the river Ant or Anton; acquired, about 1153, a new castle, now represented by little more than the site; was the landing-place of Henry II. in 1173; became a great mart for wine in 1216; was sacked and burnt, by an allied force of French, Spanish, and Genoese in 1338; had its defences rebuilt and extended, with increased strength, in the following year; furnished 21 ships and 576 mariners toward Edward III.'s fleet in 1345; was that monarch's place of embarkation for the battlefields of Crecy and Poictiers; suffered an attack by the French in 1377; was afterwards refortified by Richard II.; was the rendezvous of Henry V.'s army, the scene of Scrope's conspiracy, and the place of Henry V.'s embarkation for Agincourt, in 1415; witnessed a fierce skirmish between the contending parties in the wars of the Roses; was the starting-point of the Marquis of Dorset's expedition, in aid of Ferdinand against France, in 1512; was the rendezvous of a large fleet, under the Earl of Surrey, to escort the emperor Charles V., in 1522; was visited by EdwardVI., in 1552; was the landing-place of Philip II. of Spain, in 1554; suffered a terrible visitation of plague in 1695; fell greatly into decay after that visitation; experienced increase of decay from the successful rivalry of Portsmouth; began to revive about the beginning of the present century, through visits of the Duke of York, and through business arising from the Continental wars; got a powerful rise from the opening of the Southwestern railway to it in 1840, and from the subsequent formation of docks; and increased its population fully six-fold between 1801 and 1861. Among its natives have been Bishop Lake, Bishop Pococke, Secretary Lake, the theologian N. Fuller, Dr. Isaac Watts, and the song-writer Dibdin.

Structure.—The site of the town is a high gravelly bank, sloping in every direction, and skirted round two-thirds of the outline by estuary. The old or original town occupies the SW corner; and was formerly engirt with walls 1¼ mile in circuit, pierced with gates and surmounted by towers. Parts of the wall, three of the gates, and four of the towers are still standing; and one of the gates, called Bargate, bestrides High-street, is embattled and machicolated, and has an upper apartment capacious enough to serve as the town hall. The new town stands compactly with the old; comprises some portions chiefly occupied by the working classes, other portions chiefly or wholly genteel; includes good streets, squares, and terraces; spreads away into pleasant suburbs and outskirts; and, in one part, commands fine views over Southampton-water. Picturesque timber houses, once prominent in the old town, have disappeared; but numerous stone cellars, with arched vaults, once the basements of stately merchants' houses, still exist. A tower, called by Leland a castelet, and built either in the time of Henry VIII. or at an earlier date, stands attached to the S gate, and was long used as a town-jail. The Audit-House, in High-street, stands over a market place; was erected about 1770; and contains the records and regalia of the corporation. The new jail was built in 1855, at a cost of £24,000; is in the Tudor style, of red brick, with stone-dressings; and has capacity for 76 male and 40 female prisoners. The barracks, in the N environs, were built about the beginning of the present century; occupy an area of 2 acres; and are now used, instead of the tower of London, as the Ordnance Survey office for England. The corn exchange and the custom-house are of recent erection. The public baths were built at a cost of £7,000. The theatre was built about the beginning of the present century, and occupies the site of an ancient hospital. The music-hall was built in 1865, and is of rather florid design. The Hampshire banking office was rebuilt in 1866, and is a handsome edifice in the Italian style. The Southern yacht club-house also is in the Italian style. There are monuments to Dr. Watts and Viscount Palmerston, archery grounds, and a botanic garden.

Ecclesiastical Affairs.—The livings within the borough are the rectories of St. Mary, All Saints, and St. Lawrence-with-St. John, the vicarages of Holyrood and St. Michael, and the p. curacies of Jesns Chapell, St. Mark, Holy Trinity, St. Matthew, St. James, Weston, St. Luke, Christchurch, St. Peter, St. Paul, Zion Chapel, and St. Julien. Value of St. Mary, £1,000;* of All Saints and Holy Trinity, each £300; of St. L.-with-St. J., £148; of Holyrood, £379; of St. Michael, £140;* of Jesus Chapel, £170; of St. Mark, £150; of St. Matthew, £150; of St. James and St. Luke, each £300; of Weston, £40; of Christchurch and St. Peter, each £200; of the others, not reported. Patron of St. Mary, All Saints, St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. James, St. Luke, and Christchurch, the Bishop of W.; of St. L.-with-St. John, and St. Michael, the Lord Chancellor; of Holyrood, Queen's College, Oxford; of Jesus Chapel, Mrs. W. L. Davies; of Holy Trinity, the Rector of St. Mary; of Weston, the Rev. W. P. Hulton; of St. Peter, the Rector of All Saints; of St. Paul, the Rev. Dr. Cary; of the others, not reported. The places of worship within the borough, at the census of 1851, were 10 of the Church of England, with 10,181 sittings; 2 of Independents, with 2,558 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 920 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 250 s.; 2 of Unitarians, with 470 s.; 1 of Wesleyans, with 1,100 s.; 1 of Primitive Methodists, with 273 s.; 2 of Bible Christians, with 280 s.; 2 of isolated congregations, with 950 s.; 1 of French Protestants, with 250 s.; 1 of the Catholic and Apostolic Church, with 150 s.; 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 200 s.; 1 of Roman Catholics, with 300 s.; and 1 of Jews, with 77 s.

St. Michael's church was originally Norman, but has been entirely modernized; includes Norman tower arches and later English chancel; and has a centra1 low tower, surmounted by a lofty octagonal modern spire. All Saints church was erected in 1792, after designs by Reveley; and is in fine Grecian style, Ionic and Corinthian. Holyrood church is variously decorated English, perpendicular, and modern. St. Mary's church was rebuilt in the early part of last century; and has a fine stained glass E window, in the later English style, put up in 1865. St. Julien's church was originally the chapel of a Domus Dei, erected near the end of the 12th century; was given by Elizabeth to Walloon refugees; is still used as the French church; and retains, with little alteration, the transition Norman architecture of its original structure. An Independent chapel was built in 1662; and a Wesleyan chapel, in 1790. A Baptist chapel, in the Grecian style, with Corinthian portico, at a cost of £5,000, was built in 1865. A spacious cemetery, long the chief one of the town, is connected with St. Mary's church; and an ultramural cemetery, of 10 acres, was recently formed on a common to the SE. A grey friary was founded in 1290; and was used, in recent times, as a store. A black canonry was founded, in the time of Henry I., on the Itchin 2 miles above the town; and was endowed by Richard I. and other kings. A lepers' hospital was founded at an early period; went, long before the Reformation, to the black canonry; and has disappeared.

Schools and Institutions.—The schools within the borough, at the census of 1851, were 20 public day-schools, with 3,22 4 scholars; 126 private day-schools, with 2,285 s.; and 22 Sunday schools, with 3,504 s. The grammar-school was rebuilt on the site of an old hall; has £31 a year from endowment; and had Bishop Reynolds and Dr. Watts for pupils. Taunton's school gives education to 10 boys; is connected with certain charities; and, together with these, has £201 a year from endowment. Other public schools are diocesan, parochial, national, British, infant, and a school of industry for girls.-The Hartley institution was built in 1862, at a cost of £12,000; is in the Italian renaissance style, highly ornamental; has a frontage of 73 feet, and a flankage of 172 feet, with reserved ground 128 feet for further extension; and contains a lecture-hall 65 feet by 56, a museum 50 feet by 25, a reading room 70 feet by 23, a library-room, class-rooms, and other apartments. A mechanics' institution and a literary and scientific institution preceded the Hartley institution.-Thorner's alms houses for 26 widows are conjoined with certain other charities; and, together with these, have £834 a year from endowment. St. John's hospital is of old date; became connected with the workhouse, and has £40 a year. There are an infirmary, a dispensary, a lying-in charity, a female penitentiary, and other benevolent institutions. The total of endowed charities is about £1,730.

Trade and Commerce.—The town has a head post- office‡ in High-street, receiving post-offices‡ at Above-Bar, Northam, Prospect-place, and St. Mary's, a r. station with telegraph, four banking offices, and seven chief inns; is a seat of sessions and county-courts, and a polling place; and publishes two newspapers. General markets are held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays; a corn market, on Fridays; fairs, on 6 and 7 May, and on Trinity Monday and Tuesday; and a regatta, in August. Ship-building, coach-building, sugar-refining, brewing, and the manufacture of silks and carpets are carried on. Commerce is much more extensive than trade. The harbour is both capacious and facile, and has excellent artificial appurtenances. Southampton-water commences at the mouth of the Anton river, 3 miles WNW of the town; extends 10¼ miles south-eastward to the Solent; increases somewhat gradually from a width of nearly a mile to a width of about 2 miles; has good anchorage; and is defended at the entrance, by Calshot castle. A wooden landing-pier, 1,000 feet long and 36 feet wide, was constructed in 1833, at a cost of £10,000; describes a curve, somewhat in the form of a small segment of a circle; has a fixed light, put up in 1841; and serves as a public promenade. An iron-pier, at a cost of nearly £60,000, was completed in 1866. A tidal dock of 16 acres, with 3,100 feet of quayage, and with from 18 to 21 feet of water, was completed in 1842, at a cost of £140,000. There are also a floating dock for ships, a dock for colliers, and three graving docks. The vessels belonging to the port, at the beginning of 1844, were 136 small sailing-vessels, of aggregately 3,713 tons; 110 large sailing-vessels, of aggregately 15,106 tons; 14 small steam-vessels, of aggregately 404 tons; and 24 large steam-vessels, of aggregately 7,651 tons. The vessels which entered in 1863, were 51 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 4,203 tons, from British colonies; 3 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,006 tons, from British colonies; 74 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 8,771 tons, from foreign countries; 388 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 27,541 tons, from foreign countries; 268 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 60,038 tons, from British colonies; 376 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 173,751 tons, from foreign countries; 49 foreign steam-vessels, of aggregately 80,205 tons, from foreign countries; 1,438 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 154,636 tons, coastwise; and 140 steam-vessels, of aggregately 57,580 tons, coastwise. The vessels which cleared in 1863, were 61 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 5,357 tons, to British colonies; 17 British sailing-vessels, of aggregately 1,958 tons, to foreign countries; 357 foreign sailing-vessels, of aggregately 24,539 tons, to foreign countries; 275 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 65,017 tons, to British colonies; 366 British steam-vessels, of aggregately 166,629 tons, to foreign countries; 48 foreign steam-vessels, of aggregately 81,167 tons, to foreign countries; 715 sailing-vessels, of aggregately 34,452 tons, coastwise; and 131 steam-vessels, of aggregately 7,364 tons coastwise. The amount of customs in 1863, was £107,598. Steamers sail regularly to many of the chief ports in all parts of the world; also to the Channel Islands, Plymouth, Falmouth, and Dublin; and many times a-day to the Isle of Wight.

The Borough.—S. was first chartered by Henry I.; has sent two members to parliament since the time of Ed- ward I.; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 10 aldermen, and 30 councillors; and, both parliamentarily and municipally, comprises the parishes of St. Mary, All Saints, St. Lawrence, St. John, Holyrood, and St. Michael, and the tything of Portswood. The supply of water is drawn partly from a very deep artesian well in the town, and partly from springs collecting into a reservoir on a common 1¼ mile to the NW. The police force, in 1864, comprised 57 men, at an annual cost of £3,716. The crimes committed, in 1864, were 29; the persons apprehended, 33; the known depredators and suspected persons at large, 1,676; the houses of bad character, 191. The corporation revenue is about £7,200. Amount of property and income-tax charged in 1863, £17,385. Real property in 1860, 195,217; of which £4,500 were in railways, and £520 were in gasworks. Electors in 1833, 1,403; in 1863, 4,124. Pop. in 1851, 35,305; in 1861, 46,960. Houses, 7,712.

The District.—The poor-law district excludes Ports- wood tything, and is otherwise conterminate with the borough-Acres, 2,630; of which 660 are water. Poor rates in 1863, £23,805. Pop. in 1851, 34,098; in 1861, 43,414. Houses, 7,034. Marriages in 1863, 480; births, 1,663,-of which 75 were illegitimate; deaths, 928,-of which 354 were at ages under 5 years, and 14 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 5,057; births, 14,601; deaths, 9,477. The workhouse was erected in 1867; is in the Italian style, of red brick; includes boardroom, master's residence, offices, chapel, and infirmary; and has accommodation for 518 inmates. -The division comprises Mainsbridge hundred, and Beaulieu and Dibden liberties. Acres, 64,145. Pop. in 1851, 18,911; in 1861, 21,996. Houses, 4,311.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a district, and a division"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Southampton CP       Southampton PLU/Inc/RegD       Hampshire AncC
Place names: HANTUN     |     HANTUNE     |     SOUTHAMPTON
Place: Southampton

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