Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for MIDHURST

MIDHURST, a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in Sussex. The town stands on a gentle eminence, adjacent to the river Rother, at an intersection of railways eastward from Southampton to Pulborough, and southward from Haslemere to Chichester, 12 miles N by E of Chichester; has picturesque and hilly environs; is supposed, by some antiquaries, to occupy the site of the Roman station Mida; appears to have been, at Domesday, part of the manor of Easebourne; became afterwards a lordship, in possession of the Bohuns; had, on St. Anne's Hill, an ancient castle of the Bohuns, the foundations of which can still be traced; was long a town of considerable importance; fell eventually into decadence, or at least did not keep pace with the progress of modern improvement; exhibits at present a well built appearance, with clean streets; enjoys so fine an atmosphere that its inhabitants are remarkable for longevity; is a seat of petty sessions and county courts, and a polling-place; and ha-s a head post office,† a railway station, a banking office, three chief inns, a town hall, a church, Calvinistic and Baptist chapels, a mechanics' institution with a good library, a national school, and charities £179. The church is later English; was recently repaired and enlarged; consists of nave, S aisle, and chancel, with low embattled tower; and had formerly a great tomb of the Montagnes, which is now at Easebourne. A grammar school was founded in 1672, by Gilbert Hannam, "for teaching twelve poor men's sons in Midhurst;" had an endowment of £33 a year; and boasts among its pupils Sir Charles Lyell, the geologist; but, either from the inadequacy of the endowment, or from some occult cause, sank some years ago into insignificance, and is now defunct. A weekly corn market is held on Thursday; and cattle fairs are held on 6 April, 29 Oct., and WhitTuesday. The town is a borough by prescription. It is governed by a bailiff, chosen at the court-baron of the manor; it sent two members to parliament from the time of Edward the IV. till the passing of the act of 1832, and it now sends one. Its old borough limits were not quite co-extensive with Midhurst parish; but its borough limits, under the act of 1832, describe a circle upon a radius of 4 miles, and include the entire parishes of Midhurst, Easebourne, Chithurst, Cocking, Didling, Graffham, and Heyshott, the tything of South Ambersham, parts of the parishes of Bepton, Bignor, Iping, Linch, Lodsworth, Selham, Stedham, Trotton, Woolavington, and Woolbeding, and part of the tything of North Ambersham. Acres, 22,188. Amount of property and income tax charged in 1863, £1,966. Electors in 1833,252; in 1868,362. Pop. in 1851,7,021; in 1861, 6,405. Houses, 1,282. Dunford House, the seat of the late R. Cobden, Esq., and the ruins of Cowdray, belonging to the Earl of Egmont, are in the neighbourhood of the town; and both have been separately noticed. The parish includes the liberty of St. John of Jerusalem, and comprises 671 acres. Real property, £4,668. Pop. in 1851,1,481; in 1861,1,340. Houses, 287. The manor went from the Bohuns, by marriage, to Sir David Owen; was sold by him, in 1528, to Sir William Fitzwilliam; passed to Lord Montague and to W. S. Poyntz, Esq.; and belongs now to the Earl of Egmont. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Chichester. Value, £170. Patron, the Earl of Egmont.—The sub-district contains also the parishes of Easebourne, Cocking, Selham, Lodsworth, Tillington, Woolavington, and Woolbeding, and the tything of South Ambersham. Acres, 20,218. Pop., 5,258. Houses, 1,057.—The district comprehends also the sub-district of Fernhurst, containing the parishes of Fernhurst, Linchmere, Linch, North Chapel, and Lurgashall, and the tything of North Ambersham; and the sub-district of Harting, containing the parishes of Harting, Elsted, Treyford, Didling, Bepton, Stedham, Iping, Trotton, Chithurst, Terwick, and Rogate. Acres, 65,720. Poor rates in 1863, £8,399. Pop. in 1851,13,599; in 1861,12,581. Houses, 2,474. Marriages in 1863,89; births, 361,-of which 27 were illegitimate; deaths, 248,-of which 74 were at ages under 5 years, and 7 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60,808; births, 3,731; deaths, 2,380. The places of worship, in 1851, were 25 of the Church of England, with 4,178 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 730 s.; 2 of Baptists, with 375 s.; 1 of Bible Christians, with 139 s.; 1 undefined, with 30 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 100 s. The schools were 17 public dayschools, with 1,094 scholars; 8 private day-schools, with 426 s.; 12 Sunday schools, with 708 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 10 s. The workhouse is in Easebourne; and, at the census of 1831, had 100 inmates.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, and a district"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Midhurst Ch/CP       Midhurst SubD       Midhurst PLU/RegD       Sussex AncC
Place: Midhurst

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