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The ancient doorway by the'beach, closed up for security at the time the French ravaged the town in 1338, has been restored by the Corporation, to whom the building belongs, who granted a sum of money for that purpose. The Norman window, which fortunately remained in an almost perfect state, has been completely restored. Adjoining this vault is the ancient gateway which lid to the castle. -
Closely adjoining, on the West quay, stands the large hall of the old palace, with .Norman fi replace and windows, and the Solar (or withdrawing room), and is of great interest, specimens of Norman domestic' architecture being so rarely found in this country. The demolition ;of some old properties in the same : locality brought to light a very interesting Wult called the " undercroft," which is of great antiquarian value- .and religiously preserved. ■
/.The town is beautifully situated on _ peninsula, rising gradually from the northern £hore-o£ Southampton Water, and boundec /on the east by the river Itchen, and on the south and west by a fine open estuary formed by the confluence of the Itchen with the river Test. There are, in addition to the docks, a commodious quay and a fine pier with a large pavilion, much frequented in the summer. There are two bridges across the Itchen to Bitterne (viz. Northam bridge, rebuilt upon the piles of the old wooden bridge in the year 1889, of iron arid steel, with three spans, at a cost of .£9,000, and Cobden Free bridge), and in addition stream floating bridge (the Itchen ferry to Woolston, inthe parish of Itchen); these three communications-conriecfcing the town with the eastern bank of Southampton Water! The shores of the estuary or bay are richly wooded, and afford a continuous stretch of finely diversified scenery, studded with vi 1-lages, mansions and villas. Southampton Water, which is about 2 miles broad at its entr ance, - near Calshot Castle, s tretches north-westward nearly 7 miles, and on the eastern shore are the picturesque ruins of Netley Abbey, and on the west is the extensive and beautiful tract of country known as the New Forest. The town is distinguished for the beauty of its situation, and is approached from the London road through an avenue of stately elms; across the common. The principal entrance to- the old portion of the Borough is through the ancient Bar Gate, an embattled and machicolated structure, on the north front of which used to be two gigantic figures (nowpreserved in the Tudor House Museum), representing Sir Bevois of
Southampton and the giant Ascupart, whom, t -according to legendary tale, Sir-Bevois 1- • said to have conquered in single wmoatl. this gate conducts immediately to the High street, which is nearly half a mile in length, and leads directly to the Quay, for the improvement of which ihe old Water Gate was taken down in 1804. In Above Bar street are many fine ranges of buildings.
Adjacent to the entrance to the Royal pier,
aixd in a promenade known as the Western esplanade, is a platform for cannon, where stand eleven pieces of ordnance. It is here that the customary RoyaLand other salutes are fired. " ; :
The town was first incorporated in the reign of Henry I. whose charter was confirmed by Richard I. and by King John, who assigned the customs of the port to the burgesses for an annual payment of .£200.
their privileges were extended arid confirmed by Henry VI. who constituted the town,
with, a surrounding district, into a county of itself, and these privileges were further extended by Charles I. The borough of Southampton, formerly divided into five wards, was in 1890 divided into ten. In 1895 it was extended by the inclusion within its limits of the suburban districts of Shirley. Freemantle and Bitterne Park, arid was. divided into thirteen wards. The Council
consists of'thirteen aldermen and thirty-nine councillors, the mayor, sheriff and senior " and junior bailiffs being chosen from them -quarterly sessions are held by the recorder for the trial of offences not Capital committed within the borough : petty sessions are held daily. The parliamentary borough was coterminous with the old area of the municipal borough, but the "Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885," extended it so as to include the parish of Millbrook, the ecclesiastical district of Holy Saviour, Bitterne, the parish of St. Mary Extra (now Itchen), arid the detached portion of Hound, included within St. Mary Extra. The borough returns two members to parliament. Under the provisions of the " Local Government Act, 1888 " (51 & 52 Vict. c. 41), Southampton became a " County borough " for certain purposes of that Act. ~.
The town is well paved, sewered and ighted, and it has an excellent water supply,
0 fine sanatorium, a municipal dispensary,
school clinic and a floating hospital. In 1898 the Corporation acquired the electric ighting undertaking, and the electric light ias since been introduced into all parts of the borough.
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