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Passing down East-street, we shall come to St. Mary's Church, the reputed mother church of the town, it being- mentioned as a rectory in a royal charter so long ago as 1317, while the four ecclesiastical foundations in Henry's charter are termed " chapels." The present structure was built on the site of a church burnt down a century and a half ago, after it had been for some time in ruins ; and visitors will be glad to hear that the present rector, the Rev.
Basil Wilberforce, son of the late Bishop of Winchester, has commenced a scheme for building a new church, which it may be hoped will form a structure worthy of the town and this important parish, and, if possible, not occupy the present unsuitable site, but a more commanding position in the " Deanery " grounds at the bottom of East-street. The rectory, which is a valuable one, is called the Deanery, because in earlier times the foundation of St.
Mary, with the abbeys of Beaulieu and Netley and a number of churches in the suburbs, formed the deanery of Southampton.
This is the last out of a total of 13 churches in the town calling for notice here.
Adjoining St. Mary's churchyard is the Southampton Poor-house, erected a few years since in place of one built in the town more than two centuries ago, the Mayor and Corporation in 1630 j ^ . engaging with the executor of John Hursley) to provide a workhouse for the poor in consideration of receiving £200 he had left for that purpose. The building which the present fabric superseded was erected about a hundred years since, when the local authorities anticipated modern legislation by obtaining an Act of Parliament incorporating all the parishes in the town in one union, and under its provisions the Guardians have ever since acted.
Near the Poorhouse is Albion Congregational Chapel, a comparatively modern offshoot from the chapel Above Bar. The latter congregation has a history of its own of rare interest, which it is to be hoped will some day be written by a competent hand. The passing of the Act of Uniformity in 1662 led to the vacation of two benefices in Southampton, the Rev. Giles Say being expelled from St. Michael's and the Rev. Nathaniel Robinson from All Saints, and both imprisoned. Mr. Say on his release went to Norfolk, but the Rev. Nathaniel Robinson, remaining in Southampton, gathered around him a body of Dissenters, who eventually founded the Congregational Church, Above Bar. Mr. Thorner and the father of Isaac Watts were among the earliest prominent members of this Church, and for it chiefly the doctor afterwards composed his hymns. They were used in the chapel until a few years since, when the collection was superseded by the hymn book pub-
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