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Southampton is a seaport, parliamentary and municipal borough, union, and market town, seat of a county court, district registry of the High Court of Justice and head of a rural deanery, in the archdeaconry and diocese of Winchester, watering place, railway station, a polling place for the Southern division of the county (Hants) and a county of itself, under the designation of "the Town and County of the Town of Southampton," 75 miles from London by road, 785 by the London and South Western railway, 13 south-by-west from Winchester, 61 from Dorchester, 23 south-east from Salisbury, 18 north-west from Portsmouth by road and 26 by rail, 8 south-east from Romsey, 15 northeast from Lymington, 12 north from Cowes and 27 west from Chichester. To the northeast of the present town, on the opposite bank of the Itchen, where Bitterne now stands, the Romans had a military station called Clansentum,. which was succeeded by the Anglo-Saxon town of Hantune. Canute, after his establishment on the throne, made this town his occasional residence. Southampton derived its importance in Norman times from being the port of Winchester. Richard IT. enlarged the castle and strengthened the fortifications which had been erected for the defence of the town and harbour. Henry V. previously to the battle of Agincourt, marshalled his army here in August, 1415, for his expedition against France, and during his stay in the town detected a conspiracy formed against him by his cousin, Richard Plantagenet, Earl of Cambridge, Henry, Lord Scroop, and Sir Thomas Grey, who were executed for treason andburied in the chapel of an ancient hospital, called God's House, which is still remaining and used as a church for French Protestants. In the reign of Edward V.. the town had materially increased in extent and import-
ance, and its trade became so flourishing that the Lord Mayor of London was appointed collector of the duties at this port. Philip, King of Spain, on his arrival in England to espouse Queen Mary, landed at this port, July 20, 1554, and was entertained at the sheriff's house by the mayor and his brethren.
The ancient part of the town was formerly inclosed with walls nearly a mile and a quarter in circuit, of which considerable portions, with their ruined circular towers, are still entire, the most important being that reaching from the West Gate along the shore northward. Of the ancient gates, the principal now remaining are West Gate, South Gate and Bar Gate, in relation to which last _ the more modern part of the town is distinguished by the appellation of " Above Bar," from the other part, which is called High street.
When the ancient castle became the property of Lord Stafford, the tower which crowned the keep was pulled down : in 1804 the estate was purchased by Henry, third Marquess of Lansdowne k.g. who, at a considerable expense, rebuilt the castle on a large scale : on his death, 31st January, 1863, it became the property of several persons, by whom it was taken down and the materials disposed of. The site is now occupied by houses.
The town is beautifully situated on a peninsula, rising gradually from the northern shore of the Southampton Water and bounded 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 two bridges across the Itchen to Bitterne (viz. Northam bridge and Cobden Free bridge), and in addition a steam floating bridge (the Itchen ferry to Itchen, in the parish of St. Mary Extra); these
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