Southampton (18th century)

included in Southampton

old map
Shown on an old map by Harrison 1788
- settlement, town - fortification - Waltham Hundred - Hampshire
Period - 1780s
refce: Harrison 1788

old map
South Hampton
Shown on an old map by Badeslade 1742
- settlement, town - Hampshire
Period - 1740s
refce: Badeslade 1742
Market Tuesd: & Frid: Fairs Apr. 2 Trinity Mond
... the Test, & Itchin, meet at Southampton ... fall into the Sea

The place is described in text Cox 1738
- fortification - settlement, town - Hampshire
refce: Cox 1738
Southampton, the chief Town of this County, from which it takes its Name. It is situated between two Rivers, which run, the one on the West Side, which is the Tese or Anton, and the other on the East, which is the Alre or Itching. Near it, if it be not the same, stood once another Town, called Clausentum, by Antoninus, as seems probable from the Distance of it, from Regnum on the one Side, and Venta on the other. And as Trisanton signifies the Bay of Anton, so Clausentum signifies in the British Language, the Port Entum, for Claudh among the Britons immediately implied the same, ... An Haven made by casting up Banks of Earth.
In the Reign of King Edward III. when that Prince and Philip of Valois contended for the Kingdom of France, it was burnt quite down by the French; but of the Ashes thereof presently sprung up a more conveniently situated Town, which remains still, and is washed by the two forementioned Rivers, fortified with double Ditches and strong Walls with Battlements and Watch-Towers, People flocking to it upon the Account of Trade and Navigation; which to encourage and maintain, King Richard II. built a strong Castle of square Stone upon an high raised Mount, that it might be a Defence for the Harbour.
This Town, as Mr. Camden says, was in his Time famous for the Number and Neatness of the Buildings, for the Riches of the Inhabitants, and the great Resort of Merchants; but it is not now in the same flourishing Condition as formerly: For having lost much of its Trade by the Wars with France, and other Accidents, it has also lost many of its Inhabitants. The Merchants great Houses are empty and now falling to the Ground; melancholy Signs of the former Magnificence: Yet here is still a small foreign Trade driven, and Officers employed to take Care of his Majesty's Customs, viz. a Collector, a Customer inward and another outward, a Comptroller, Searcher, and other inferior Officers. The Dock is supposed to be in the Place, where the Roman Fort anciently stood, and a golden Coin was lately dug up thereabouts.
The Streets are spacious, and one of them, which is six furlongs in length, leads directly down to the Dock, in which Ships of considerable Burden may ride. It is a Town and County governed by a Mayor, nine Justices, a Sheriff, two Bailiffs, twenty-four Common Council Men, and as many Burgesses, having a Right to choose Members for Parliament, who in this Session are, Richard Fleming and Thomas Lewis Esq; It being a County of it self, it is independent upon the Lord Lieutenant of this Shire, which privilege was given it by King Henry VIII.
Here are three Markets weekly, on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, which much enrich the Town; and two good Fairs on the Feast of St. Mark, and Trinity-Monday. Provisions are very plentiful and cheap at them, the Land producing Corn and Pastures, and the Sea many sorts of Fish, as Soles, Lobsters, &c. which are as good here as any where in England. The Assizes are usually kept here, and tho' it be seventy-two Miles from London, there has been a Stage-Coach for some Years, that has run thro' in a Day all the Summer.

descriptive text

Period - 18th century, early
refce: Defoe 1724
On the other bank [of the Itchen, travelling west] stands the antient town of Southampton, and on the other side of Southampton comes down another large river, entring Southampton Water by Red-Bridge; so that the town of Southampton stands upon a point running out into the sea, between two very fine rivers [Itchen and Test], both navigable, up some length into the country, and particularly useful for bringing down timber out of one of the best wooded counties in Britain; for the river on the west side of the town in particular comes by the edge of the great forest, call'd New-Forest; ...
... the very great consumption of timber in King William's reign, by building or rebuilding almost the whole navy; and notwithstanding so many of the king's ships were built hereabouts [Portsmouth, Bursledon, etc], besides abundance of large merchant ships, which were about that time built at Southampton, ..., &c.
Southampton is a truly antient town, for 'tis in a manner dying with age; the decay of the trade is the real decay of the town; and all the business of moment that is transacted there, is the trade between us and the islands of Jersey and Guernsey, with a little of the wine trade, and much smuggling: The building of ships also is much stop'd of late; however, the town is large, has many people in it, a noble fair High-Street, a spacious key; and if its trade should revive, is able to entertain great numbers of people: There is a French church, and no inconsiderable congregation, which was a help to the town, and there are still some merchants who trade to Newfoundland, and to the Streights with fish; but for all other trade, it may be said of Southampton as of other towns, London has eaten it up. The situation of the town between two rivers was to its advantage formerly in point of strength, and the town was wall'd with a very strong wall, strengthen'd with a rampart, and a double ditch; but I do not hear that they ever were put to make much use of them.
Whatever the fable of Bevis of Southampton, and the gyants in the woods thereabouts may be deriv'd from, I found the people mighty willing to have those things pass for true; and at the north gate of the town, the only entrance from the land side, they have the figures of two eminent champions, who might pass for gyants, if they were alive now, but they can tell us very little of their history, but what is all fabulous like the rest, so I say no more of them.

The place is described in text Bowen 1720 (plates 129 and 130)
- Clausentium
refce: Bowen 1720 (plates 129 and 130)
Southampto~ / Supposed to stand on the ruins of the old Clausentium, Is a place of antiquity and Note, wither the Saxon & Danish Kings used frequently to resort. K. Canutus, after many prosperous Battles, becoming sole Monarch of England, & hapning to be iin this Town; the Paresites abt. him complimented him with Divine Attributes, and would feign have persuaded him all things were subject ot his Royal Will. To expose such false & fullsome flattery : The King ordered his Chair of State to be brought to the Seaside; wherein sitting in ye presence of his Court[i]ers, he spake to ye Ocean after this manner, 'Thou art my Subject, & the Ground wheron I sit is mine, nor have any hitherto been disobedient to me, without being severley punished. Therefore I, strictly charge & comand thee not to approach my Ground, or wet the Cloaths or Feet of me thy Lord and Master.' But the angry Sea [whose raging is only still'd by its Great Creator] regardless of the King's Comands and Threats, continued its wonted Course, and rudely wet his Majesties Feet & Robes. Whereupon starting up a suddain he thus expresses himself. 'Let / Continued in ye following Page.
the Arms of SOUTHAMPTON / 'Let this convince ye whole World, That poor and Weak is ye power of its greatest Monarchs, & that is worthy of ye Title of King, but he whose Will being an eternal Law, ye Heavens & Earth & Sea obey; And he would never after suffer ye Crown to be put on his Head, but imediately crowned ye Statue of our Saviour at Winchester with it. In ye Wars between K Ed. 3d. & Philip of Valois, it was burnt by ye French, & out of its Ashes presently rose up ye more flourishing Town now standing, wch. is washed wth. 2 Rivers, Tese & Itching, surrounded with double Ditches & strong Walls, with Battlements, & fortifyed wth. a Castle, built all of square stone by K. Rich. 2d. upon a high raised Mount for ye security of ye Town & Harbor; K. Hen 5th. intending his 1st. expedition into France, rendezvous'd wth. his Army here, & discovering a conspiracy of Richd. E. of Cambridg, ye Ld. Scroop, & Sr. Thos. Grey, who were hired by ye French King, for a Million of Gold to destroy him, & ruin ye enterprize, He caused the~ to be imediately condemn'd, beheaded, & buried, in ye Chapl. of Gods house at Winchester, & so proceeded in his Voyage. Here Philip of Spain landed Ao. 1554 when he came to marry Q. Ma. This Town tho' it has suffered by ye Wars, with France, & other Accidents, still retains a good share of trade having in it a Custom house, & a convenient Dock for Ships. It was 1st. incorpd. by K. Hen 2d. then by K. Ino. made a Town & County by K. Hen. 8th. reced~. its last Chart. from K. Ch. 1st. & is now govd. by a Mayr., 9 Iustices, 2 Bayliffs, a Sheriff & 24 Com~ Councl. mn. & 24 Burgs. Memb. for Parl. elect. by ye Burges. & all that pay to ye Chu. & Poor. There are 5 Par. Chs. besides 1 for the French. Mts. Tu. Thu. & Sat. Fairs ye Tu. before Shrovetide, Trin. Mond. St. Marks-d., & Tu. after St. Andrews d. / This Town gives title to his Grace Charles Fitz-Roy Duke of Cleeveland & Southampton Created D. Septembr. 10th. 1675 Cheif Seat at Bayleys in Com~. Bucks.

Hampshire Gazetteer - JandMN: 2001