- History of Hampshire
Hampshireis a county in southern England with some notable archaeology and many notable historic buildings.
The chalk downland of the South Downs and southern edges of Salisbury Plain were settled in the
neolithic, and these settlers built hill fortssuch as Winkleburyand may have farmed the valleys of Hampshire. Hampshire was part of an area named "Gwent" or "Y Went" by the Celts, which also covered areas of Somerset and Wiltshire. In the Roman invasion of Britain, Hampshire was one of the first areas to fall to the invading forces. The county was occupied by Jutish tribes until Saxon times. Hampshire was one of the first Saxon shires, recorded in 755, but for two centuries represented the western end of Saxon England, as advances into Dorsetand Somersetwere fought off by the Britons. After the Saxons advanced west Hampshire became the centre of the Kingdom of Wessex, and many Saxon kings are buried at Winchester. A statue in Winchester celebrates the powerful King Alfred, who stabilised the region in the 9th century.
Norman Conquestthe county was favoured by Norman kings who established the New Forestas a hunting forest. The county was recorded in the Domesday Bookdivided into 44 hundreds. These later consolidated to 37. These were Alton, Andover, Barmanstip, Barton Stacy, Basingstoke, Bedbridge, Bondsborough, Bosmere, Buddlesgate, Christchurch, Chutely, Crondall, East Mean, Evinger, Fawley, Finchdean, Fordingbridge, Hambledon, Heling, Holdsett, Kings Somborn, Kingsclear, Mansbridge, Meanstoke, Micheldever, New Forest, Odiham, Overton, Pastrow, Portsdown, Ringwood, Shelbourn, Sutton, Thorngate, Titchfield, Waltham and Wherwell.
Over several centuries a series of
castles and forts were constructed along the coast of the Solentto defend the harbours at Southampton and Portsmouth. These include the Norman Portchester Castlewhich overlooks Portsmouth Harbour, and a series of forts built by Henry VIII including Hurst Castle, situated on a sand spit at the mouth of the Solent, Calshot Castleon another spit at the mouth of Southampton Water, and Netley Castle. Southampton and Portsmouth remained important harbours when rivals, such as Pooleand Bristoldeclined, as they are amongst the few locations that combine shelter with deep water. Southampton has been host to many famous ships, including the " Mayflower" and the "Titanic", the latter being staffed largely by Hampshire natives.
Hampshire played a large role in
World War IIdue to its large Royal Navyharbour at Portsmouth, the army camp at Aldershotand the military Netley Hospitalon Southampton Water, as well as its proximity to the army training ranges on Salisbury Plainand the Isle of Purbeck. Supermarine, the designers of the Spitfire and other military aircraft, were based in Southampton, which led to severe bombing of the city. Aldershot remains one of the British Army's main permanent camps.
The county has in the past been called "Southamptonshire" and appears as such on some Victorian maps. The name of the
administrative countywas changed from 'County of Southampton' to 'County of Hampshire' on April 1, 1959. The short form of the name, often used in postal addresses, is "Hants".
The old name appears as the place of embarkation of many of the immigrants into
Ellis Island. It is recorded in the 'Commonwealth Instrument of Government, 1653[http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1653intrumentgovt.html] ', which was adopted by Oliver Cromwellwhen he assumed the office of 'Lord Protector' in 1654.
Isle of Wighthas been for some purposes in the past treated traditionally part of Hampshire, but has been administered separately from Hampshire for over a century, obtaining a county councilof its own in 1890. The Isle of Wight became a full ceremonial county in 1974. The Island is excluded from the hundreds given above - it was traditionally divided into East Medinaand West Medinahundreds. Apart from a shared police force there are now no formal administrative links between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire.
The towns of
Bournemouthand Christchurch also fall within the traditional county of Hampshire, but were ceded to Dorsetin the local government reorganisation of 1974.
History of England
* [http://www.hantsphere.org.uk/ Hantsphere local history]
* Encyclopædia Britannica, 1911. " [http://59.1911encyclopedia.org/H/HA/HAMPSHIRE.htm Hampshire] ".
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/catalogue.asp?gid=14 Victoria County History of Hampshire] : the local history of the county, organised by parish. Four volumes; part of British History Online.
* [http://www.historicfarnborough.co.uk/ Historic Farnborough]
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