- History of Portsmouth
Portsmouthis a port city on the English Channelcoast of Hampshire, England. Its history has been influenced by its association with the sea, and its proximity to London, and mainland Europe.
Portus Adurniwhich later became known as Portchester Castle, was one of the Saxon Shore Fortsand was a major base of the Classis Britannicaand possibly its Headquarters.
Although there have been settlements in the area since before Roman times, mostly being offshoots of
Portchester, Portsmouth is commonly regarded as having been founded in 1180 by John of Gisors ( Jean de Gisors). Most early records of Portsmouth are thought to have been destroyed by Norman invaders following the Norman Conquest. The earliest detailed references to Portsmouth can be found in the Southwick Cartularies.
However, the Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names gives the Anglo-Saxon name "Portesmūða" as late 9th century, meaning "mouth [of the harbour called] Portus" (from Latin). In Anglo-Saxon times a
folk etymology" [harbour] mouth belonging to a man called Port" arose, which caused a statement in the Anglo-Saxon Chroniclethat in 501 AD "Port and his 2 sons, Bieda and Mægla, came with 2 ships to Britain at the place which is called Portsmouth".
Domesday Bookthere is no mention of Portsmouth. However, settlements that later went on to form part of Portsmouth are listed. These are Buckland, Copnor, Fratton on Portsea Islandand Cosham, Wymeringand Drayton on the mainland. At this time it is estimated the Portsmouth area had a population not greater than two or three hundred.
While in the primary diocese of Portsea there was a small church prior to
1166(now St Mary's in Fratton) Portsmouth's first real church came into being in 1181when John of Gisors granted an acre (4,000 m²) of land to Augustinian monks at the Southwick Prioryto build a chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket. This chapel continued to be run by the monks of Southwick Prioryuntil the Reformationafter which its possession was transferred to Winchester College. The modern Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral is built on the original location of the chapel.
Growth of the city
1194, after King Richard I (The Lionheart) returned from being held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria, Richard set about summoning a fleet and an army to Portsmouth, which Richard had taken over from John of Gisors. On May 2, 1194King Richard I gave Portsmouth its first Royal Chartergranting permission for the city to hold a fifteen day annual fair (which became known as the Free Market Fair), weekly markets (on Thursdays), to set up a local court to deal with minor matters, and exemption from paying the annual tax ("farm") of £18 a year--instead the money would be used for local matters. The actual physical charter was handed over by the Bishop of Ely William de Longchamps. The present location of the charter is currently unknown but its text survives, as when later royal charters were granted to the city reaffirming and extending its privileges large parts of the original charter were quoted verbatim.
As a crescent and an eight-point star (as appear on the city's
coat of arms) were to be found on both the seals of King Richard and William de Longchamps it is commonly thought that this may have been the source of them, although there is no known documentary evidence for this.
King Richard later went on to build a number of houses and a hall in Portsmouth. The hall is thought to have been at the current location of the
Clarence Barracks(the area was previously known as Kingshall Green).
1200King John issued another charter to Portsmouth reaffirming the rights and privileges awarded by King Richard. King John's desire to invade Normandyresulted in the establishment of Portsmouth as a permanent naval base.
1212 William of Wrotham(Archdeacon of Taunton, Keeper of the King's Ships) started constructing the first docks of Portsmouth. At about the same time Pierre des Roches, Bishop of Winchester, founded " Domus Dei" (Hospital of St Nicholas) which performed its duties as an almshouse and hospice until 1540 when like other religious buildings it was seized by King Henry VIII).
By the fourteenth century commercial interests had grown considerably, despite rivalry with the dockyard of nearby
Southampton. Common imports included wool, grain, wheat, woad, waxand iron, however the ports largest trade was in winefrom Bayonneand Bordeaux.
War with France
1338a French fleet led by Nicholas Béhuchetarrived at Portsmouth docks flying English flags before anyone realised that they were a hostile force. The French burnt down most of the buildings in the town and many of the population were raped and slaughtered, only the local church and Domus Deisurvived. As a result of this King Edward III gave the remaining townsfolk exemption from national taxes so that they could afford to rebuild the town.
Only ten years after this devastation the town for the first time was struck by the plague known as the
Black Death. In order to prevent the regrowth of Portsmouth as a threat, the French again sacked the city in 1369, 1377and 1380.
King Henry V was the first king to decide to build permanent fortification in Portsmouth. In
1418he ordered a wooden Round Tower be built at the mouth of the harbour, which was completed in 1426. However it wasn't until the Tudor dynastythat Portsmouth's defence was seriously dealt with. Under King Henry VIII the Round Tower was rebuilt out of stone and a Square Tower was raised. It was at this time that Robert Brygandineand Sir Reginald Bray, with the support of the king, commenced the building in Portsmouth of the country's first dry dock. In 1527with some of the money obtained from the dissolution of the monasteries Henry VIII built the fort which became known as Southsea Castle. In 1545, he saw his vice- flagship Mary Rosefounder off Southsea Castle, with a loss of about 500 lives, while going into action against the French fleet.
Admiral Nelsonleft Portsmouth for the final time in 1805 to command the fleet that would defeat the larger Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar.cite web | title = Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson 1758 - 1805 | publisher = Portsmouth City Council's Economy, Culture and Community Safety | date = | url = http://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/history/207.htm | accessdate = 2007-04-02] The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to the city becoming the most fortified in Europe, with a network of forts circling the city.Fact|date=April 2007
From 1808 the Royal Navy's
West Africa Squadron, who were tasked to stop the slave trade, operated out of Portsmouth.
December 21, 1872a major scientific expedition, the Challenger Expedition, was launched from Portsmouth.
In 1904 the boundaries of Portsmouth were extended to finally include the whole of Portsea Island. The boundaries were further extended in 1920 and 1932, taking in areas of the mainland.
In 1916 the city experience its first aerial bombardment when a
Zeppelinairship bombed it during World War I.cite web | title = The Dockyard at War | publisher = Portsmouth Historic Dockyard | date = | url = http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/dockyard_war.htm | accessdate = 2007-04-02]
Southsea beach and Portsmouth Harbour were military embarkation points for the
D-Day landingson June 61944. Southwick House, just to the north of Portsmouth, had been chosen as the headquarters for the Supreme Allied Commander, US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, during D-Day.
After the war, much of the city's housing stock was damaged and more was cleared in an attempt to improve the quality of housing. Those people affected by this were moved out from the centre of the city to new developments such as Paulsgrove and
On 4 July 1968, an estimated 250,000 people witnessed the return of
Alec Rose, a greengrocer in Osborne Road, after he completed his single-handed circumnavigation in "Lively Lady"; he was immediately knighted and made a Freeman of the city. 400 motor-boats, yachts, catamarans and canoes welcomed him into harbour.
University of PortsmouthGained university status in 1992
In 2003 erection was started of a 552 feet high
Spinnaker Towersited at Portsmouth Harbour, and celebrating the city's maritime tradition. Completed in 2005, the tower has twin concrete legs meeting at half height to form a single column from which steel sails are mounted; an observation deck at the top provides a view of the city and harbour for tourists.
In late 2004, the
Tricorn Centre, dubbed "The ugliest building in the UK" was finally demolished after years of delay and wrangling over the cost of doing so, and controversy as to whether it was worth preserving as an example of sixties Brutalist architecture.
2005, Portsmouth was a focus for " Sea Britain", a series of events to mark the 200th anniversary ( bicentenary) of Lord Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. In particular, in June, there was the massive "Fleet Review", by HM Queen Elizabeth IIand a mock battle (son et lumière) that evening, after dark.
1181- Establishment of a church.
1194- Portsmouth awarded its Royal Charter
1212- Establishment of docks.
1212- Domus Deithe first hospital of the city built.
1256- Portsmouth given permission to form a local guild of merchants.
1265- Town sacked and burnt during the Second Barons' War.
1338- French invaders burn down most of the town.
1348- The Black Deathstrikes Portsmouth for the first time.
1426- Portsmouth's first permanent defensive works (the Round Tower) completed.
1449- Portsmouth placed under Greater Excommunicationas a result of the murder of Adam Moleynsthe Bishop of Chichester.
1495- Britain's first dry dockbuilt at Portsmouth.
1510- Mary Rosebuilt in Portsmouth dock yard.
1527- Southsea Castlebuilt.
1561- Britain's first state lotteryfunds further fortifications.
1563- 300 locals die of the plague.
1625- The Plague strikes Portsmouth.
1729- Establishment of the Royal Naval Academy.
1732- Establishment of Portsmouth Grammar School.
1747- Fort Cumberland built at Eastney.
1760- The modern Landport Gate built.
1805- Nelson's fleet sails from Portsmouth for the Battle of Trafalgar
1806- Birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunelin Portsmouth.
1809- The town of SouthseaestablishedFact|date=July 2008.
1811- Introduction of piped water into Portsmouth.
1812- Birth of Charles Dickens in Portsmouth.
1834- Portsmouth hit by earthquake.
1835- The Municipal Reform Actof 1835abolishes Southampton's jurisdiction of the port.
1861- Clarence Pier built
1872- Challenger Expeditionlaunched from Portsmouth
1890- Portsmouth Town Hall built.
1898- Portsmouth F.C., the city's principal football club was founded.
1929- Portsmouth F.C. play their first FA Cup Final but lost 2-0 to Bolton Wanderers
1926- Portsmouth elevated to city status.
1932- Portsmouth Airport opens.
1934- Portsmouth F.C. lose 2-1 to Manchester City their second FA Cup Final
1939- Portsmouth F.C. win FA Cup
1941- Large areas of the city destroyed in air raids.
1949- Portsmouth F.C. crowned Champions of England for the first time.
1950- Portsmouth F.C. crowned Champions of England for the second time.
1966- The Tricorn Centreopened.
1966- HMS "Andromeda" is the last warship launched at Portsmouth Royal Dockyard.
1971- Portsmouth Airport closes after a series of accidents.
1974- Portsmouth becomes a local government district within the county of Hampshire.
1991- The nave of Portsmouth's Anglican cathedralcompleted.
1992- The University of Portsmouthgained university status.
1994- Portsmouth was the start and end point for a stage of the Tour de France.
1997- City of Portsmouth becomes a unitary authority.
2000- Portsmouth suffers flooding due to failure of the emergency water drainage system during heavy rainfall.
2001- MyTV (later renamed PortsmouthTV) launched.
2001- Gunwharf Quaysopened.
2003- The Spinnaker Tower, construction begins.
2004- The Tricorn Centredemolished, with its last shops closed in 2002.
2005- The Spinnaker Toweropened on October 18.
2006- The launch of HMS Clyde (P257)marks the return of shipbuilding to the city.
2008- Portsmouth F.C. win FA Cup
* [http://www.visitportsmouth.co.uk/media/TimelineAW.pdf Timeline]
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