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pensions of £10 each to'six poor persons, (who have since been by another benefactor increased to sixteen), £40 yearly to be given on their marriage to female servants who can produce a certificate of faithful servitude during at least three years, and small sums to be paid as apprentice fees with the boys educated in the School; this benevolent individual left a much larger property for these and other charitable uses; but his will was set aside by the Court of Chancery, under the statute of mortmain, (which disallows the bequeathing of lands for charitable purposes), and his personal estate only was allowed to be thus appropriated. Several other Schools have also been established here, some connected with the Churches, and others with the Dissenting Chapels; one is on the plan of Dr. Bell, and another on that of Joseph Lancaster. Here are also branches of the Royal Humane Society, the Bible Society, and the Peace Society; two Benevolent Societies for visiting and relieving the sick poor; several Friendly Societies, or Benefit Clubs, supported by the poor themselves; a Bank for Savings, two Lodges of Freemasons, &c.
Southampton had anciently a Castle, believed to have been built by the Saxons, the Keep of which remained until a comparatively recent period, when it was demolished, and a small round tower, commanding a delightful prospect, was erected on the high circular mount which formed its site. This tower subsequently became a part of a magnificent pile, of Gothic architecture, reared by the Marquis of Lansdowne, which, after his death, was demolished; and its destruction is said to have taken away the most striking object in a distant view of Southampton.” The Walls with which the town was surrounded have in some places disappeared, but around a large portion of the town their venerable remains still exist, although much hidden by subsequent buildings. The space enclosed by them was about a mile and a quarter; they were strengthened by a number of towers, some of which may yet be seen; and had several Gates; of these, the East Gate was demolished about 50 years ago, and the Water Gate was removed in 1804: beside several Posterns in various parts of the walls, there still remain the West Gate, the Bridle Gate, and one much superior in appearance to the others, called
This majestic portal, which stands at the entrance of the town from London, is principally of the architecture of the fourteenth century; the central part, however, is of much earlier date, and must have been erected soon after the Norman Conquest, if not before. The northern front is composed of a large tower, of a semi-octangular form, in which is the principal gateway, having on each side a lower semi-circular turret, with smaller arches, for foot-passengers. On each side of the great arch is an enormous figure, one said to represent Ascupart, a terrible and warlike giant, and the other Sir Bevis of Southampton, his redoubtable conqueror* Over the central arch of the south front is a statue of George III, presented by the late Marquis of Lansdowne, and occupying the place of a wretched figure, intended to represent Queen Anne. This Gate has suffered much from modern improvements, but is still a grand and striking object. Over the archway is a spacious apartment, used as a Town Hall, and another called the Grand Jury Room, beside some smaller rooms; from the leaded roof of the Gate a beautiful and extensive prospect is enjoyed.
* The reader who has any curiosity as to these heroes, may be gratified by referring to Ellis's Specimens of early English Metrical Romance, where he will find an account of Sir Bevis; his peerless lady Josyan, “ daughter of the King of Ermony,” a country whose situation is not pre. cisely ascertained, even in the best maps; his surprising steed Arundel, and his famous sword Morglay; together with the particulars of his dreadful combat with the giant Ascupart, who afterwards becomes his page, and is baptized in'a " tun of water" at Cologne; their mutual exploits, in killing dragons, boiling “ Sir Murdour," the usurper of Bevis's lands, in a caldron " full of pitch and of brimstone," &c. &c. If, however, the abridgment of Mr. Ellis be thought too brief, the original “ Romance," * which makes only 6 4110 lines of wretched doggerel,” may be consulted.
Southampton is a county in itself, being so constituted by King John, and the Mayor is Admiral of the Liberties, from Southsea Castle to Hurst Castle, and over half the channel between Calshot Castle and the Isle of Wight. The Corporation consists of a Mayor, Recorder, Sheriff, two Bailiffs, and a number of Common Councilmen; they have a Court for the recovery of small debts; and at the Quarter Sessions, held in the Town Hall, all offenders, except in capital cases, are tried. This town has sent two Representatives to Parliament ever since the year 1295; the number of voters is about 700. Four annual Fairs are held here, of which the principal, called Trinity Fair, is opened by the Mayor and Bailiffs, who cause a pole, with a large glove on the top, to be erected; which ceremony is followed by the no less pleasing one of a handsome collation given in the tent of one of the Bailiffs, who is constituted chief magistrate of the Fair; during its continuance no person can be arrested for debt within its precincts, and it is closed, at the end of four days, by the taking down of the pole and glove. Three weekly Markets are held, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and are amply supplied with every requisite; the fish is particularly fine. · The Market House is a commodious building, erected about 1770; and over it is the Audit House, or Council Chamber of the Corporation, an elegant apartment, in which most of the public business of the town is transacted, and where the records, &c. are kept.
The trade of Southampton is extensive; it is principally with Portugal 'for wine and fruit; with the Baltic for hemp, iron, tar, &c.; with the north of England for coals; and with Jersey, Guernsey, and the neighbouring islands, in a variety of articles. The manufactures of silk and carpets are inconsiderable; and ship-building, which was carried on here extensively during the war, is now at a very low ebb. Some compensation has, however, been afforded by the establishment of regular packets, since the peace, to Havre de Grace; but, perhaps, the present prosperity of Southampton may be attributed mainly to the numerous attractions it possesses as a watering place, which bring an increasing crowd of visitants every season.
Its sheltered situation, and the beauty of the surrounding country, are powerful recommendations; it has also a fine beach; convenient warm and cold Baths; a mineral Spring, said to possess nearly the same qualities as that of Tunbridge Wells; public Gardens; handsome Assembly and Ball Rooms; a neat Theatre; convenient Hotels and Lodging Houses; Libraries, Reading Rooms, and, in short, all the paraphernalia of a modern fashionable resort. The Races, held yearly on Stoneham Common, about three miles from the town, and an annual Sailing Match, also afford much amusement to the visitors and the inhabitants. To all these recommendations it may be added that this town is well built, paved, watched, and lighted with
gas; the High Street, even in Leland's time,
one of the fairest streets that is in any town in England,” and this distinction it still maintains; the fine sweep which it makes below Bar-Gate, the number of Churches, with their spires and towers, the multitude of its bow windows, and the handsome shops which line it on each side, give it a character of grandeur and beauty seldom witnessed in provincial towns. At the bottom of this street is the principal Quay, which having been found too small for the increasing commerce of the port, has been enlarged and rendered more convenient. In the front of the Quay is the Custom House, and ranges of warehouses have been built near. The prospect
from hence is exceedingly beautiful, commanding the whole extent of the opposite sylvan shore, the mouth of the Itchin, and the Isle of Wight,
At a short distance from Southampton, on the Itchin, is Bevis Mount, originally a vast conical pile of earth, said to have been thrown up by Sir Bevis, (whose history is probably a mixture of truth and fable), to obstruct the passage of the Danes across the river. The estate in which it is situated, early in the last century, was the property of the celebrated Earl of Peterborough, who here
“ Tamed the genius of the stubborn plain,
Almost as quickly as he conquer'd Spain.", Under his direction the adjacent grounds were formed into a kind of beautiful wilderness, and he erected a pavilion on the top of the hill, commanding a charming prospect, of which the river forms so important a part, that his lordship never would allow any visitor to see it except at high water. Not far from hence are the romantic ruins of the Priory of St. Dionysius, commonly called St. Dennis's Priory, which was founded by Henry I, but was only a small establishment. On the spot occupied by the monastic buildings is now a farm-house, and the only relic of the Priory is a part of the west end of the Church.
Southampton had the honour, in 1674, of giving birth to Dr. Isaac Watts, who was educated at the Free School, and made so great a proficiency in learning, that a subscription, to enable him to pursue his studies at the University, was proposed, and abandoned only in consequence of his preference of the Dissenting ministry; " such he was,” says Dr. Johnson, “ as every Christian church would rejoice to have adopted.” About the age of 27, he was appointed to the charge of a congregation at Stoke Newington, near London; and ten years afterwards was attacked by so violent a fever that his health was irreparably injured. Sir Thomas Abney, a wealthy Dissenter, invited him to become his guest; and under this hospitable roof he passed the remainder of his days, “ being treated with all the kindness that friendship could prompt, and all the attention that respect could dictate. Notwithstanding his delicate health, he attained the age of 75 years, and