Fordingbridge (St. Mary)
FORDINGBRIDGE (St. Mary), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Fordingbridge, Ringwood and S. divisions of the county of Southampton, 20 miles (W. by N.) from Southampton, through Ringwood, and 92 (S. W. by W.) from London; containing, with the tythings of Bickton, Middle, North, and South Burgate, Godshill, and Midgham, 3073 inhabitants. This town is noticed in Domesday book under the name of Forde, and is stated to have contained a church and two mills: it has suffered repeatedly by fire, particularly at the beginning of the last century. It is pleasantly situated on the border of the New Forest, and on the banks of the Upper Avon, which is here navigable, and crossed by a bridge of seven arches at the southeast entrance into the town. There is a sailcloth manufactory: and formerly the manufacture of bedticks and checks was carried on to a considerable extent, but of these only a small quantity is now made. The market is on Friday, and a fair is held on the 9th of September, chiefly for amusement. The powers of the county debt-court of Fordingbridge, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Fordingbridge and Ringwood. The parish comprises by computation 5818a. 3r. 19p., of which 3382 acres are arable, 1441 meadow, 350 wood, and 623 common. The living is a vicarage, endowed with a portion of the rectorial tithes, valued in the king's books at £30. 2. 3½., and in the gift of the Provost and Fellows of King's College, Cambridge, the impropriators of the remainder of the rectorial tithes: the impropriate tithes have been commuted for £1250, the incumbent's for £670, and the glebe comprises 7½ acres. The church is a handsome structure in the early and decorated English styles, with a square embattled tower rising from the north porch; the west window is large, and beautifully enriched with flowing tracery. There are a chapel of ease at Ibsley, and places of worship in the parish for the Society of Friends and Independents. The poor law union of Fordingbridge comprises 9 parishes or places, of which 6 are in the county of Southampton, and 3 in that of Wilts; and contains a population of 6705. In the neighbourhood are the remains of several encampments; the principal is at Godshill, about two miles from the town.