Haslemere (St. Bartholomew)

HASLEMERE (St. Bartholomew), a market-town and parish, and formerly a representative borough, in the union of Hambledon, Second division of the hundred of Godalming, W. division of Surrey, 12½ miles (S. W. by S.) from Guildford, and 42 (S. W.) from London; containing 873 inhabitants. This place is situated on the road to Chichester, by way of Midhurst, and in the south-west angle of the county, where it borders on Sussex and Hampshire, whence the termination of the name, Mere, signifying a boundary; the prefix alludes to the numerous coppices of hazel growing in the vicinity. There is a tradition that the ancient town, which is said to have been destroyed by the Danes, stood on the side of a hill to the east of the present, where the foundations of buildings have frequently been discovered. It was probably rebuilt before the Conquest, as it is mentioned as a borough in Domesday book. In the reign of Henry II. it appertained to the see of Salisbury; and in 1393, the bishop procured a grant for holding a market and a fair, but these had fallen into disuse previously to the charter by Queen Elizabeth. The town stands on very high ground, and is well supplied with water; a hill called Blackdown, at a short distance from it, affords a view of the sea and the surrounding country to a great extent, and in the vicinity is a telegraph. Near the town is a paper-mill. The market is on Tuesday, and there are fairs for live-stock on May 13th and September 26th. The charter for the re-establishment of the market and fair which had been discontinued, was granted in the 38th of Elizabeth; and in this charter it is stated that "the burgesses had from time immemorial, at their own costs, sent two members to parliament." The borough is by prescription, and has a bailiff and constable, who are chosen at the court leet, in April or May. The privilege of electing representatives was only regularly exercised from the 27th of Elizabeth; the right of election was vested in the resident freeholders, or burgage tenants, and the bailiff was the returning officer. The parish comprises 1290 acres, of which 40 are waste or common; the scenery abounds with interesting features. The living is annexed to the rectory of Chiddingfold: the tithes have been commuted for £240. The church is an ancient edifice, situated on an eminence to the north of the town, and consisting of a nave, north aisle, and tower; the east window contains some stained glass in compartments. Here is a place of worship for Independents; and a national school for boys is held over the market-house. The parish receives about £60 per annum from Henry Smith's charity.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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