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Basing (St. Mary)

BASING (St. Mary), a parish, in the union and hundred of Basingstoke, Basingstoke and N. divisions of the county of Southampton, 2 miles (E. N. E.) from Basingstoke; containing 1172 inhabitants. This place is remarkable for having been the scene of the defeat of King Ethelred I. by the Danes, in 871. At the period of the Norman survey, Hugh de Port held fifty-five lordships in the county, of which Basing was the head. The castle was rebuilt, in a sumptuous manner, by Sir William Paulet, Knt., a lineal descendant from Hugh de Port, created Marquess of Winchester by Edward VI., and one of the most polite noblemen of the age: here, in 1560, he entertained Queen Elizabeth, who honoured his great-grandson William, the fourth marquess, with a visit, in 1601. John, the fifth marquess, distinguished himself for his gallant defence of his house at Basing, in the cause of Charles I., through a series of sieges that lasted for two years, at the end of which, in Oct. 1645, it was stormed and taken by Cromwell, who ordered it to be burned to the ground. The fortress and its outworks occupied an area of about fourteen acres and a half, through which the Basingstoke canal now passes; the remains consist principally of the north gateway and part of the outer wall. The river Loddon and the London and Southampton railway run through the parish, which comprises about 4000 acres; the surface is undulated, and the soil chalk, clay, and gravel. The living is annexed to the vicarage of Basingstoke: the great tithes, payable to Magdalen College, Oxford, have been commuted for £705, with a glebe of 19 acres, and those of the incumbent for £475. The church is a large ancient structure, with a central tower, and contains the family vault of the Paulets, in which all the dukes of Bolton of that family have been interred.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.