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Fareham (St. Peter and St. Paul)

FAREHAM (St. Peter and St. Paul), a market-town and parish, and the head of a union, in the hundred of Fareham, S. division of the county of Southampton, 12 miles (E. S. E.) from Southampton, and 73 (S. W.) from London, on the road from Southampton to Portsmouth; containing 6168 inhabitants. This town, which is situated on the north-west branch of Portsmouth harbour, is mentioned in Domesday book as having, from its maritime situation, been much exposed to the invasions of the Danes. In the 34th of Edward I. it returned members to parliament, but in the 36th of the same reign was released from that duty, on petition. It is a neat and flourishing town, occupying an elevated site, and consists chiefly of two spacious streets, the one extending along the road to Titchfield, and the other along that to Bishop's-Waltham; it is lighted with gas, partially paved, and well supplied with water. The environs abound with varied scenery, and with objects of interest. Several wealthy ship-owners live in the town, which has much increased in population and commerce; and from its immediate contiguity to the first naval arsenal in the country, it is the residence of numerous naval and military men. Within a quarter of a mile is a station on the Gosport branch of the London and South-Western railway; and there is also railway communication with Portsmouth and Chichester. Here is a literary institution, with a library attached; also a handsome room where lectures are occasionally delivered; and rooms in which assemblies are held monthly during the winter season.

Fareham has a considerable trade in corn, coal, timber, &c., which has been for some years gradually increasing; and vessels of 300 tons' burthen can sail up to the quay. The place supplies nearly the whole of the upper part of the county with coal. At Fontley is an iron-foundry; the manufacture of common earthenware is carried on extensively, and there are a rope-walk, and a manufactory of fine red bricks and tiles. Vessels of from 200 to 300 tons' burthen are built here. The cornmarket is one of the largest in the county; the marketday is every alternate Monday, and there is a fair for cattle and cheese, &c., on the 29th of June. The town is within the jurisdiction of the county magistrates: two constables and two ale-tasters are annually chosen by a jury, at the manorial court leet of the steward of the Bishop of Winchester; and petty-sessions are held every alternate Wednesday for the division of Portsdown. The parish comprises 5062 acres, of which 28 are waste land or common. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 12. 6.; net income, £671; patron, the Bishop: the impropriation belongs to the hospital of St. Cross, and is leased on lives. The church is a spacious edifice, rebuilt some years ago, with the exception of the chancel, which is of early English architecture. A district church in the English style, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, has been built and endowed by the Rev. Sir Henry Thompson, Bart., in whose family the patronage is vested; the total cost was £5000, exclusively of £1000 endowment. The Independents and Wesleyans have each a place of worship. In 1721, William Price gave by will £200, for the erection of a charity school; also estates, now producing about £230 per annum, of which £35 are paid to a master, and the rest distributed among widows. The poor law union of Fareham comprises nine parishes or places.

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