What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Waterloo. L. and S.W. Railway. =Nearest Stations.=–Southampton Docks or Southampton West. =Distance from London.=–78-3/4 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 2-1/4 to 3-1/2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 13s. 0d. 8s. 2d. 6s. 6d. Return 23s. 0d. 14s. 6d. 11s. 6d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The Royal Hotel,” “Radley’s Hotel," “London and South-Western Hotel,” “Dolphin Hotel,” “Royal Pier Hotel,” “Flower’s Temperance,” etc. =Alternative Route.=–From Paddington. Fares as above.
The earliest accounts of Southampton are vague and uncertain. On the opposite bank of the Itchen, at Bitterne, was the Roman station of Clausentum, but Southampton itself seems to have been originally a settlement of the West Saxons. In the reign of William the Conqueror, Southampton, owing to its situation, became the principal port of embarkation for Normandy. In 1295 it first returned representatives to Parliament, and in 1345 was strongly fortified, and able to contribute twenty-one ships to the Royal Navy, Portsmouth only supplying five. Many expeditions for Normandy embarked here during the reigns of the Plantagenets, and the men who fought and won at Crecy and Agincourt must have passed, on the way to their ships, under the old West Gate, which still remains much as it was in those stirring times.
The town is full of interesting relics of every description, one of the most remarkable being the old wall, of which a considerable portion remains; that known as The Arcades, built in a series of arches, being specially noticeable. Close by, in Blue Anchor Lane, is a Norman house, reputed to be King John’s palace, and claiming, with several others, to be the oldest house in England.
The town was formerly entered by several gates, two of which, Westgate and Bargate, are still in a good state of preservation.
The Bargate stands in the centre of the High Street, and is an excellent example of mediaeval fortification.
At the head of Blue Anchor Lane is the remarkably picturesque and substantial Tudor house, once the residence of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, and nearly opposite rises the tall tower of St. Michael’s, the oldest church in Southampton. The building is open all day (the keys being obtainable on inquiry), and contains a remarkable carved black marble font, reputed to be of Byzantine origin, and a fine eagle lectern of the fifteenth century.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. THE BARGATE IN THE HIGH STREET OF SOUTHAMPTON.]