A Topographical Dictionary of England. Originally published by S Lewis, London, 1848.
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Portland (St. George)
PORTLAND (St. George), a parish, constituting the liberty of the Isle of Portland, in the union of Weymouth, Dorchester division of Dorset, 3 miles (S. S. W.) from Weymouth; containing 2852 inhabitants. The name of this place, thought by some writers to have originated in its situation opposite to the port of Weymouth, is with greater probability derived from its occupation by Porth, a Saxon pirate, who, with his sons Bieda and Maegla, landed at Portsmouth at the commencement of the sixth century. A party of Danish marauders, supposed to have been the first that visited England, landed here in 787, and having killed the præpositus, or governor, obtained possession of the district. In the reign of Edward the Confessor, it was among the manors given by that monarch to the church at Winchester, on the deliverance of his mother, Queen Emma, from the fiery ordeal through which she had passed, in vindication of her innocence on a charge of incontinency: during the same reign it was attacked and plundered by Earl Godwin, in his rebellion against his sovereign. William Rufus erected a castle here, which in the reign of Stephen was taken by Robert, Earl of Gloucester, and held for the Empress Matilda. The manor, which in the reign of the Conqueror had been alienated from the see of Winchester, was regranted to it by Henry I., and after various changes, again reverting to the crown, was bestowed successively on his queens Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr, by Henry VIII. That monarch, after the suppression of the monasteries, apprehending an invasion from the Papal powers, visited the coast in person, and among other fortresses for the defence of those parts which were most liable to be surprised by the enemy, ordered the present castle of Portland to be built. In the beginning of the civil war of the seventeenth century, the castle was seized and garrisoned by the parliamentarians; but the inhabitants being well affected to the royal cause, it was soon recovered for the king, and after proving a powerful check to the garrison at Weymouth, was one of the last fortresses which surrendered to the parliament.
Portland, though called an island, is in fact a peninsula, connected with the main land by the Chesil Bank, an isthmus varying in breadth from fifty yards to a quarter of a mile, and more than 100 feet above the level of low-water mark. The isthmus is composed of very hard pebbles, decreasing gradually in size towards the west, and extends from Portland to the Burton Cliffs, near Bridport, a distance of sixteen miles. The island is situated in 2° 35' (W. L.) and 50° 38' (N. L.), and is of an elliptical form, five miles and a half in length, about two in breadth, and nearly twelve in circumference. It is bounded on the east, south, and west by the English Channel; and on the north by the Portland Roads and Smallmouth, leading into the waters called the Fleet, between Chesil Bank and the main land, which flow up to Abbotsbury, and across which, about a mile from Portland, is a bridge of unusual length. The shore is steep and rugged, and on the north side, the land called the Verne rises majestically to the height of 490 feet, declining gradually towards the south, where the cliff is not more than ten feet above the level of the sea. Off the southern extremity is Portland Race, the passage of which, even in the calmest weather, is rendered extremely dangerous by the agitation of the sea, arising from the projection of the land of Portland into the Channel. During the dreadful storm in November, 1824, more than 100 houses were destroyed, and sixty-three persons drowned, in the hamlet of Chesil, in the north. At the southern point of the island, called Portland Beale, are a signal station and the upper and lower lighthouses, the former lighthouse erected in 1716, and the latter in 1789; and near them is a remarkable cavern, called Caves Hole, in the form of a perforated dome, from the orifice of which the sea in heavy gales rises as from a fountain. On the eastern side of the island is Pennsylvania Castle, the private residence of the late Governor Penn, erected by Mr. Wyatt, in 1794; in the grounds are the ruins of the castle built by William Rufus, and of the old church, which, with the parsonage-house, was destroyed during the parliamentary war. On the Verne is also a signal station; and at the extremity of a very fine common below it, and commanding the Portland Roads, is the castle built by Henry VIII., mounting at present only twelve guns in the lower tier, the higher having been taken down some years since. In 1816, the late Duke of York, commander-in-chief, with the concurrence of the mastergeneral of the ordnance and the governor, granted the castle to the Manning family, as a marine residence; and considerable sums have been expended in its improvement.
The parish comprises about 3000 acres, and contains seven villages; the summit of the island is smooth, and the soil produces wheat, peas, oats, and barley. The whole district is composed of various strata of stone, differing materially in substance and quality. The Portland stone, in such repute for buildings of magnificence, is found at the depth of 40 feet from the surface; the upper stratum, called Roach or Capstone, is only used for foundations, being so full of fossil productions as to render it unfit for works in which a smooth surface is required. The quarries, which were first worked in the reign of James I., are situated in the western part of the island, and have proved a source of immense wealth to the proprietors. A railroad for the conveyance of the stone to the shipping-place has been constructed, and not less than from 30,000 to 40,000 tons are annually exported, the procuring of which affords employment to the principal part of the population. A new feature of interest is about to be added to Portland, the Commissioners appointed by the crown to inquire into the expediency of establishing harbours of refuge having recommended, that of four harbours to be constructed, Portland should be the site of one. It is intended to form an immense breakwater, above two miles long, extending north-eastward from the isle, and inclosing the Portland and Weymouth "roads," between Portland and the coast north of the town of Weymouth; and as the Capstone already mentioned, now of little value, is admirably adapted to the purpose of a breakwater, the expense is estimated not to exceed £500,000. The inhabitants of the island are a hardy and robust race, who intermarry among themselves, and preserve a peculiarity of customs and character by which they are distinguished from strangers, with whom they avoid all intercourse. This being a royal demesne, the queen's steward holds courts for the manor at Lady-day and Michaelmas. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £18. 2. 1., and in the gift of the Bishop of Winchester: the tithes have been commuted for £320, and there are 20 acres of glebe. The church, erected in the year 1776, is in the modern style. A second church was built in 1840, at an expense of £2315, at Fortune's Well, it is dedicated to St. John, and is a neat structure in the later English style. Her Majesty gave £300 towards the fund, and an endowment of £1500 has been contributed. The living is in the gift of Hyndman's Trustees. There are places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. Portland gives the title of Duke to the family of Bentinck.
Portlemouth, East (St. Onolaus)
PORTLEMOUTH, EAST (St. Onolaus), a parish, in the union of Kingsbridge, hundred of Coleridge, Stanborough and Coleridge, and S. divisions of the county of Devon, 6 miles (S. by E.) from Kingsbridge; containing, with the hamlets of Rickham and Holset, 429 inhabitants. The parish is situated on the Kingsbridge estuary, and on the south is bounded by the English Channel; it is the most southern parish in the county, and comprises 1723 acres, of which 281 are common or waste. The cultivated land is principally arable. There are some furze brakes on the hill sides, and a few meadows in the deeper valleys; the apple orchards are numerous and luxuriant, and add to the beauty of the scenery, which embraces views including Kingsbridge, the estuaries, and Salcombe harbour. Great quantities of lime are burned for manure. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £29. 18. 4.; net income, £324; patrons, the Duke of Cleveland and the Earl of Sandwich. The church is a handsome cruciform edifice; the screen is highly ornamented, and bears the appearance of great antiquity.
PORTON, a chapelry, in the parish of Idmiston, union of Amesbury, hundred of Alderbury, Salisbury and Amesbury, and S. divisions of Wilts, 5¼ miles (N. E. by N.) from Salisbury; with 153 inhabitants.
PORTREATH, a small port, in the parish of Illogan, union of Redruth, E. division of the hundred of Penwith, W. division of Cornwall, 4 miles (N.) from Redruth. This place, formerly called Basset's Cove, is seated on the shore of the Bristol Channel, in the midst of strikingly varied scenery. The cliffs on this part of the coast are magnificently bold, and form a fine contrast with the fertile vale in which the small village of Bridge is situated, sheltered on both sides by high grounds richly clothed with wood from the base to the summit. A pier was erected in 1760, which has been greatly lengthened and improved by a trading company, who have likewise constructed basins, in which 25 vessels, averaging 100 tons' burthen, can ride with safety; the expense of these improvements has exceeded £25,000. The company have also, at a cost of £20,000, completed a tramroad to the Gwennap and other mines in the vicinity. About 25,000 tons of copper-ore are annually sent away from the port to the smelting-houses in Wales, and about the same quantity of coal is imported. The inlet is defended on the western side by a battery mounting four twelve-pounders, which was erected by Lord de Dunstanville about the year 1782; and on the opposite hill is another mounting two six-pounders. There is a place of worship for Wesleyans.
Portsea (St. Mary)
PORTSEA (St. Mary), a parish, divided into the Liberty part and the Guildable part, in the borough of Portsmouth, union of Portsea Island, locally in the hundred of Portsdown, Fareham and S. divisions of the county of Southampton, 21 miles (S. E. by E.) from Southampton, and 71½ (S. W.) from London; containing 43,678 inhabitants. This place, which is now the principal naval arsenal of Great Britain, takes its name from the island of Portsea. The island is nearly sixteen miles in circumference, and is bounded on the south by Spithead, on the east by Langston harbour, on the west by Portsmouth harbour, and on the north by a channel over which is a bridge connecting the isle with the main land. It contains a great variety of animal and vegetable productions, but has nothing peculiar in its geological formation. Widgeons, wild-ducks, teal, and the curlew, are found in abundance; larks congregate in numerous flocks, and the snow-bunting, the cross-bill, and other scarce birds are occasionally seen. More than 200 different species of insects have been collected in the course of one summer. The northern extremity of the island, comprising Hilsea, is in the parish of Wymering, and union of Fareham; the rest forms the parishes of Portsea and Portsmouth.
The town, which is situated partly on the waste ground formerly called Portsmouth common, and partly on a spot of land named West Dock Field, has rapidly increased within the last century, and now contains many regularly-formed streets, several terraces, and some handsome ranges of houses belonging to families connected with Portsmouth. The extensive suburbs are chiefly inhabited by artisans employed in the dockyard. In 1843, an act was passed for better paving, lighting, cleansing, and otherwise improving the town. The Hampshire subscription library, here, is well supported, and contains a valuable collection in the various departments of literature. In the suburb of Southsea is an excellent bathing establishment, which has contributed greatly to the attractions of Portsea as a watering-place: on the beach is an elegant building consisting of a suite of subscription, promenade, and reading rooms, called the "King's Rooms," the establishment having been distinguished by the patronage of His late Majesty; and a walk leads from them along the shore, affording one of the most delightful promenades in England. In that part of the parish called the Guildable is a considerable number of market-gardens, from which the towns of Portsea and Portsmouth are principally supplied with vegetables. The Portsea and Arundel canal, opened in 1823, joins Langston harbour. The market-days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
The fortifications, which were begun in 1770, are very complete, and unrivalled for strength and beauty. The two principal gates, which form elegant entrances to the town, are noble specimens of architecture; they are called respectively Lion and Unicorn gates, and have on their frontispiece these two portions of the British arms finely sculptured. The "lines" extend from north to south, presenting to the east several strong bastions and outworks, crowned with batteries of heavy ordnance; and the trenches, which are broad and deep, can be filled with water up to the bridges, which connect it with Portsmouth, on the south. The Royal Dockyard occupies an area of 110 acres, and comprises, on the grandest scale, and on the most scientific principles, the arrangements for supplying the necessary equipments, and extensive depôts of naval and military stores. The entrance into the yard, which forms a town of itself, is through a lofty gateway; and among the buildings within the walls, the residence formerly of the commissioner is conspicuous for its stateliness; in the centre of the edifice is a noble portico, and on each side are various offices. By a late arrangement, this building has been appointed the residence of the port-admiral; and the duties of the commissioners are performed by an admiral superintendent, for whom a suitable house has been fitted up in the yard. The great basin comprehends an area of 33,000 square yards, communicating with four dry-docks; there is also a double dock for frigates. Ships of the line may at any time enter from the harbour into the dockyard, where twelve menof-war can be fitted up at the same time. The foundation stone of a new steam-basin was laid by Admiral Parker in January 1845, and the work was completed in the year 1848; it is thought to be the largest steam-basin in the empire, the dam being 3000 feet in length. The covered building-docks are very capacious.
The rope-house is of vast extent, being 1094 yards long, and four stories high: on the lower story, the floor of which is laid with iron and tin, is the machinery for making cables; the three upper stories are appropriated to the manufacture of twine and cordage. The anchor forge is an immense building, in which anchors weighing more than ninety cwt. are made; and near it are the copper-foundry, and the admirable machinery for making blocks, invented by Sir I. Brunel, who for many years superintended its operation. This machinery is impelled by a steam-engine of extraordinary power; and the various processes, from the sawing of the wood to the completion of the block, are conducted with a degree of precision and celerity difficult to describe. The rigging and mast houses are upon the largest scale: indeed each department in this extensive and ably-conducted establishment exhibits a combination of skill, efficiency, and grandeur, in every respect characteristic of the arsenal of a great maritime state. The Dock chapel, appropriated to the officers of the dockyard, the crews of the ships in ordinary, and the various classes of artisans, is a neat structure, with a cupola containing the bell which originally belonged to the Royal George, sunk off Spithead.
Within the walls is the Royal Naval College, founded in 1720, for seventy students: of these, thirty, the sons of commissioned officers, are charged in proportion to their rank, for board, clothing, and education; and the remainder, sons of noblemen, military, or civil officers, pay £120 per annum. The institution is under the superintendence of the first lord of the admiralty, who is governor, a lieutenant-governor, a post-captain, a professor, two lieutenants, a mathematical assistant, two other assistants, and French, drawing, and fencing masters. The buildings are extensive, and contain many noble apartments; over them is an observatory, containing a beautiful model of H. M. S. the Victory, of 100 guns, which was wrecked off the French coast on her first voyage. A new observatory, however, was lately built over the central arch of the western storehouses, commanding a view of the whole coast from the Needles to the county of Sussex, A school of naval architecture was projected in 1809, by Mr. Robinson, in the house of commons, and in 1816 incorporated with the Naval College. The Gun-wharf, without the dockyard, includes an area of fourteen acres, and comprises a spacious building of brick, ornamented with stone, occupying three sides of a quadrangle, with an arched entrance in the centre of the fourth side, surmounted by a lofty tower and cupola. It contains a vast number of guns and gun-carriages, and an immense quantity of ordnance stores. On the right of the entrance are, the armoury, with 25,000 stand of small arms, arranged in the most exact order; a laboratory; and an extensive ordnance department: on the opposite side are the offices of the Royal Engineers, with stores adjoining, and a large depôt of ammunition.
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £12; net income, £696; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of Winchester College: the great tithes have been commuted for £1230, the vicarial for £270, and the glebe comprises 14 acres. The parochial church, erected in the reign of Edward III., having been rebuilt, was consecrated in the spring of 1844; it is surrounded by one of the largest burial-grounds in the kingdom, comprising eight acres. St. George's chapel, a commodious brick structure, was built in 1753: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £45; patron, the Vicar of Portsea. St. John's district church, a commodious edifice, of which the internal decorations are extremely rich, was consecrated in 1789, and contains 1500 sittings: the living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £141; patrons, the Proprietors of pews. The church, dedicated to St. Paul, in the suburb of Southsea, was erected in 1822, at a cost of £15,229, part of which was contributed by subscription, and the rest by the Parliamentary Commissioners; it is a handsome structure in the later English style, with four turrets at the angles. The living is a district parochial curacy; net income, £310; patron, the Vicar. The district church dedicated to All Saints, in the suburb of Mile-end (including the Half-Way Houses, Newton, and several spacious streets, forming a district now called Landport), was erected in the year 1827, by grant from the commissioners, at an expense of £12,064. It is an elegant edifice in the later English style, with a splendid west front, surmounted by a campanile turret; the interior is neatly arranged, and over the altar is a window of painted glass, beautifully designed and executed by Edwards, of Winchester, presented by the Rev. C. B. Henville, late vicar. The living is a curacy; net income, £300; patron, the Vicar. Trinity church, the first stone of which was laid in June, 1839, was completed at an expense of £3299, by grant of the commissioners; it is a neat structure in the later English style, with a campanile turret, and contains 1208 sittings, of which 719 are free. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Vicar, with a net income of £150. A district church, of which the first stone was laid in July, 1840, has also been completed at Milton, by the commissioners; it is in the Norman style, with a campanile turret, and contains 323 sittings. The living is likewise in the Vicar's gift; income, £100. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents (the principal of which, in King-street, is one of the largest and handsomest meeting-houses in the kingdom), Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics; and a synagogue. A cemetery was lately formed by a joint-stock company. St. Paul's school, a commodious building near the church of that name, was established by shareholders; a complete course of classical, mathematical, and general instruction, is afforded. The town contains several schools for the poor, a dispensary, an infirmary for diseases of the eye and ear, and a penitentiary. Thomas Fitzherbert, Esq., in 1821 left £10,000 in the four per cents., in trust for the maintenance of five aged men, ten aged widows, and five single women; and there are various other bequests for distribution among the indigent. An hospital is in course of erection for Portsea, Portsmouth, and Gosport, near All Saints' church: the first stone was laid by Prince Albert, in Sept. 1847. The poor-law union comprises Portsea and Portsmouth. There was a monastery at Gatcombe, subordinate to the abbey of Southwick; and the remains of the chapel, and a wainscoted room, richly carved, and supposed to have been the prior's room, were extant a few years since. While rebuilding part of Gatcombe House, several coins, supposed to be Roman, were discovered.
Portskuett (St. Mary)
PORTSKUETT (St. Mary), a parish, in the division and union of Chepstow, hundred of Caldicot, county of Monmouth, 4½ miles (S. W. by S.) from Chepstow; containing 197 inhabitants. The name, originally Porthis-Coed, signifies "the port below the wood;" and, according to tradition, here was the port or landing-place for Venta Siluram, now Caerwent. A magnificent palace was built at this spot by Harold, son of Earl Godwin, who entertained Edward the Confessor within its walls; but shortly afterwards, Caradoc ab Grufydd, a Welsh chieftain, having a pique against Harold, razed the palace, and carried away the materials. The parish comprises, with the hamlet of Southbrook, 1073a. 39p., of which 614 acres are arable, 417 meadow, and 41 woodland; the soil is light and gravelly, resting on limestone. At Black Rock is a ferry across the Severn, called the New Passage, connecting the great road to London with that to South Wales: Charles I., on being pursued, was ferried over here. The living is a discharged rectory, valued in the king's books at £7. 2. 1., and in the patronage of Thomas Lewis, Esq.: the tithes have been commuted for £224. 16. 9., and there is a good parsonage-house, with a glebe of 52 acres. The church is chiefly in the early English style; the chancel is entered by a Norman arch. Near the bank of the Severn, at Southbrook, are vestiges of a Roman camp, part of which has been swept away by the river: a road proceeded from this station to the great camp at Caerwent. At Charstone, Roman coins have been found.
Portslade (St. Nicholas)
PORTSLADE (St. Nicholas), a parish, in the union of Steyning, hundred of Fishergate, rape of Lewes, E. division of Sussex, 3 miles (E. by N.) from New Shoreham; containing 678 inhabitants. This parish comprises 1966 acres, whereof 800 are common or waste. It is bounded on the south by the English Channel, and intersected by the road from Brighton to Portsmouth; the railway between those towns also passes through it, and on the slope to Southwick is a Roman road. The village is pleasantly situated on the declivity of the downs. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £8. 18. 8., and in the patronage of the Crown: the tithes of the vicar have been commuted for £142. 14., with a glebe of 15½ acres; and those of the Archbishop of Canterbury for £237. 9., with a glebe of 11 acres. The church is principally in the early English style, with an embattled tower; it is supposed to have been erected in the thirteenth century, though the pillars of the nave are Norman, and indicate an earlier date.
Portsmouth (St. Thomas à Becket)
PORTSMOUTH (St. Thomas à Becket), a seaport, borough, market-town, and parish, having separate jurisdiction, in the union of Portsea Island, locally in the hundred of Portsdown, Fareham and S. divisions of the county of Southampton, 21 miles (S. E. by E.) from Southampton, and 72 (S. W.) from London; containing, exclusively of the parish of Portsea, which is within the borough, 9354 inhabitants. This place derives its name from its situation at the mouth of a capacious harbour. In 501, a body of Saxons under the command of Porth, a German chieftain, and his two sons Bieda and Maegla, landed in the neighbourhood, and, after a severe conflict with the Britons, succeeded in gaining possession of the surrounding country. They are supposed to have founded the ancient town of Porchester, about three miles to the north-north-west; from which place, on the contraction of the harbour by the retiring of the sea, the inhabitants, according to vulgar belief, removed to Portsea island, on the south-west side of which they erected the present town. Alfred having fitted out a fleet of nine ships at the port, after an obstinate engagement, defeated the Danes, who infested the coasts of Hampshire and Dorsetshire; and caused several of them to be hanged at certain places along the coast, in order to deter their countrymen. Harold equipped a large fleet at the port, with a view of intercepting the armament of William on its way from Normandy, for the conquest of the country; and upon the death of William Rufus, Robert, Duke of Normandy, landed here with his forces, to take possession of the throne. Henry, who had raised an army to support his own claim to the crown, also assembled his forces at Portsmouth, where, after the two armies had lain for some time, an accommodation was effected, Robert returning to Normandy. To this place Henry III. brought a numerous army for the invasion of France, but the enterprise was abandoned, in consequence of the treachery of his ally, the Duke of Bretagne: the same monarch established a guild merchant here, in 1256. In 1377, the French attacked and burnt a large part of the town, but they were compelled to retire to their ships with considerable loss. Edward IV., for the greater security of the harbour, erected two towers commanding the entrance, and made additions to the fortifications, which previously consisted only of a single wall, strengthened at the angles with bastions.
According to Leland, Henry VII. established seven breweries for supplying the troops in time of war. Henry VIII. erected Southsea Castle, at the south-west extremity of the Isle of Portsea. In 1544 a French fleet anchored off St. Helen's, in the Isle of Wight, having on board a large military force for the invasion of England; but the English army, under the command of the Duke of Suffolk, assembled at Portsmouth, and the British fleet, commanded by Viscount Lisle, the lord high admiral, after an obstinate engagement, repulsed the enemy with considerable loss. Edward VI. passed a night at Southsea Castle, and viewed the fortifications, ordering two towers to be erected, with an immense iron chain extending from one to the other across the mouth of the harbour (which on the French fleet in the American war appearing off Plymouth, was raised so as to prevent vessels entering); and during the reign of Elizabeth the fortifications were greatly strengthened. In the reign of Charles I., John Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who had arrived at Portsmouth to superintend the movements of the fleet and army assembled here for the invasion of France, was assassinated by Felton, a disappointed officer, who had served under him at the Isle of Rhé; and the place in the High-street where the deed was perpetrated, then an inn called the Spotted Dog, is still pointed out. Soon after the commencement of the civil war, a party of Cromwell's soldiers surprised Southsea Castle, of which they took possession; and the town itself subsequently fell into the hands of the parliamentarians. After the Restoration, the nuptials of Charles II. with Catherine of Portugal were solemnized in the chapel of the garrison. James II., while lord high admiral, frequently visited Portsmouth, and previously to his abdication of the government, imprisoned the officers of the garrison for refusing to admit his Irish troops. In 1782, the Royal George, having 110 guns and 1200 men, commanded by Admiral Kempenfelt, while under the process of careening at Spithead, unfortunately sank, when the admiral, and more than two-thirds of the crew, perished: many of her guns, and a considerable portion of her stores, have by the use of the diving-bell been recovered, and more recently the wreck has for the most part been shattered and dispersed by the application of gunpowder. George III. visited the port several times; and in 1814 the Prince Regent remained here for some days with the allied sovereigns.
The town, which is about a mile and a half in circuit, is divided into two nearly equal parts by the principal street, and intersected by several others. It is supplied with excellent water by two companies, incorporated by act of parliament: an act for more effectually paving and lighting the town, and otherwise improving it, was passed in 1847. The house of the governor, at the upper end of the grand parade, originally the Domus Dei founded by Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester, and which was occupied by George IV. on his visit to the town, has been taken down. The residence formerly of the port-admiral, situated in the High-street, has been lately improved at the expense of government. A philosophical society, established in 1818, is held in a handsome building in St. Mary street, comprising a convenient lecture-room, and a museum containing more than 9000 specimens in natural history. A mechanics' institute was founded in 1825. The theatre is opened regularly during the season; and concerts and assemblies take place.
The gateways leading into the town through the fortifications, which surround it in a semicircular form, are remarkable for the justness and variety of their architectural character: that erected by James II. is an elegant specimen of the Corinthian order, from a design by Inigo Jones; that of George III. is in the rustic style. The ramparts which are in parts ornamented with trees, afford extensive prospects; and the view of the town from Portsdown Hill, a few miles distant, combines an infinite variety of objects of the deepest interest. The fortifications, exclusively of those which immediately surround the town, comprise numerous outworks: the entrance to the harbour is defended by Blockhouse fort on the one side, in Alverstoke parish, and the fortifications of the town on the other. Southsea Castle, having suffered some damage from an accidental explosion, was rebuilt in 1814, and is capable of containing a garrison of 200 men, with well-mounted batteries of heavy ordnance: Fort Monkton is a regular fort of prodigious strength, defended with 32 pieces of heavy ordnance, and numerous redoubts. These two forts serve to protect the mouth of the harbour, on the east and west sides of which, along the coast, are various other strong fortifications, of which Cumberland fort, erected in 1820, and commanding the approach to Langston harbour, is mounted with 100 pieces of heavy ordnance, and contains accommodation for 4000 troops. Fort Monkton is in the parish of Alverstoke, and Southsea and Cumberland forts in that of Portsea. Within the town are four guard-houses; and near the principal entrance gate are Colewort barracks, with a parade ground: the garrison includes three regiments of infantry, and a division of the royal marines, with detachments of artillery and engineers. The fortifications have been recently very much improved; additional guns have been mounted, barracks erected, and the lines repaired. For an account of the dockyard, see the article on Portsea.
The port extends from the opening of Southampton Water on the west, to the town of Emsworth on the east, including Langston, St. Helen's, and Portsmouth harbours, and Spithead. The custom-house was converted to its present use in 1827, from an old storehouse belonging to the victualling department; it is conveniently situated, and in front of it is an extensive quay. The harbour, which is unrivalled for capaciousness and security, is about 250 yards broad at the mouth, and, expanding into a broad open lake, extends for several miles to the north, affording shelter to ships of the largest burthen: its safety is greatly increased by the Isle of Wight, which forms a natural breakwater, and by the inland elevations. From the western side of the entrance is the sand-bank called the Spit, about three miles in length, but not perceptible above water; the roadstead, called from this circumstance Spithead, is marked out by buoys. The foreign trade consists chiefly in the importation of timber from the Baltic, and eggs from France; the coasting-trade is extensive, and in time of war the influx of merchant ships is very great. The number of vessels of above 50 tons registered at the port is 69, and their aggregate burthen 9479 tons; the amount of duties paid at the custom-house annually is about £70,000. The port is the general rendezvous where outward-bound ships take convoy, and frequently 700 merchantmen have sailed at one time from Spithead. Steam-vessels ply several times a day for the Isle of Wight, and regularly between the port and Plymouth and Havre. In 1837-8, an act was obtained for making a floating bridge over the harbour to Gosport Beach; this has been effected under an amended act procured in 1840, and the passage is generally performed in about 6½ minutes. An act was obtained in 1839 for enlarging the town quay, and improving that portion of the harbour called the Camber. In 1845 an act was passed for a railway to Chichester, which was completed in June 1847; and in 1846 an act was obtained for a railway to the Fareham station of the London and South-Western railway: in the latter year, also, was passed an act for a direct railway to London, by way of Petersfield and Godalming. The market-days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; a fair is held on July 10th, which lasts fourteen days.
It is supposed that a charter was conferred on the borough by Henry I., but the first of which there is any certainty was granted by Richard I. Others were bestowed by King John and Henry III.; these were confirmed by succeeding sovereigns, and new ones given by Elizabeth and Charles I. By the act 5th and 6th of William IV., cap. 76, the corporation now consists of a mayor, 14 aldermen, and 42 councillors; the municipal boundaries of the borough, which is divided into seven wards, are co-extensive with those for parliamentary purposes, and the number of magistrates is twenty-two. The place first exercised the elective franchise in the 23rd of Edward I., since which time it has regularly returned two members to parliament: the right of election is vested in the £10 householders of the parishes of Portsmouth and Portsea, comprising an area of 9717 acres; and the mayor is returning officer. A court of quarter-sessions is held for the trial of all offences not capital, at which the recorder presides; there is also a court of record on Tuesday in every alternate week, for the recovery of debts to any amount. The powers of the county debt-court of Portsmouth, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Alverstoke, Fareham, Havant, and Portsea. The guildhall is a spacious new building, in the High-street, with an area underneath for the market; the old town hall, which stood in the centre of the street, has been removed. The borough gaol, completed in 1809 at an expense of £18,000, is a large range of building, including courtrooms for the business of the sessions, a council-chamber, and a bridewell: it has been enlarged pursuant to a general act.
The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 13. 4.; net income, £555; patrons and impropriators, the Warden and Fellows of Winchester College. The church is a venerable and spacious cruciform structure in the early English style, with a tower surmounted by a cupola, 120 feet high, forming an excellent landmark: the interior is handsomely arranged; the cenotaph of the Duke of Buckingham, in which his heart is enshrined, forms the principal ornament of the altarpiece. A chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, built by aid from Her Majesty's Commissioners, and containing 1200 sittings, 700 of which are free, was consecrated on August 1st, 1839: the living is in the Vicar's gift. The garrison chapel, once appertaining to the monastery of Domus Dei, has been thoroughly repaired for the use of the officers and soldiers of the garrison: the communioncloth exhibits a view of Lisbon, and there is a monument to the memory of Sir C. Bloring, standard-bearer in the reign of Elizabeth; the plate was presented by Queen Anne. Here are places of worship for Independents, Wesleyans, and Unitarians. The free grammar school was founded in 1732, by Dr. Smith, a physician of the town, who bequeathed for its support the farm of East Standon, in the Isle of Wight, the head master is appointed by the dean and canons of Christ-Church, Oxford, who are trustees. There are various bequests for distribution among the poor. On the summit of Portsdown Hill, and fronting the harbour, is a stone pillar, erected to the memory of Lord Nelson, by those who fought under his command in the memorable battle of Trafalgar; it forms a most interesting object, whether viewed from sea or land. Jonas Hanway, the philanthropist, was born at Portsmouth in 1712. It gives the title of Earl to the family of Wallop.
PORTSWOOD, a tything, in the parish and union of South Stoneham, within the jurisdiction of the borough of Southampton, Southampton and S. divisions of the county, 2 miles (N. by E.) from Southampton; containing 641 inhabitants. The erection of Christ Church, here, was commenced in 1846; it is a structure of stone, with a spire of timber covered with oak shingle, and contains 400 sittings. The living is in the gift of the Vicar of South Stoneham.
PORTWOOD, an ecclesiastical district, in the township of Brinnington, parish and union of Stockport, hundred of Macclesfield, N. division of the county of Chester; containing several thousand inhabitants. This place forms an eastern suburb of the town of Stockport, from which it is separated by the river Mersey. The district is one mile in length from north to south, and three-quarters of a mile in breadth from east to west; the surface of the rural part presents an undulating appearance, and is under pasture. The inhabitants are dependent upon the cotton manufacture. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Crown and the Bishop of Chester, alternately, and is endowed under the act 6th and 7th Victoria, cap. 37. No church has yet been built in the district: there is a small place of worship for Methodists.
POSENHALL, an extra-parochial district, in the union of Madeley, liberties of the borough of Wenlock, S. division of Salop, 1¼ mile (W.) from Broseley; containing 22 inhabitants, and comprising 80 acres.
POSLINGFORD, a parish, in the union and hundred of Risbridge, W. division of Suffolk, 1¾ mile (N.) from Clare; containing 343 inhabitants, and comprising by computation 2407 acres. The living is a discharged vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 10.; income, £100; patron and impropriator, T. Weston, Esq.
POSTCOMBE, a chapelry, in the parish of Lewknor, union of Wycombe, hundred of Lewknor, county of Oxford, 2 miles (S. E.) from Tetsworth; containing 226 inhabitants.
Postern, with Shottle.—See Shottle.
POSTERN, with Shottle.—See Shottle.
Postling (St. Mary and St. Radegund)
POSTLING (St. Mary and St. Radegund), a parish, in the union of Elham, hundred of Hayne, lathe of Shepway, E. division of Kent, 3¼ miles (N. by W.) from Hythe; containing 182 inhabitants. The parish comprises 1528 acres, of which 60 are common or waste land, and 90 in wood. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king's books at £6. 8. 1½.; net income, £246; patron and appropriator, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The church is in the early English style. Basil Kennett, author of the Roman Antiquities, &c., who died in 1714, was vicar.
Postwick (All Saints)
POSTWICK (All Saints), a parish, in the union and hundred of Blofield, E. division of Norfolk, 4 miles (E. by S.) from Norwich; containing 241 inhabitants. The parish is situated on the river Yare, and intersected by the road and the railway from Norwich to Yarmouth; it comprises 1474 acres, of which 1009 are arable, 417 pasture and meadow, and 47 in roads and river. The village is in a picturesque dell, which expands into the vale of the Yare. The living is a rectory, valued in the king's books at £10, and in the gift of the Earl of Rosebery: the tithes have been commuted for £475, and the glebe comprises 51a. 2r. 16p., with a good rectory-house. The church, which stands on an eminence, is in the early, decorated, and later styles, and consists of a nave and chancel, with a square embattled tower. A national school is supported by the rector; and about 11 acres of land, of which 5 were allotted at the inclosure, are appropriated for the benefit of the poor, to whom also the Earl of Rosebery lets, at a nominal rent, portions of about half an acre each, to be cultivated by the spade.