Fareham - Encyclopedia




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FAREHAM, a market town in the Fareham parliamentary division of Hampshire, England, 76 m. S.W. from London by the London & South Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 8246. It lies at the head of a creek opening into the northwestern corner of Portsmouth harbour. The principal industries are the manufacture of sackings, ropes, bricks, coarse earthenware, terra-cotta, tobacco-pipes and leather. Fareham has a considerable trade in corn, timber and coal; the creek being accessible to vessels of 300 tons. Three miles E. of Fareham, on Portsmouth harbour, are the interesting ruins of Porchester Castle, an extensive walled enclosure retaining its Norman keep, and exhibiting in its outer walls considerable evidence of Roman workmanship; Professor Haverfield, however, denies that it occupies the site of the Roman Portus Magnus. The church of St Mary has some fine Norman portions. It belonged to an Augustinian priory founded by Henry I. At Titchfield, 3 m. W. of Fareham, are ruins of the beautiful Tudor mansion, Place House, built on the site of a Premonstratensian abbey of the 13th century, of which there are also fragments.

The fact that Fareham (Fernham, Ferham) formed part of the original endowment of the see of Winchester fixes its existence certainly as early as the 9th century. It is mentioned in the Domesday Survey as subject to a reduced assessment on account of its exposed position and liability to Danish attacks. There is evidence to show that Fareham had become a borough before 1264, but no charter can be found. It was a mesne borough held of the bishop of Winchester, but it is probable that during the i 8th century the privileges of the burgesses were allowed to lapse, as by 1835 it had ceased to be a borough. Fareham returned two members to the parliament of 1306, but two years later it petitioned against representation on the ground of expense. A fair on the 31st of October and the two following days was held under grant of Henry III. The day appears to have been afterwards changed to the 29th of June, and in the 18th century was mainly important for the sale of toys. It was abolished in 1871. Fareham owed its importance in medieval times to its facilities for commerce. It was a free port and had a considerable trade in wool and wine. Later its shipping declined and in the 16th century it was little more than a fishing village. Its commercial prosperity in modern times is due to its nearness to Portsmouth.

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