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National Gazetteer (1868) - Andover

"ANDOVER, a parish, market town, and parliamentary and municipal borough, with exclusive jurisdiction, but lying locally in the hundred of Andover, Andover division of the county of Southampton, 13 miles to the N.W. of Winchester, and 63 miles from London, or 66 by the South Western railway, on the Salisbury branch of which it is a station. Its name is composed of Ann, which applied to the district in which it stands, and lever or dyfr, a British word for a stream. It lies on the banks of the river Anton, near the skirts of a large, wooded tract, bordering on Salisbury Plain, and comprises the chapelry of Foxcote, the hamlets of Charlton, Wildhern, and several others. It is the centre of a union containing 32 parishes in the county of Hants, and 4 in Wilts. The Andover canal, which is now being converted into a railway, connected the town with Southampton Water.

It was at this place that Olave, the King of Norway, made treaty with King Ethelred in 994, and professed himself a Christian by receiving baptism. He bound himself not to invade England again, and kept his oath. Andover has been a borough ever since the reign of King John, who granted its first charter. A fresh charter was granted by Queen Elizabeth, under the provisions of which it was governed till the passing of the Reform Act. It is now governed by a mayor, four aldermen, and twelve councillors, with the style of, the "bailiff, approved men, and burgesses of the borough of Andover." Borough sessions are held once a quarter. From the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Andover has returned two representatives to parliament, as it did also to the parliaments of Edward I. The mayor is the returning officer.

The revenue of the borough is £1,246. A large and handsome townhall was erected in 1825. It is of stone, and has a front of Italian architecture. The building is supported on arches, and surmounted by a cupola. The lower part serves for a market-house, over which is the council-room and the sessions-hall. Assemblies are also frequently held in it. A county court is held in the town, and the county magistrates hold their petty sessions here every Saturday. There are three principal streets, now well paved and lighted with gas. The manufacture of shalloons was at one time carried on here. It was superseded by the manufacture of silk, which has now also ceased. The chief occupations, at present, are malting and tanning. There is an iron foundry at Upper Clatford, about two miles from Andover. The Andover canal was constructed in 1789, and is twenty-two miles in length. It crossed the river Anton, and passing by Stockbridge and Romsey, entered Southampton Water at Redbridge, close to the mouth of the aver Test. It had above twenty locks, and a fall of nearly 180 feet, but is now being filled in, to make way for the railway which is in course of construction.

The living is a vicarage with the chapelry of Foxcote, in the diocese of Winchester, value £433, in the patronage of the Warden and Fellows of Winchester College. The old church, which was partly in the Norman, and partly in the early English style, with curious wooden pillars in the nave, was ruthlessly destroyed about 1846. William the Conqueror made a grant of the church here with land and several rents to the abbey of St. Florence, in Anjou, to which it became a cell. Henry V. gave it, on the dissolution of the alien priories, to St. Mary's College, Winchester. The new church, completed in 1846 at the cost of the late Dr. Goddard, stands near the site of the former, and is in the early English style. It is dedicated to St. Mary. The ancient Norman doorway has been carefully preserved, and made the entrance to the churchyard. In 1857 the new ecclesiastical district of Smannell-with-Hatherden was formed out of the parish of Andover.

The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of Winchester College. There are churches at both villages. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, and the Wesleyan Methodists. A free grammar school was established and endowed by John Hanson in 1569. The school-house was built and is kept in repair by the corporation. Another free school for twenty children was founded by John Pollen in 1719. There is an almshouse for eight poor men, and one for six poor women, the latter founded by Catherine Hamson. The charities of the parish amount altogether to £189. A large national school is maintained by subscription. There is also a British school. Several Roman encampments exist near Andover, that on Bury Hill, to the S.W., being the most extensive. There is also a large camp at Rooksbury, and another on Danebury Hill, with very high ramparts, near which is Canute's Barrow, and the Devil's Ditch. Two Roman roads cross each other about a mile to the N.E. of the town, that from Winchester to Cirencester is still traceable in Harewood, where the Portway crosses it to the north.

The market day is Friday. There are fairs for horses, cattle, and cheese, on Mid-Lent Saturday, Old May-day, the 1st August, the 18th November, and on the 17th for sheep. The famous Weyhill fair commences on the 10th October, and lasts seven days. From a Sunday revel before Michaelmas, it grew to be one of the most important fairs in England. Cheese, cattle, sheep, and hops, are the chief commodities. The fair was held under a charter granted by Queen Elizabeth, and confirmed by Charles III. Its importance has declined of late years. The parish contains 7,670 acres: the borough, which includes Foxcott and Knights-Enham, has an area of 10,982 acres, comprising 1,059 inhabited houses, with a population of 5,221, according to the census of 1861, against 5,187 in 1851, showing an increase of only 34 inhabitants in the decennial period. "KING'S ENHAM, a hamlet in the parish and hundred of Andover, county Hants, 2 miles N. of Andover. "SMANNELL, (or Swanhill), a hamlet in the parish of Andover, county Hants, 2 miles N.E. of Andover. "WILDHERN, a hamlet in the parish of Andover, county Hants, 1 mile from Andover. "WOODHOUSE, a hamlet in the parish of Andover, county Hants, 1 mile from Andover."

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]