National Gazetteer (1868) - Petersfield


The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"PETERSFIELD, a parish, post and market town, and parliamentary borough, in the lower half hundred of Finch Dean, county Hants, 17 miles S.E. of Winchester, and 54 S.W. of London, and a station on the South-Western railway. It is situated on the old road from London to Portsmouth, and near the river Rother. It is a polling-place for the county elections, and a petty sessions town; also the seat of a new County Court and superintendent registry. The borough first returned members to parliament in the 35th year of Edward VI., from which period it returned two members, until the passing of the Reform Act, by which it was deprived of one, and the privilege of voting extended to the £10 householders of the old borough, and of the adjoining district.

The new borough includes within its bounds the old borough, together with the parishes of Buriton, Foxfield, Lyss, and Steed, except the townships of North and South Ambersham; also the tythings of Ramsden, Langrish, and Oxenbourn. It was incorporated by charter of Queen Elizabeth, and is nominally governed by a mayor and commonalty; the mayor, whose office is become merely titular, being chosen at the court-leet of the lord of the manor, at which also a constable and two tythingmen are also chosen. The mayor is the returning officer. The governing magistrates of the county, who now administer the affairs of the town, meet fortnightly, on the Tuesday prior to market day. The court leet is held on the second Monday in Epiphany, annually. There is an equestrian statue to William III. standing in the centre of the market-place, erected by the Joliffes of Merstham, who also rebuilt the townhall about thirty years ago.

The population of the parish in 1861 was 1,950, but of the parliamentary borough 5,655, against 5,550 in 1851, showing a small increase of 100 in the decennial period. The town is lighted with gas, and partially paved. It contains several well-built houses and shops, with two banks, a savings-bank, literary institute, gas-works, police station, and townhall. The incumbent's tithes have been commuted for a rent-charge of £50. The living is a curacy annexed to the rectory* of Buriton, in the diocese of Winchester. The church, dedicated to St. Peter, is an ancient structure, with a square tower, containing six bells. The interior of the church contains monuments to the Joliffefamily. The parochial charities produce about £14 per annum, exclusive of almshouses.

The Petersfield Poor-law Union comprises 13 parishes or places, and the union poorhouse has accommodation for 100 inmates. There are National, British, and infant schools. The Independents have a place of worship. There is an institution, designated Churcher's College, with an annual income of £600, founded in 1722, for the free education, clothing, and maintenance of 14 boys, who should be subsequently apprenticed to masters of ships "voyaging" to the East Indies, providing the premium does not exceed £30, with an extra £3 for clothes. Sir W. G. H. Joliffe, Bart., is lord of the manor. The market for corn, &c., is held every alternate Wednesday. Fairs are held on 10th July, 6th October, and 11th December. "ADDES, a hamlet, in the parish of Petersfield, South Alton division of the hundred of Finch Dean, in the county of Hants, 2 miles N.E. of the market and union town of Petersfield. "OAKSHOT, a hamlet in the parish of Petersfield, lower division of the hundred of Finch Dean, county Hants, 3 miles N.W. of Petersfield. It is situated in the vale of the Rother, near the high road to Portsmouth. "SHEET, a tything in the parish of Petersfield, lower half division of Finch Dean hundred, county Hants, 1 mile N.E. of Petersfield."

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