Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for ALTON

ALTON, a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a division, in Hants. The town stands on the Guildford, Farnham, and Winchester line of the South western railway, 8¾ miles SW by S of Farnham; and has a railway station with telegraph. It dates from the time of the Saxons; was the scene of a meeting in 1001 with the Danes; sent a member to parliament in the time of Edward I.; and was taken, in 1643, by the parliamentarian force of Sir William Waller from the royalist force of Colonel Boles. It consists chiefly of one long steep street; and contains some handsome houses. It is a seat of petty sessions, and a polling-place; and it has a head post office,‡ two banking offices, and a hotel. It formerly had a considerable manufactory of bombazines; and it afterwards had manufactures of silk, drug gets, serges, and other fabrics; and it now has ex tensive breweries of much note, and a large paper mill. A weekly market is held on Tuesday, and fairs on the Saturday before 1 May, 11 July, and 29 Sept. The market house was recently enlarged, and other aids to the market effected. The parish church is a spacious edifice, variously Saxon, Norman, and later English, with square embattled tower and spire; and contains some wall paint ings of the 15th century. There are chapels for Inde pendents, Wesleyan Methodists, and Quakers.-A popular adage makes the town noted for its Quakers; and Bernard Barton has embalmed them in his verse. The Dominican friar, William de Alton, in the time of Edward II., the biographical author, John Pitts, born in 1560, and the botanical writer, William Curtis, born in 1746, were natives. Pop., 3,286. Houses, 616. The railway from Alton, past Alresford, to Headbourne-Worthy, near Winchester, was formed under an act of 1860.

The parish comprises 3,896 acres. Real property, £17,298. Pop., 3,769. Houses, 710. The property is much subdivided. A chief residence is Thedden Grange Hops are extensively grown. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester; and, till 1863, had annexed to it the living of Holybourne. Value, £496.* Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Winchester. There are a grammar school with £81 a year from endowment, other charities with £22, a mechanics' institute, and a lunatic asylum. -The subdistrict contains the parishes of Alton, Wield, Medsted, Bentworth, Lasham, Shalden, East-Tisted, Chawton, Farringdon, and Newton-Valence. Acres, 25,575. Pop., 7,197. Houses, 1,352. The district includes also the subdistrict of Binsted, containing the parishes of Binsted, Selborne, Hartley-Manditt, West Worldham, East-Worldham, Holybourne, Froyle, and Bentley, and the extra-parochial tract of Coldrey. Acres, 53,057. Poor-rates in 1866, £8,650. Pop. in 1841, 11,299; in 1861, 12,063. Houses, 2,332. Marriages in 1866, 97; births, 389,-of which 29 were illegitimate; deaths, 210,-of which 78 were at ages under 5 years, and 7 were at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 780; births, 3,824; deaths, 2,129. The places of worship in 1851 were 18 of the Church of England, with 4,943 sittings; 4 of Independents, with 880 s.; 1 of Baptists, with 20 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 188 s.; 2 of Wesleyan Methodists, with 268 s.; 1 of Primitive Me thodists, with 86 s.; and 2 of Bible Christians, with 104 s. The schools in 1851 were 17 public day schools, with 1,503 scholars; 13 private day schools, with 248 s.; 22 Sunday schools, with 1,118 s.; and 1 evening school for adults, with 10 s.-The division of Alton is considerably identical with the district, but more extensive; and it is subdivided into the towns of Alton and Alresford, and the hundreds of Alton, Bishops-Sutton, and Selborne. Acres, 70,811. Pop., 14,048. Houses, 2,770. Alton hundred is divided into Lower Half, comprising 16,152 acres, and Upper Half, comprising 14,027 acres. The workhouse and lunatic asylum are in Alton.

(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a small town, a parish, a subdistrict, a district, and a division"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Alton AP/CP       Alton SubD       Alton PLU/RegD       Hampshire AncC
Place: Alton

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