In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Hampshire like this:
Hampshire, Hants, or Southampton, maritime co. (including the Isle of Wight), in S. of England; bounded N. by Berks, E. by Surrey and Sussex, S. by the English Channel, and W. by Wilts and Dorset; greatest length (exclusive of the Isle of Wight), N. to S., 46 miles; greatest breadth, E. to W., 46 miles; 1,037,764 ac., pop. 593,470. (The figures of ac. and pop. include the Isle of Wight.) Hampshire is undulating, finely wooded, and fruitful. Its coast line is very irregular, the principal indentation being Southampton Water. ...
From Surrey and Sussex, NE. to Wilts and Berks, two ranges of chalk hills, known as the North and South Downs, traverse the co. In the W. is the New Forest, and in the SE. are the Forests of Bere and Waltham Chase. The Avon, Exe, Test, Itching, and Hamble are the chief rivers. The co. is noted for its agriculture, the wheat of Hampshire being especially prized. Upon the Downs are reared large flocks of the variety of sheep known as "Hampshire Downs, " or "short wools." Pig breeding, and the curing of bacon, have long been large and lucrative branches of the county's industry. (For agricultural statistics, see Appendix.) The mineral resources are meagre; and, except in large coast towns, such as Portsmouth and Gosport, the mfrs. also are unimportant. The shipping, however, is very extensive. Hampshire (with the Isle of Wight) comprises 38 hundreds, 12 liberties, 349 pars., with parts of 3 others, the parl. and mun. bors. of Portsmouth (2 members), Southampton (2 members), and Winchester (1 member), the parl. bor. of Christchurch (1 member), and the mun. bors. of Audover, Basingstoke, Lymington, Newport, Romsey, and Ryde. It is almost entirely in the diocese of Winchester. For parl. purposes it is divided into 6 divisions, viz., Northern or Basingstoke, Western or Andover, Eastern or Petersfield, Southern or Fareham, New Forest, and Isle of Wight, 1 member for each.
For an overview of how the county has changed, please see our redistricted information for the modern of Hampshire -- but you should check this covers the area you are interested in.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of Hampshire | Map and description for the county, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 20th May 2013
Click here for more detailed advice on finding places within A Vision of Britain through Time, and maybe some references to other places called "Hampshire".