Descriptive Gazetteer Entry for KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES

KINGSTON-UPON-THAMES, a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred, in Surrey. The town stands on the river Thames, at the terminus of a branch of the Twickenham railway, adjacent to Middlesex, opposite Bushy Park and Hampton Court, and near the Surbiton station of the Southwestern railway, 10 miles SW of Vauxhall Bridge and of Hyde Park Corner, and 12 from the London terminus of the Southwestern railway. A Roman station is generally believed to have been here; and many Roman antiquities have been found. An adjacent ford is the first point above London at which the Thames could be anciently crossed; and that may have been used by the Romans, either simply as a practicable crossing place, or as the site of a bridge. The Saxons, at an early period, attached importance to the locality; called it Moreford and Cingestone; held a great council at it in 838; and crowned their kings at it from 900 to 993. A stone, still preserved in a yard of the court house, is traditionally regarded as the coronationseat. A defeat is said to have been suffered by the Danes in a great battle here, on some Shrove Tuesday, and is commemorated annually by a merry game of football. A fortalice seems to have been built at Kingston, soon after the Conquest, and was taken by Henry III., in his contest with De Montfort. The town was occupied by the Earl of Gloucester, in 1264; by Sir Thomas Wyatt, in 1553-4; and by alternately the royalists and the parliamentarians, in the civil war; and it was the scene of both the first action of that war in 1641-2, and the last one in 1648. The town extends about a mile along the Thames; has recently undergone much improvement and extension; and may be said to include the new town of Kingstonupon-Railway, and the Middlesex suburb of HamptonWick. It commands pleasant walks along the river, and has very interesting environs, yet does not itself present many points of beauty. A wooden bridge, over the Thames, was built in 1224; and a beautiful five arched stone bridge, in lieu of this, and at a cost of £40, 000, was built in 1825-7. The town hall, in the centre of the market place, was built in 1840; is in the Italian style; occupies the site of a previous town hall, of the time of Queen Anne; and has, below the balcony, a leaden figure of that queen, replaced from the previous building. The court house, at the end of the market place, is used for the Lent assizes. The house of correction has been converted into barracks for the county militia. All Saints church is later English; was originally cruciform; measures 145 feet by 98; lost its spire, by lightningstroke, in 1445; includes central piers of ancient date, surmounted by a tower of 1708; has been much disfigured by tasteless renovations; still shows interesting features;and contains brasses of 1437 and 1488, an altar tomb of Sir Anthony Benn of 1618, and a statue by Chantry of the Countess of Liverpool who died in 1821. A chapel on the S side of the church, destroyed about 1731, is said to have been the Saxon place of coronation; and is proved, by extant drawings, to have comprised early Norman portions. Christ church, and the churches of Norbiton, Surbiton, Hook, Ham, and Robinhood Gate, also are associated with the town, or within the parish; and there are chapels for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, and Roman Catholics. An old monastic barn, 90 feet square, with a projecting entrance on each side, stood at Canbury, adjoining Norbiton; and belonged to the Canons of Merton priory. The free grammar school at Norbiton was founded by Queen Elizabeth; has an income of £97 from endowment; and had Burton, the editor of "Antonine, " for a master, and Gibbon, the historian, for a pupil. A chapel was built on the site of the grammar school, in 1305, by Edward Lovekyn, a native of Kingston; was rebuilt, in 1367, by his kinsman John Lovekyn; serves now as the school room; measures 13 feet by 17; and has a fine E window. The Cambridge asylum. at Norbiton, was built in 1853, at a cost of £3, 700; is a red brick edifice, in the Italian style; and has a chapel. The blue coat school has £189 from endowment. Cleaver's alms houses have £416; and other charities have £480. There are also national and infant schools, a public dispensary, and a workhouse. A new cemetery, at Norbiton, is spacious, and has two chapels. The town has a post office‡ under London SW, two railway stations with telegraph, two banking offices, and seven chief inns; is a seat of Lent assizes, quarter sessions, petty sessions, and county courts, and a pollingplace; and publishes a weekly newspaper. A weekly market is held on Thursday; fairs are held on WhitThursday and the two following days, on 2 and 3 Aug., and on 13, 14, and 15 Nov.; and that in Nov. is, next to Barnet, the largest fair in the S of England. The trade in corn, at the weekly market, is large; and there are malt houses, corn mills, flax mills, oil mills, breweries, and a distillery. The town was chartered by King John; sent members to parliament from 1311 to 1374; and is governed by a mayor, 8 aldermen, and 24 councillors. It is well supplied with water; and it has a new scheme of drainage, which was attempted to be resisted in 1865, as a nuisance to the Thames, but which was so modified in execution in 1866 as to be not likely to cause any further pollution of the river. Pop. in 1851, 6, 279; in 1861, 9, 790. Houses, 1, 764. The parish contains also the hamlets of Hook, New Malden, and Ham-with-Hatch; and it is ecclesiastically divided into seven parts. Acres, 4, 765. Real property, £115, 971; of which £670 are in gas works. Pop. in 1851, 12, 144; in 1861, 17, 792. Houses, 3, 134. Mansions and villas are numerous. An old building in the old town, with heavy beams of Spanish chestnut, bears the name of King John's dairy, but is much later than his time. The Hogs mill or New mill river, after a run of about 6½ miles, goes through the town to the Thames, and works several mills in its course. The living of All Saints is a vicarage, and the livings of Christchurch, Norbiton-with New Malden, Surbiton, Hook, Ham, and Robinhood-Gate are p. curacies, in the diocese of Winchester. Value of All Saints, £500;* of Norbiton, £200;* of Surbiton, £150; of Hook, £80; of Ham, £101; of the others, not reported. Patron of All Saints and of Robinhood-Gate, King's College, Cambridge; of Christchurch, W. H. Stone, Esq.; of Surbiton, Sir E. Antrobus and others; of Hook, the Bishop of Winchester; of All Saints, the Vicar of Kingston.—The sub-district contains also the parish of Malden, and comprises 6, 037 acres. Pop., 18, 112. Houses, 3, 193.—The district comprehends also the sub-district of Wimbledon, conterminate with Wimbledon parish; the sub-district of Esher, containing the parishes of Esher, East Moulsey, West Moulsey, Long Ditton, and ThamesDitton; and the sub-district of Hampton, containing the parishes of Hampton and Teddington, electorally in Middlesex. Acres, 22, 487. Poor rates in 1863, £27, 517. Pop. in 1851, 26, 783; in 1861, 36, 479. Houses, 6, 551. Marriages in 1863, 237; births, 1, 187, -of which 47 were illegitimate; deaths, 773, -of which 273 were at ages under 5 years, and 20 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 1, 763; births, 9, 280; deaths, 5, 666. The places of worship, in 1851, were 18 of the Church of England, with 9, 712 sittings; 8 of Independents, with 1, 174 s.; 3 of Baptists, with 394 s.; 2 of Quakers, with 482 s.; 3 of Wesleyans, with 265 s.; 1 of Bible Christians, with 34 attendants; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 214 s. The schools were 25 public dayschools, with 2, 380 scholars; 64 private day schools, with 1, 201 s.; 19 Sunday schools, with 1, 999 s.; and 4 evening schools for adults, with 81 s.-The hundred contains six parishes, and part of another; and is cut into two divisions, first and second. Acres, 6, 655 and 3, 618. Pop. in 1851, 15, 773 and 2, 421; in 1861, 22, 967. Houses, 3, 943.

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

Linked entities:
Feature Description: "a town, a parish, a sub-district, a district, and a hundred"   (ADL Feature Type: "cities")
Administrative units: Kingston upon Thames CP/AP       Surrey AncC
Place: Kingston upon Thames

Go to the linked place page for a location map, and for access to other historical writing about the place. Pages for linked administrative units may contain historical statistics and information on boundaries.