Old Hampshire Mapped

Speed's Hampshire 1611

Notes by
Martin and Jean Norgate: 1999

This transcription is made from the back of a copy of John Speed's map of Hampshire published 1611. The item used is in the Map Collection of Hampshire CC Museums Service, item HMCMS:KD1996.16.

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transcription HAnt-shire by the Saxons written Handescyr, lying upon the west of Engla~d, is bordered upon the North by Barkshire, upon the East with Surrey and Sussex, upon the South with the British Seas, and Ile of Wight, & upon the West, with Dorset and Wilt-shires.

(2) The length thereof from Blackwater in the North upon Surrey, unto Bascomb in the South upon the Sea, extended in a right line, is fifty foure English miles: and the breadth drawne from Petersfield in the East, unto Tidworth in the west, and confined of Wilts-shire, is little lesse than thirty miles, the whole Circumference about, one hundred fifty and five.

(3) The aire is temperate, though somewhat thicke by reason of the Seas, and many Rivers that thorow the Shire doe fall, whose plenty of fish and fruitfull increase, do manifoldly redeeme the harmes which they make.

(4) The Soile is rich for corne and cattle, pleasant for pasturage, and plenteous for woods; in a word, in all commodities either for Sea or Land, blessed and happy.

(5) Havens it hath, and those commodious both to let in, and to loose out ships of great burthen in trade of Merchandise, or other imploiments: whereof Portsmouth, Tichfield, Hamble and Southampton are chiefe: beside many other creekes that open their bosomes in those Seas, and the Coast strengthned with many strong Castles, such as Hurst, Calshot, South-hampton, S. Andrewes, Worth, Porchester, and the South Castle, besides other Bulwarkes, or Block-houses that secure the Country: And further in the Land, as Malwood, Winchester, and Odiam, so strong, that in the time of King John, thirteene English men onely defended the Fort for fifteene daies against Lewis of France, that with a great Host assaulted it most hotly.

(6) Anciently it was possessed upon the North by the Segontians, who yeelded themselves to Julius Caesar, & whose chiefe Citie was Vindonum, Caer Segonte, now Silcester; and upon the South by the Belgae, and Regni, who were subdued by Plausius and Vespasian the Romans, where Titus rescuing his father, straitly besieged by the Britaines, as Dio and Forcatulus do report, was grasped about with an adder, but no hurt to his person, and therefore taken for a signe of good lucke. Their chief Towne was Rincewood, as yet sounding the name: and more within Land inhabited the Manures, as Beda calles them, whose Hundreds also to this day give a relish of their names.

(7) Neere Ringwood, and the place once YTENE, from God and people's service, to Beast and luxurie, thirty sixe Parish Churches were converted and pulled downe by the Conquerour, and thirty miles of circuite inforrestred for his game of Hunting, wherein his Sons Richard and Rufus, with Henry the second sonne to Duke Robert, his first, felt by hasty death the hand of Justice and Revenge: for in the same Forrest, Richard by blasting of a pestilent aire, Rufus by shot taken for a beast, and Henry as Absolom hanged by a bough, came to their untimely ends. At so deare a rate the pleasures of dogs, and harbour for beasts were bought in the blood of these Princes.

(8) The generall commodities gotten in this Shire, are woolls, Cloths and Iron, whereof great store is therein wrought from the Mines, and thence transported into all parts of this Realme, and their Clothes & Karsies, carried into many forrain Countries, to that Countries great benefit, and Englands great praise.

(9) The Trade thereof, with other provisions for the whole, are vented through eighteen Market Townes in this Shire, whereof Winchester, the Britaines Caer Gwent, the Romans Venta Belgarum, & the Saxons Windaneasder is chiefe, ancient enough by our British Historians, as built by King Rudhudibras, nine hundred yeeres before the Nativitie of Christ: and famous in the Romans times for the weaving and embroideries therein wrought, to the peculiar uses of their Emperours owne persons. In the Saxons time, after two Calamities of consuming fire, her walles were raised, & the Citie made the Roiall seate of their West Saxons Kings, and the Metropolitan of their Bishops Sea, wherein Egbert and Elfred their most famous Monarchs were Crowned: & Henry the third, the Normans longest raigner, first tooke breath: And here king Aethelstane erected sixe houses for his mint: but the Danish desolation over-runnig all, this Citie felt their furie in the daies of king Ethelbright, and in the Normans time, twice was defaced by the misfortune of fire, which they againe repaired and graced with the trust of keeping the publike records of the Realme. In the Civill warres of Maud and Stephen, this City was sore sacked, but againe receiving breath, was by King Edward the third, appointed the place for Mart of wooll and cloth. The Cathedrall Church built by Kenwolf king of the West Saxons, that had beene Amphibalus, S. Peters, Swythins, and now holy Trinity, is the Sanctuary for the ashes of many English Kings: For herein great Egbert, Anno 836, with his sonne king Ethelwolfe, 857: here Elfred, Oxfords founder, 901, with his Queene Elswith, 904: Here the first Edmund before the Conquest, 924, with his sonnes Elfred, and Elsward: Here Edred, 955, and Edwy, 956, both kings of England: Here Emme, 1052, with her Danish Lord Canute, 1035, and his sonne Hardicanute, 1042: And here lastly the Normans, Richard and Rufus, 1100, were interred; their bones by Bishop Fox were gathered and shrined in little guilt coffers fixed upon a wall in the Quire, where still they remain carefully preserved.

This Cities situation is fruitful and pleasant in a vally under hilles, having her River on the East, and Castle on the west, the Circuite of whose walles, are well neere two English miles, containing one thousand eight hundred and eightie paces; thorow which openeth sixe gates for entrance, and therein are seven Churches for divine service, besides the Minster, and those decaied; such as Callender, Ruell Chappell, S. Maries Abbey, & the Friers, without in the Suburbes, and Sooke; in the East is S. Peters, & in the North Hyde Church and Monasterie, whose ruines remaining, show the beautie that formerly it bare. The Graduation of this Citie by the Mathematicks, is placed for Latitude in the degree 51 10 minutes, and for Longitude 19, 3 minutes.

(10) More south, is South hampton, a Towne populous, rich and beautifull, from whom the whole Shire deriveth her name, most strongly walled about with square stone, containing in circuit, one thousand and two hundred paces, having seven Gates for entrance, and twenty nine Towres for defence, two very stately Keies for Ships arrivage, & five faire Churches for Gods divine service, beisdes an Hospitall called Gods house, wherein the unfortunate Richard, Earle of Cambridge, beheaded for treason, lyeth interred. On the west of this Towne is mounted a most beautifull Castle, in forme Circular, and wall within wall, the foundation upon a hill so topped, that it cannot be ascended but by staires, carying a goodly prospect both by Land and Sea, & in the East without the walles, a goodly Church sometimes stood, called S. Maries, which was pulled down: for that it gave the French direction of course, who with fire had greatly endangered the Towne: in stead thereof is now newly erected a small and unfinished Chappell. In this place, saith learned Campden, stood the ancient Clausentium, or fort of the Romans, whose circuit on that side extended it selfe into the Sea: this suffered many depredations by the Saxon Pirates, and in Anno 980, was by the Danes almost quite overthrowne. In king Edward the thirds time, it was fired by the French, under the Conduct of the king of Sicils sonne, whom a Country man incountred and strucke downe with his Club, He crying Rancon, that is, Ransome: but he neither understanding his language, nor the law that Armes doth allow, laid on more soundly, saying: I know thee a Frankon, and therefore shalt thou die: and in Richard the seconds time it was somewhat removed, and built in the place where now it standeth. In this Clausentium, Cannute to evict his flatterers, made triall of his deitie, commanding the seas to keepe backe from his feate: but being not obeyed, he acknowledged God to be the onely supreame Governor, and in a religious devotion gave up his Crowne to the rood at Winchester. More ancient was Silcester built by Constantius, great Constantines sonne, whose monument (they say) was seene in that Citie and where another Constantine put on the purple roabe against Honorius, as bot Ninnius and Gervase of Canterburie doe witnes. Herein by our Historians record, the warlike Arthur was crowned. Whose greatnesse for circuite contained no lesse then fourescore acres of ground, and the walles of great height, yet standing two miles in compasse about.

This Citie by the Danish Rovers suffred much wracke, that her mounted tops were never since seene, and her Hulk (the walles) inmured to their middle in the earth, which the rubbish of her owne desolations hath filled.

(11) Chiefe Religious houses within this Countie erected and againe suppressed were these, Christs-Church, Beaulieu, Whorwell, Rumsey, Redbridge, Winchester, Hyde, South-Hampton, and Tichfield. The honour of this shire is dignified with the high Title of Marques, and them Earles of Winchester and South-Hampton; whose armes of families are as thou seest, and her division into thirty seven Hundreds, and those againe into two hundred fifty three Parishes, as in her Table shall appeare.

table of hundreds and parishes

Speed's Hampshire 1611, contents
General index
Old Hampshire Mapped

Map HMCMS:KD1996.16