Southamp'ton, a municipal, parliamentary, and county borough and seaport in the south of Hampshire (which is sometimes called South-amptonshire), 12 1/2 miles SSW. of Winchester, 23 1/2 NW. of Portsmouth, and 79 SW. of London by the London and South-western Railway (1840). It occupies a peninsula at the head of Southampton Water, and between the estuary of the Test on the west and south and the mouth of the Itchen on the east. There are remains of the 14th-century town-walls, and four out of seven gates, the Norman Bargate being much the finest, though shorn of its effigies of Sir Bevis of Hampton and the giant Ascapard. Southampton has the Watts Memorial Hall (1876), a grammar-school (1553; rebuilt and reorganised 1872-75), the Hartley Institution (1862), and the headquarters of the Ordnance Survey (1857). St Mary's Church (1879), by Street, is a memorial to Bishop Wilberforce. St Michael's Church, the oldest in the borough, retains Norman tower arches, and several of the private houses are of Norman architecture. The Domus Dei, or God's House (12th c), is one of the earliest hospitals in England; in its chapel (now used for French service) are buried the Earl of Cambridge, Lord Scrope, and Sir Thomas Grey, executed by Henry V. for treason in 1415. The docks, first opened in 1842, can float the largest steamers, and have been greatly extended and improved. A new tidal dock, 18 acres in extent, and having a minimum depth of 26 feet at low-water spring-tides, was opened by Queen Victoria on 26th July 1890; its cost was £300,000. Southampton is the place of departure and arrival of the West India and Brazil and the South African mail steam-packets. There is considerable traffic with the Channel Islands and French coast, and also a large cattle-trade with Spain and Portugal. Yacht and shipbuilding and engine-making are actively carried on. Incorporated as a borough by Henry I., Southampton returns two members. Pop. (1801) 7913; (1851) 45,305; (1881) 60,051; (1901) 104,911. Southampton supplanted the Roman station of Clausentum, 1 mile NE., and its foundation is ascribed to the Anglo-Saxons. It is called Hamtune and Suth-Hamtun in the Saxon Chronicle, and Hantune in the Domesday Book. A great part of it was burned by the combined French, Spanish, and Genoese fleets in 1338, and in the following year its defences were strengthened. Southampton is the birthplace of Isaac Watts (to whom in 1861 a monument was erected in the West Park), of Thomas Dibdin, and of Sir J. E. Millais.
Southampton Water is a fine inlet, stretching 11 miles NW. from the point at which the Solent and Spithead unite, and nearly 2 miles Wide. The Isle of Wight forms a magnificent natural breakwater, and occasions a second high-water two hours after the first. Southampton Water receives the Test or Anton, Itchen, and Hamble. See works by J. Silvester Davies (1883) and F. M'Fadden (1891).