Sunday, 12 July 2009

Havant/ Hamanfunta: Place in The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell



Havant (pronounced /ˈhævnt/) is a town in south east Hampshire on the South coast of England, between Portsmouth and Chichester.
It gives its name to the borough comprising the town and the surrounding area.
It has good railway connections to London, Portsmouth and Brighton, being served by Havant railway station. The A27 road runs past its Southern side, beyond which lies Langstone, and then Hayling Island. To the north lies Leigh Park, a large council estate suburb which lies within Havant's boundaries, and beyond that Staunton Country Park.
To the east is Emsworth, another small town, whilst to the west lies Bedhampton and Portsdown Hill. The A3(M) motorway passes to the west. The old centre of the town dates from Roman times, but the town has grown a lot since World War II, currently forming a conurbation with Langstone, Bedhampton, Leigh Park, Denvilles and Warblington.

Geography

The Old House At Home.

The raised grass to the right is part of St Faiths church grounds, in the middle of town.
The old centre of the town is on a classic crossroad configuration, with the four streets being named North Street, East Street, South Street and West Street, and St Faith's church at the crossing. At least one axis (and evidence suggests both) is a known Roman road.
There are several natural springs in the area, including one a short distance south-west of the church on West Street at the end of Homewell. This used to be the home of the premier parchment making facility in southern England (closing in 1936) which later became a glove making factory and leather processing plant. The Treaty of Versailles was written on Havant parchment.
The main shopping centre is called Meridian Shopping (formerly known as The Meridian Centre), as well as a pedestrianised section of West Street. The old town hall now houses Havant Arts Centre. Havant is home to the local community radio station, Angel Radio which specialises in music and memories of the pre-60s era.

History
In 1086 (at the time of Domesday Book), Havant was a village with a population of around 100. In 1200, the monks of Winchester Cathedral were granted the right to hold a market at Havant. Around 1450 an annual fair was held. Much of Havant was destroyed by fire in 1760, leaving only the church and the adjacent late 16th or early 17th century cottages. The cottages are now known collectively as "The Old House at Home", and are now used as a pub. It is claimed that the two main beams in the lounge bar were recovered from the Spanish Armada, and that the "Bear Post" within once had the last dancing bear in England tethered to it.

Hurst Castle and Lighthouse

Early English in style, the oldest undisturbed parts of the Church of St Faith, such as the chancel, date from the early 13th century. Some of the foundations however are believed to date from Roman times. The vestry is 14th century and there is a brass to William Aylward, 1413. In 1976 the 8½ pence Royal Mail Christmas stamp was an angel design from a medieval embroidery in the Victoria and Albert Museum originating from the Catholic Mission at Brockhampton near Havant. In 1847 Havant became connected by railway to Portsmouth and Chichester, and this was followed by a connection to London in 1859 and a branch line to Hayling Island in 1867 (closed in the 1960s). Since then it has been an important junction.

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