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Havant ( ) is a town in south east Hampshire on the South coast of Englandmarker, between Portsmouthmarker and Chichestermarker. It gives its name to the boroughmarker comprising the town and the surrounding area.

It has good railway connections to Londonmarker, Portsmouthmarker and Brightonmarker, being served by Havant railway stationmarker. The A27 road runs past its Southern side, beyond which lies Langstonemarker, and then Hayling Islandmarker. To the north lies Leigh Parkmarker, a large council estate suburb which lies within Havant's boundaries, and beyond that Staunton Country Parkmarker. To the east is Emsworthmarker, another small town, whilst to the west lies Bedhampton and Portsdown Hillmarker. The A3 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 Langstonemarker, Bedhampton, Leigh Parkmarker, Denvillesmarker and Warblingtonmarker.

Geography

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 Shoppingmarker (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 Cathedralmarker 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 Englandmarker tethered to it.

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 Museummarker 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.

Education

Havant also has one of the more favoured colleges within the Portsmouthmarker district, Havant Collegemarker, located just to the north of the town centre (until the mid 1970s Havant County Grammar School). This success is partly due to the transport connections Havant has, including bus, train and roads, allowing students to commute from nearby towns. The college performs consistently well at AS/A-level with an impressive pass mark of over 99%, which encourages this, especially since several nearby areas either lack a state sector sixth form (e.g. Petersfieldmarker, or the local college significantly underperforms by comparison (e.g. Fareham).

Sport

The town's senior non-league football side is Havant & Waterlooville F.C., On January 16, 2008 they reached the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in their history, beating Swansea City 4-2 in a third-round replay, setting up a 4th round match against Liverpool at Anfieldmarker, which they went on to lose 5-2 despite having led twice in the first half. The town is represented by Havant RFC for rugby and Havant HC are three times winners of the English Hockey League. The latter contributed several players to the British Olympic gold medal winning side of 1988. Havant Hockey Club also contributed two players to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbournemarker. The astroturf was provided by the National Lottery Fund.

References

  1. Reger AJC. A short history of Emsworth and Warblington. Reeves, Portsmouth, 1967.
  2. The Shell Guide to England, ed Hadfield J, 1970 & 1977.
  3. Havant's Christmas Stamp. Hampshire County Library, Winchester, 1976.
  4. BBC NEWS | Education | League Tables | Secondary schools in Hampshire


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