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Andover, England

ANDOVER, ENGLAND, a market-town and municipal borough in the Andover parliamentary division of Hampshire, England, 67 m. W.S.W. of London by the London & South Western railway, served also by the Midland & South Western Junction railway. Area 8663 acres. Pop. (1901) 6509. It is pleasantly situated on the river Anton, a tributary of the Test, in a hilly district. The church of St Mary replaced an ancient one in 1848; a Norman doorway is preserved from the original structure. The site of a Norman priory can be traced. Several early earthworks are seen in the vicinity, among which the circular camp on Bury Hill, S.W. of the town, is a very fine example. It is probably of British origin. Andover is the centre of a large agricultural district. Malting is carried on and there is a large iron-foundry; but the silk manufactures, once prosperous, are now extinct. The corporation consists of a mayor, 4 aldermen and 12 councillors.

There are numerous Roman villas in the district, but Andover itself is not a Roman site. The town, the name of which appears in the forms Andefeian, Andieura and Andover, probably owes much of its importance to the neighbourhood of the Roman road from Silchester to Old Sarum. It is mentioned in King Edred's will, a document of doubtful authenticity, dated c. 955. Later the Witenagemot met here, and it is the traditional scene of the meeting of AEthelred and Olaf the Dane. Andover existed as a borough before 1176, and Henry II. exempted its inhabitants from toll and passage. In 1201 King John increased the farm paid by the burgesses, while Henry III. granted them return of writs, probate of wills and other privileges. The corporation was reconstituted in 1599 and again in 1682. From 1295 till 1305 the burgesses returned two members to parliament but then ceased to do so till 1586. After the reform of 1867 they returned only one member and in 1885 the borough was disfranchised. A gild merchant is mentioned as early as 1175. The cattle-market was granted in 1682, and there is an ancient corn-market, probably held by prescription. The November sheep-fair dates from 1205, and the neighbouring fair at Weyhill: (since 1599 a part of the borough) was formerly among the most important in England. The town possessed an iron-market early m the 14th century. At that date the wool-trade also was very prosperous, and the manufactures of silk and parchment are among the extinct industries of the town.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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