GOSPORT. a seaport in the Fareham parliamentary division of Hampshire, England, facing Portsmouth across Portsmouth harbour, 81 m. S.W. from London by the London & Southwestern railway. Pop. of urban district of Gosport and Alverstoke (1901), 28,884. A ferry and a floating bridge connect it with Portsmouth. It is enclosed within a double line of fortifications, consisting of the old Gosport lines, and, about 3000 yds. to the east, a series of forts connected by strong lines with occasional batteries, forming part of the defence works of Portsmouth harbour. The principal buildings are the town hall and market hall, and the church of Holy Trinity, erected in the time of William III. To the south at Haslar there is a magnificent naval hospital, capable of containing 2000 patients, and adjoining it a gunboat slipway and large barracks. To the north is the Royal Clarence victualling yard, with brewery, cooperage, powder magazines, biscuit-making establishment, and storehouses for various kinds of provisions for the royal navy.
Gosport (Goseporte, Gozeport, Gosberg, Godsport) was originally included in Alverstoke manor, held in 1086 by the bishop and monks of Winchester under whom villeins farmed the land. In 1284 the monks agreed to give up Alverstoke with Gosport to the bishop, whose successors continued to hold them until the lands were taken over by the ecclesiastical commissioners. After the confiscation of the bishop's lands in 1641, however, the manor of Alverstoke with Gosport was granted to George Withers, but reverted to the bishop at the Restoration. In the 16th century Gosport was " a little village of fishermen." It was called a borough in 1461, when there are also traces of burgage tenure. From 1462 one bailiff was elected annually in the borough court, and government by a bailiff continued until 1682, when Gosport was included in Portsmouth borough under the charter of Charles II. to that town. This was annulled in 1688, since which time there is no evidence of the election of bailiffs. With this exception no charter of incorporation is known, although by the 16th century the inhabitants held common property in the shape of tolls of the ferry. The importance of Gosport increased during the 16th and lyth centuries owing to its position at the mouth of Portsmouth harbour, and its convenience as a victualling station. For this reason also the town was particularly prosperous during the American and Peninsular Wars. About 1 540 fortifications were built there for the defence of the harbour, and in the i?th century it was a garrison town under a lord-lieutenant.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)