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Hampton, Middlesex

HAMPTON, MIDDLESEX, an urban district in the Uxbridge parliamentary division of Middlesex, England, 15 m. S.W. of St Paul's cathedral, London, on the river Thames, served by the London & South Western railway. Pop. (1901), 6813. Close to the river, a mile below the town, stands Hampton Court Palace, one of the finest extant specimens of Tudor architecture, and formerly a royal residence. It was erected by Cardinal Wolsey, who in 1515 received a lease of the old mansion and grounds for 99 years. As the splendour of the building seemed to awaken the cupidity of Henry VIII., Wolsey in 1526 thought it prudent to make him a present of it. It became Henry's favourite residence, and he made several additions to the building, including the great hall and chapel in the Gothic style. Of the original five quadrangles only two now remain, but a third was erected by Sir Christopher Wren for William III. In 1649 a great sale of the effects of the palace took place by order of parliament, and later the manor itself was sold to a private owner but immediately after came into the hands of Cromwell; and Hampton Court continued to be one of the principal residences of the English sovereigns until the time of George II. It was the birthplace of Edward VI., and the meeting-place (1604) of the conference held in the reign of James I. to settle the dispute between the Presbyterians and the state clergy. William III., riding in the grounds, met with the accident which resulted in his death. It is' now partly occupied by persons of rank in reduced circumstances; but the state apartments and picture galleries are open to the public, as is the home park. The gardens, with their ornamental waters, are beautifully laid out in the Dutch style favoured by William III., and contain a magnificent vine planted in 1768. In the enclosure north of the palace, called the Wilderness, is the Maze, a favourite resort. North again lies Bushey Park, a royal demesne exceeding 1000 acres in extent. It is much frequented, especially in early summer, when its triple avenue of horse-chestnut trees is in blossom.

Among several residences in the vicinity of Hampton is Garrick Villa, once, under the name of Hampton House, the residence of David Garrick the actor. Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Richard Steele are among famous former residents. HAMPTON WICK, on the river E. of Bushey Park, is an urban district with a population (1901) of 2606.

See E. Law, History of Hampton Court Palace (London, 1890).

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

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