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KINGSTON-ON-THAMES, a market town and municipal borough in the Kingston parliamentary division of Surrey, England, n m. S.W. of Charing Cross, London; on the London and South-Western railway. Pop. (1901), 34,375- It nas a frontage with public walks and gardens upon the right bank of the Thames, and is in close proximity to Richmond and Bushey Parks, its pleasant situation rendering it a favourite residential district. The ancient wooden bridge over the river, which was in existence as early as 1223, was superseded by a structure of stone in 1827. The parish church of All Saints, chiefly Perpendicular in style, contains several brasses of the 15th century, and monuments by Chantrey and others; the grammar school, rebuilt in 1878, was originally founded as a chantry by Edward Lovekyn in 1305, and converted into a school by Queen Elizabeth. Near the parish church stood the chapel of St Mary, where it is alleged the Saxon kings were crowned. The ancient stone said to have been used as a throne at these coronations was removed to the market-place in 1850. At Norbiton, within the borough, is the Royal Cambridge Asylum for soldiers' widows (1854). At Kingston Hill is an industrial and training school for girls, opened in 1892. There are large market gardens in the neighbourhood, and the town possesses oil-mills, flourmills, breweries and brick and tile works. The borough is under a mayor, 8 aldermen and 24 councillors. Area, 1133 acres.

The position of Kingston (Cyningestun, Chingestune) on the Thames where there was probably a ford accounts for its origin; its later prosperity was due to the bridge which existed in 1223 and possibly long before. In 836 or 838 it was the meeting-place of the council under Ecgbert, and in the 1cth century some if not all of the West Saxon kings were crowned at Kingston. In the time of Edward the Confessor it was a royal manor, and in 1086 included a church, five mills and three fisheries. Domesday also mentions bedels in Kingston. The original charters were granted by John in 1200 and 1209, by which the free men of Kingston were empowered to hold the town in fee-farm for ever, with all the liberties that it had while in the king's hands. Henry III. sanctioned the gild-merchant which had existed previously, and granted other privileges. These charters were confirmed and extended by many succeeding monarchs down to Charles I. Henry VI. incorporated the town under two bailiffs. Except for temporary surrenders of their corporate privileges under Charles II. and James II. the government of the borough continued in its original form until 1835, when it was reincorporated under the title of mayor, aldermen and burgesses. Kingston returned two members to parliament in 1311, 1313, 1353 and 1373, but never afterwards. The market, still held on Saturdays, was granted by James I., and the Wednesday market by Charles II. To these a cattle-market on Thursdays has been added by the corporation. The only remaining fair, now held on the 13th of November, was granted by Henry III., and was then held on the morrow of All Souls and seven days following.

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

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