PETERSFIELD, a market town in the Petersfield parliamentary division of Hampshire, England, 55 m. S.W. from London by the London & South Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901), 3265. The church of St Peter retains some ornate Norman work. The picturesque market-place contains an equestrian statue ofj William III.
Ecclesiastically a chapelry of Buriton, Petersfield (Peterfelde) owes its origin as a borough to the charter granted by William, earl of Gloucester, in the reign of Henry II. and confirmed later by his widow, Hawise. Petersfield is not mentioned in Domesday, but it was probably then included in the manor of Mapledurham. It was a mesne borough possessing by its first charter the liberties and customs of Winchester together with a merchant gild. These grants were confirmed by John in 1198 and in 1415 Henry V. in addition freed the burgesses from all tolls. No charter of incorporation has been found. Gradually privileges and rights other than those of a mesne borough were usurped by the mayor and burgesses, but were recovered by a suit brought against them by Thomas Hanbury, owner of the borough, in 1611. A mayor continued to be elected until 1885. Petersfield was represented in parliament in 1307. No return was then made until 1552-1553, from which date two members were regularly returned. In 1832 the number was reduced to one, and in 1885 the representation was merged in that of the county. Three-day fairs at the feasts of St Peter and St Andrew were granted in 1255. In 1892 the summer fair then held on the loth of July was abolished. The autumn fair now held on the 6th of October is for both business and pleasure. The market, which dates from before 1373, formerly held on Saturday, is now held on alternate Wednesdays. In the 16th century Petersfield had important cloth and leather manufactures.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)