Place:Southampton, Hampshire, England


Alt namesSotonsource: common vernacular abbreviation
Hantonesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 125
Hantunesource: Domesday Book (1985) p 125
Southantoniasource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 22
Suhamptonsource: Canby, Historic Places (1984) II, 878
Trisantonis portussource: Orbis Latinus (1971) p 22
TypeBorough (county), District municipality, Unitary authority
Coordinates50.9°N 1.4°W
Located inHampshire, England     (1000 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Southampton is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated 75 miles (121 km) southwest of London and 19 miles (31 km) northwest of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. It lies at the northernmost point of Southampton Water at the confluence of the River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The city, which has been a unitary authority since 1997, has a population of over 253,500 as estimated in 2013. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to "Soton", and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian.

Southampton is noted for its association with the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire fighter aircraft, and more generally in the World War II narrative as one of the departure points for D-Day. More recently it has become known as the home port of a number of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Southampton's port is its largest industry (see the Wikipedia article), but significant employers in the city of Southampton also include The University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, Southampton Airport, and Ordnance Survey, producers of highly detailed maps for almost two centuries.



For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Southampton#History.


After the establishment of Hampshire County Council, following the act in 1888, Southampton became a county borough within the county of Hampshire, which meant that it had many features of a county, but governance was shared between the Corporation in Southampton and the new county council. There is a great source of confusion in the fact that the ancient shire county, along with its associated assizes, was known as the "County of Southampton" or "Southamptonshire". This was officially changed to Hampshire in 1959 although the county had been commonly known as Hampshire for centuries. Southampton became a non-metropolitan district in 1974.

The city has undergone many changes to its governance over the centuries and in 1997 it once again became administratively independent from the County of Hampshire when it was made into a unitary authority. This was one of the facilities of 1992 Local Government Act. The district remains part of the Hampshire ceremonial county.

NOTE: To match with the rest of Hampshire (and other counties throughout England) Southampton since 1974 could be referred to in WeRelate as Southampton District. However, since there was little change in the geographic structure at that time, the term Southampton District has been redirected here to Southampton.

Areas and suburbs

Southampton is divided into council wards, suburbs, constituencies, ecclesiastical parishes, and other less formal areas. Wikipedia has this map of Southampton with suburbs located in its section Geography.

Settlements outside the city which are sometimes considered as suburbs of Southampton, include Chartwell Green, Chilworth, Nursling, Rownhams, Totton, Eastleigh and Westend.

The villages of Marchwood, Ashurst and Hedge End may be considered commuter towns or exurbs of Southampton.

In the 19th century, the city was divided into civil parishes based on its even older ecclesiastical parishes: Southampton St. Mary, Southampton All Saints, Southampton Holy Rood, Southampton St. Michael, Southampton St. Laurence, and Southampton St. John. Southampton St. Laurence and Southampton St. John merged into one ecclesiastical parish in 1708 (Southampton St. Laurence with St. John), but Southampton St. Laurence (often spelled Southampton St. Lawrence) was a civil parish from an unspecified date (probably 1837 or 1866) until 1912 when Southampton County Borough took over the civil registration duties carried out by the ecclesiastical parishes.

St. Mary Extra and Southampton St. Nicholas was located respectively east and north of the city. St. Nicholas was only a civil parish between 1920 and 1925. These church links may be found in old parish and civil records. They are useful to identify what part of the city a person was living in. A website provided by FamilySearch named English Jurisdictions 1851 outlines all these parishes as well as the surrounding ones with the usual civil parish names.

Research Tips

  • The Borough of Southampton is covered in Volume 3 of the Victoria County History for Hampshire
  • GENUKI has a list of archive holders in Hampshire including the Hampshire Record Office, various museums in Portsmouth and Southhampton, the Isle of Wight Record Office and Archives.
  • The Hampshire Online Parish Clerk project has a large collection of transcriptions from Parish Registers across Hampshire.
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 together with tables listing the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered, along with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Do respect the copyright on this material.
  • The three-storey City Museum in Winchester covers the Iron Age and Roman periods, the Middle Ages, and the Victorian period.
  • Volumes in The Victoria County History Series are available for Hampshire through British History Online. There are three volumes and the county is covered by parishes within the old divisions of "hundreds".
A collection of maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrating the English county of Hampshire over the period 1832-1932 (the last two are expandible):
  • A group of maps of the post-1974 municipal districts or boroughs of Hampshire on Wikipedia Commons
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Southampton. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.