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The Hampshire Portal

Hampshire outline map with UK.png

Hampshire, sometimes historically Southamptonshire or Hamptonshire, (abbr. Hants) is a county on the south coast of England. The county borders (clockwise from West), Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex. The county has an area of 1,455 square miles (3,769 km²) and at its widest points is approximately 55 miles (90 km) east-west and 40 miles (65 km) north-south. The county town is Winchester situated at 51°03′35″N 1°18′36″W / 51.05972°N 1.31000°W / 51.05972; -1.31000. The 2001 census gave the population of the administrative county as 1.24 million; the ceremonial county also includes the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, which are administratively independent, and has a total population of 1.6 million. Christchurch and Bournemouth, within the historic borders of the county, were made part of the non-metropolitan county of Dorset in 1974.

Hampshire is a popular holiday area, with tourist attractions including its many seaside resorts, the maritime area in Portsmouth, and the motor museum at Beaulieu. The New Forest National Park lies within the borders, as does a large area of the South Downs National Park [1]. Hampshire has a long maritime history and two of England's largest ports lie on its coast. The county is famed as home of the writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

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The longest nave in Europe

Winchester Cathedral at Winchester in Hampshire is one of the largest cathedrals in England, said to be the second longest, and with the longest nave, in Europe. It is dedicated to the Holy Trinity, Saint Peter, Saint Paul and Saint Swithun and is the seat of the Bishop of Winchester and centre of the Diocese of Winchester.

The cathedral was originally founded in 642 on an immediately adjoining site to the north. This building was known as the Old Minster. It became part of a monastic settlement in 971. Saint Swithun was buried near the Old Minster and then in it, before being moved to the new Norman cathedral. Mortuary chests said to contain the remains of Saxon kings, first buried in the Old Minster, are also housed in the present cathedral. The Old Minster was demolished in 1093.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1079 under bishop Walkelin. The earliest part of the present building is the crypt, which dates from that time. William II of England (son of William I 'the Conqueror') was buried in the cathedral on 11 August 1100, after he was killed in a hunting accident in the nearby New Forest. The squat, square central tower was begun in 1202 to replace an earlier version which collapsed on top of him. It has an indisputably Norman look to it. Work continued on the cathedral during the 14th century, in 1394 the remodelling of the Norman nave commenced to the designs of master mason William Wynford, this continued into the 15th and 16th centuries, notably with the building of the retrochoir to accommodate the many pilgrims to the shrine of Saint Swithun. The Benedictine foundation, the Priory of Saint Swithun, was dissolved in 1539. The cloister and chapter house were demolished, but the cathedral continued.

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St John the Baptist Church.jpg
Credit: User:Plumbago
St John the Baptist Church, Boldre, Hampshire

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Richard Henry "Peter" Sellers, CBE (8 September 1925 – 24 July 1980) was an English comedian, actor, and performer, who came to prominence on the BBC radio series The Goon Show and later became a film star.

Sellers was born in Southsea, Portsmouth, England, to a family of entertainers. Despite his real name being Richard Henry Sellers, his parents called him "Peter" from an early age, in memory of his older stillborn brother of that name.

Following his family in the variety circuit, Sellers learnt this popular yet difficult art and the immediate instinct of the "gag". He was a very versatile artist: an excellent dancer, a drummer good enough to tour with several jazz bands (Sellers drumming is showcased in a clip of the Steve Allen show in 1964), and a skillful player of the ukulele and banjo.

During World War II, Sellers was an airman in the Royal Air Force, rising to corporal by the end of the war. However, due to poor eyesight, he was relegated to RAF ground staff duties throughout this period.

Success came as one of the Goons on the radio programme The Goon Show with fellow comedians Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Michael Bentine and was followed by early television work.

Sellers' film success came with a series of British comedies, including The Ladykillers (1955), I'm All Right Jack (1959) and The Mouse That Roared (1959). Internationally he began receiving attention for the portrayal of an Indian doctor in The Road to Hong Kong in 1962, the seventh and last in the Bing Crosby/Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour "Road" series.

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  1. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7973417.stm
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