Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 821 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
KINGSTON, the capital and chief port of Jamaica, West Indies. Pop. (1901), 46,542, mostly negroes. It is situated in the county of Surrey, in the south-east of the island, standing on the north shore of a land-locked harbour—for its size one of the finest in the world—and with its suburbs occupying an area of Io8o acres. The town contains the principal government offices. It has a good water supply, a telephone service and a supply of both gas and electric light, while electric trams ply between the town and its suburbs. The Institute of Jamaica maintains a public library, museum and art gallery especially devoted to local interests. The old parish church in King Street, dating probably from 1692 was the burial-place of William Hall (1699) and Admiral Benbow (1702). The suburbs are remarkable for their beauty. The climate is dry and healthy, and the temperature ranges from 930 to 66 ° F. Kingston was founded in 1693, after the neighbouring town of Port Royal had been ruined by an earthquake in 1692. In 1703, Port Royal having been again laid waste by fire, Kingston became the commercial, and in 1872 the political, capital of the island. On several occasions Kingston was almost entirely consumed by fire, the conflagrations of 1780, 1843, 1862 and 1882 being particularly severe. On the 14th of January 1907 it was devastated by a terrible earthquake. A long immunity had led to the erection of many buildings not specially designed to withstand such shocks, and these and the fire which followed were so destructive that practically the whole town had to be rebuilt. (See JAMAICA.) KINGSTON-ON-THAMES, a market town and municipal borough in the Kingston parliamentary division of Surrey, England, 11 m. S.W. of Charing Cross, London; on the Londonand South-Western railway. Pop. (19o1), 34,375• It has 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 The ancient wooden bridge over the river, which was in existence as early as 1223, was superseded by a structure of stone in 1827.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 r85o. 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, flour-mills, 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 loth 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. KINGSTON-UPON-HULL, EARLS AND DUKES OF. These titles were borne by the family of Pierrepont, or Pierrepoint, from 1628 to 1773.
End of Article: KINGSTON

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.