|Area: 40.25 kmē|
Portsmouth is a city of about 189,000 people located in the county of Hampshire on the southern coast of England. The administrative unit itself forms part of the wider Portsmouth conurbation, with an estimated population of 442,252 residents within its boundaries, making it the 11th largest urban area in England. A significant naval port for centuries, it is home to the world's oldest dry dock still in use and to many famous ships.
Portsmouth has declined as a military port in recent years but remains a major dockyard and base for the Royal Navy. There is a commercial port serving destinations on the continent for freight and passenger traffic.
The Portsmouth Urban Area covers an area with a population well over twice that of the city of Portsmouth itself, and includes Southsea, Fareham, Portchester, Gosport, Havant (which includes the large suburb Leigh Park), Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington and Waterlooville.
Although there have been settlements in the area since before Roman times, mostly being offshoots of Portchester, Portsmouth is commonly regarded as having been founded in 1180 by John of Gisors (Jean de Gisors). Most early records of Portsmouth are thought to have been destroyed by Norman invaders following the Norman Conquest. The earliest detailed references to Portsmouth can be found in the Southwick Cartularies. However the Oxford Dictionary of British Place Names gives the name "Portesmuthan" as late 9th century, meaning "mouth of the harbour called Port" (from Latin portus).
In the Domesday survey there is no mention of Portsmouth. However settlements that later went on to form part of Portsmouth are listed. These are Buckland, Copnor, Fratton on Portsea Island and Cosham, Wymering, Drayton and Farlington on the mainland. At this time it is estimated the Portsmouth area had a population not greater than two or three hundred.
While in the primary diocese of Portsea there was a small church prior to 1166 (now St Mary's in Fratton) Portsmouth's first real church came into being in 1181 when John of Gisors granted an acre (4,000 mē) of land to Augustinian monks at the Southwick Priory to build a chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket. This chapel continued to be run by the monks of Southwick Priory until the Reformation after which its possession was transferred to Winchester College. The modern Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral is built on the original location of the chapel.