The name was originally Hamtum, which Professor Eilert Ekwall interprets as the settlement in river land. The prefix ‘South’ was added after 962, traditionally to distinguish the town from Northampton, also then under the jurisdiction of Wessex.
It has also been suggested that the name implies merely a southern suburb of Hamtun just as Northam can be demonstrated to be so named as a northern suburb of Hamwic. More precisely, by this interpretation, the original Hamtun lay on either side of the lower stretch of Above Bar Street and its 10th century extension South-Hampton occupied the northern portion of the (later) walled town.


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