Roman Southampton was across the river at Bitterne. The Saxon town was a trading 'wick' around St. Mary's Church, north of the city centre, known as 'Hamwic'. Medieval Southampton, surrounded by the third longest surviving circuit of town walls in the country, is at the heart of the present city. It has always been amongst England's richest ports, but suffered much from attacks by the French. The Red Lion in Southampton was the scene of the trial of the Earl of Cambridge, the Yorkist heir to the throne, as reported by Shakespeare. He was beheaded and buried at God's House Chapel. In the 18th century the place was a popular spa. Despite dreadful bombing during the WW2, many medieval and Tudor buildings survive in the city, some with vaulted undercrofts. There are also three city gates, two fine churches and parts of the castle can also be seen.
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