town (parish), East Hampshire district, administrative and historic county of Hampshire, England. It lies among the downs on the River Wey, about 18 miles (29 km) northeast of Winchester by road. The Church of St. Lawrence is in the Perpendicular style with a Norman tower. Eggar's Grammar School was founded in 1642, and there are many Georgian buildings. William Curtis, the botanist, was born at Alton in 1746, and the Curtis Museum was founded in 1855. Within the area are the Lord Mayor Treloar Orthopaedic Hospital, the 20th-century abbey of the Order of St. Paul, and the village of Holybourne, where the novelist and biographer Elizabeth Gaskell died in 1865. During 1809-17 the novelist Jane Austen lived at Chawton, 1 mile (1.6 km) south. Hops are grown in the area, and among the chief industries is brewing. Pop. (2001) 16,051.
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