New Romsey Railway book
“Eastleigh to Romsey and Salisbury” by Nigel Bray
The railway line that opened between Eastleigh and Romsey 160 years ago on 1st March 1847 was part of Salisbury’s first rail link with Southampton, and at Romsey it became intertwined with the “Sprat and Winkle Line” (Andover to Redbridge) when it arrived nearly 20 years later. In this new book, which complements his books on the Andover to Redbridge and the Salisbury & Dorset Junction railways, Nigel Bray draws on his local knowledge and experience as a career railwayman to tell the complete story of the line.
In 120 pages, Nigel tells how the line came to be built, its subsequent history, and its effect on the local economies of Salisbury and Romsey. The story of the demise and rebirth of Chandlers Ford station is told, together with the replacement of the old level crossing at Halterworth, the saving of Romsey signal box and the development of the MoD sidings at Dean Hill.
Around 160 photographs cover various periods in the line’s life, and show early views of Romsey, Dean and Dunbridge stations and Crampmoor Crossing. There are also pictures of interloping Great Western Railway locomotives in Southern Railway territory at Romsey, as well as more recent photographs of the various types of steam and diesel trains, that have used the route over the years.
This fascinating book will appeal to anyone interested in Romsey’s local history, its railway network or both. Copies are available from Romsey Signal Box Working Museum and the Heritage Centre at King John’s House. It can also be ordered from any bookshop (ISBN: 978-1-905505-42-5) or for £17.95 post-free from Kestrel Railway Books, PO Box 269, Southampton, SO30 4XR. Further information is on their website: www.kestrelrailwaybooks.co.uk
Romsey Food Festival
Rather a damp day for the Romsey Food Festival
Crisis at Woodley Village Hall
The shortage of volunteers willing to take on community projects seems to have reached crisis proportions.
Woodley Village Hall is a popular and busy community venue for dance and theatre, exercise and fitness, education, meetings, parties, and many other events. Over the past few years, its facilities have been improved, it is financially secure and its future looks bright.
But much of this will count for nothing if volunteers cannot be found to help run it. Unfortunately, this year, in short order the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the Management Committee have had to resign due to ill-health, and other long serving committee members are due to retire or are moving away from the Romsey area. The present committee members have tries to find new volunteers to take on their roles, but have had no success so far.
If the Hall cannot attract new volunteers to run it, then, legally as a registered charity and practically, it cannot continue to function and will have to close.
This will be disruptive to many of the regular users and to those who have booked rooms for events in the coming months
The Committee has oversight over the management, safety and finances of the Hall, but does not become involved in running particular events.
Any one prepared to help at all is asked contact the Acting Chairman, Andrew Marshall ( email@example.com ) urgently, or contact Woodley Net The reward would be to be involved in a very valuable community facility that is really moving forward, with the chance to improve and shape it to meet the challenges of the future.
Romsey Carnival success in the rain..
Message from Sarah Beaman
Each year 3rd Romsey Beavers, Cubs & Scouts take part in the carnival. This year, as we all know, the weather was atrocious! I would like to personally say a huge THANK YOU to the people of Romsey, and visitors, who came out to cheer us on in the pouring rain. Some of our Superheros were as young as 6 and they kept happy and waving to see everyone out supporting them - and getting as wet as them! Thanks also to Harris Transport for loaning the lorries and the long suffering drivers who give up their time so we can have a float - they are stars.
Our sincere thanks to the Romsey Carnival Committee, the Carnival Queens & Princesses who kept smiling and waving, the poor Marshalls who stood in the rain stopping traffic to keep us safe, St Johns, the Firemen, all the wet smiling people in the carnival parade and, of course, the Old Cadets who were wetter than we were! It must seem a thankless job in that weather - but we had a grand time. Romsey is a very special place to live. Thank you!
Click below for Sarah's photos
Abbotswood Community Centre update
Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) and Abbotswood Community Association (ACA) are working closely on the transfer of the legal ownership of Abbotswood Community Centre from the Abbotswood Development Consortium. Unfortunately delays with the legal transfer between the consortium of developers for the Abbotswood Community Centre means TVBC is unable to grant ACA occupation of the building until this legal transfer has been completed.
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ACA are extremely disappointed in the delay to the delivery of this centre. We ask that local residents and potential centre users please bear with us at this time and as soon as we have confirmation of the hand over we will let you know, we are optimistic to move this forward as soon as possible. On completion of the handover ACA will need time to equip the Centre and ensure it is fit for purpose for hirers and users.
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Woodley Village Hall history in photos
Please click or tap above
Beggars Fair photos
Picnic in the park photos
Just to remind you..
Plaza Romsey Secondary School Reunion
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More coloured photos of Romsey in 1947
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Romsey's Royal Wedding
Romsonian's were out in force to greet the Queen in Romsey on 25th of June 2016 at one of the biggest weddings of the year. The Queen and Prince Philip arrived for the wedding of the Honourable Alexandra Knatchbull, the daughter of Lord and Lady Brabourne, to Thomas Hooper. Prince Charles and Princess Anne were also at Romsey Abbey for the service.
Click below for Chas Burnett's excellent photos
Greenways (Mandarin Chef) Restaurant in 1963
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About Romsey UK
Romsey is a small market town in the county of Hampshire, England. It is 8 miles (13 km) northwest of Southampton and 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Winchester, neighbouring the village of North Baddesley. Just under 15,000 people live in Romsey, which has an area of about 4.93 square kilometers. Romsey lies on the River Test, which is famous for fly fishing, predominantly trout. It is one of the principal towns in the Test Valley Borough. A large Norman abbey dominates the centre of the town. Romsey was home of the 20th-century soldier and statesman Lord Mountbatten of Burma, the 19th-century British prime minister Lord Palmerston, and the 17th-century philosopher and economist William Petty. Romsey is twinned with Paimpol in Brittany, France, and Battenberg, Germany.
The name Romsey is believed to have originated from the term Rūm's Eg, meaning "Rum's area surrounded by marsh". Rum is probably an abbreviated form of a personal name, like Rumwald (glorious leader).
What was to become Romsey Abbey was founded
in 907. Nuns, led by Elflaeda daughter of Edward the Elder, son of Alfred
the Great, founded a community — at his direction — in what was then
a small village. Later, King Edgar refounded the nunnery, about 960,
as a Benedictine house under the rule of St. Ethelflaeda whose devotional
acts included chanting psalms while standing naked in the cold water
of the River Test.
King Henry I granted Romsey its first charter. This allowed a market to be held every Sunday, and a four-day annual fair in May. In the 13th century, Henry III permitted an additional fair in October.
The lucrative woollen industry appears to have powered Romsey's growth during the Middle Ages. Wool was woven and then fulled or pounded with wooden hammers whilst being washed. It was dyed, and then exported from nearby Southampton.
Romsey continued to grow and prosper until plague
struck the town in 1348-9. The Black Death is thought to have killed
up to half of the Romsey's population of 1000. The number of nuns fell
as low as 19. Prosperity never returned to the abbey. It was finally
suppressed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in
1539. Many religious buildings were destroyed during this time.
By the mid-16th century Romsey's population was about 1,500; its woollen and tanning industries fuelled growth. On 6 April 1607 King James I granted the town a charter making it a borough. This gave official status to an informal local government that had been running the affairs of the town since the Dissolution of Romsey Abbey in 1539. Romsey could now have a corporation comprising a mayor, six aldermen and twelve chief burgesses, with a town clerk for 'office work'. Furthermore, there was to be a local law court under a Court Recorder, assisted by two sergeants-at-mace. Over all, was the prestigious position of High Steward, the first of whom was the Earl of Southampton. (Lord Brabourne, grandson of Lord Mountbatten of Burma, is the current High Steward.)
Romsey changed hands several times during the English Civil War. Both Royalist and Parliamentary or Roundhead troops occupied and plundered the town. Royalists remained in control of the borough until January 1645.
18th to 20th centuries
The town's woollen industry survived until the
middle of the 18th century, but was beaten by competition from the north
of England. However, new fast-growing enterprises soon filled the gap
with brewing, papermaking and sack making, all reliant upon the abundant
waters of the Test.
Despite the arrival of the railway in 1847 the expansion slowed and whilst its population had grown to 5,654 in 1851 it then stagnated and by the time of the census half a century later (1901) the population was just 5,597.
Lord Palmerston, the 19th-century British Prime Minister, was born and lived at Broadlands, a large country estate on the outskirts of the town. His statue stands in the Market Place outside the Town Hall.
The Willis Fleming family of North Stoneham Park were major landowners at Romsey from the 17th until early 20th centuries, and were lords of the manors of Romsey Infra and Romsey Extra.
Romsey was famous for making collapsible boats during the 19th and early 20th centuries, invented by the Rev. Edward Lyon Berthon in 1851. The Berthon Boatyard in Romsey made the boats from 1870 until 1917. They were used as lifeboats on ocean-going liners.
Broadlands later became the home of Lord Mountbatten
of Burma, known locally as "Lord Louis". He was buried in
Romsey Abbey after being killed in an IRA bomb explosion in Ireland
on 27 August 1979. In 1947, Mountbatten was given his earldom and the
lesser title "Baron Romsey, of Romsey in the County of Southampton".
The Prince and Princess of Wales spent the first
night of their honeymoon at Broadlands.
During 2007 Romsey celebrated the 400th Anniversary of the granting of its Charter by King James I with a programme of events from March through September, including a visit on 8 June from the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Subsequently. the cost of the visit has created some local political controversy
Romsey today appears to be in sound economic
health. Whilst there is significant commuting out of the town for work
- particularly to Southampton and Winchester, and also, to some extent,
London - it could not be described as a dormitory town.
Watermills have played an important part in
Romsey's history as an industrial town. The Doomsday Book of 1086 provides
the earliest record of watermills in Romsey, which identifies three
(possibly four) mills.
Romsey has its own parliamentary constituency.
Its current MP is Caroline Nokes of the Conservative Party. Elected
in the general election on 6 May 2010, she ousted the Liberal Democrat
MP Sandra Gidley with a 4.5% swing to Conservative from Liberal Democrat
and a majority of 4,156 votes. Gidley had held the seat since a by-election
Romsey Abbey is a Norman abbey, originally built as a Benedictine foundation, housing a community of Benedictine nuns. The abbey is open daily to visitors as well as being the Anglican Parish church of Romsey.
King John's House
King John's House & Tudor Cottage was allegedly a hunting lodge used by King John of England whilst hunting in the New Forest. However, the existing building dates from much later. It does contain a number of extremely unusual and exciting historical features, including medieval wall decorations and graffiti, as well as a floor made of animal bones.
Places of interest