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2003   2004   2005   2007-date

The e-mails below have been received from people making enquiries about various connections in Romsey. Letters have come from anywhere in the world. It's always good to know how far afield Romseynet is being read. I will endeavour to reply to all enquiries and your message and the reply will be added to this page unless you request otherwise.

I normally include sender email addresses for others to contact you if they wish. Please let me know if you do NOT want your address included here.


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12 February 2014
Elaine Race

Just found your list of Romsey Mayors and believe the J S Hollis in 1801 may be Joseph Samuel Hollis who was a book seller, stationer and printer in Romsey between 1790-1825. Joseph Samuel was the bondsman at my ggg grandfather's (George Hollis) weddings at Winchester in 1792 and 1802 and was either his brother or cousin. George was the Under Sheriff od Winchester for about 35 years and was inclined to be involved in the politics of the time. Joseph Samuel was listed as a corporate officer of Romsey Infra for many years.

Reply: Thank you so much for all this information. I will pass it on to the local history group and apply the details on Romseynet Postbox and Genealogy pages for other readers. People can contact me direct if required.


UK flag
United Kingdom

Bryan Cooper

Strongs Brewery
Sent: Wed 05 Feb 2014
Subject: Thomas Strong

I have been researching my ancestor, Thomas Strong, of Strong & Co of Romsey and have put my results on the following web-site
When you do this sort of thing there is always a lot more question that need answering. So I would be very grateful for any additional information on the subject. It could be your ancestor worked for the brewery or you have some memorabilia or family stories you would care to share with a wider audience.

My main area of research has been the period before David Faber took over the Brewery, and as a consequence there is very little information available on romseynet. So I am hoping I may spark up a bit of interest from the Romsey community who maybe able to provide extra bits and pieces to the jigsaw. It would be nice to find out such things as what did Faber initially pay for Strong & Co., and what licence premises he bought and so on? And yes I know Hampshire records office will probably have the information. However I live 290 miles away, as a consequence it not that easy to pursue the matter, and since Strong & Co records are not indexed it could be very expensive to pay for a professional researcher to do the work.
In 1859 in the Romsey addition of Whites directory for that year is listed under the sub-heading "Hundred Brewery" is the firm of Strong & Wiles, Horsefair. I wonder who Wiles was? Do you think your genealogy section would be able to help me on that one?
I have written a letter to the Daily Echo which i hope they publish, so hopefully we will get a little further with Thomas's story

If you use the Search facility on Romseynet there are a lot of details about Strongs Brewery. If you would like more details about your family as opposed to the Brewery itself I could put it on my genealogy page, but would need more details about the people you want to find out about.

Reply 2: from Romsey History Society:
Your request about the Thomas Strong brewery has been passed to me as a member of Romsey History Society (LTVAS Group). We do have a fair bit of information about the Strong brewery prior to David Faber's arrival. Faber bought it along with several other small common breweries in the town and general locality. Among them was the Hundred Brewery belonging to Jesser & Cressey, its name coming from the road called The Hundred where its entrance was.
Your easiest way of finding cohesive information is by buying our book 'So Drunk He Must Have Been to Romsey' (2nd edition) at £5.95. You can order it via our website, which is
You may be interested to know that the book contains two full-page copies of the sales particulars for the sale of Thomas Strong's brewery in 1875, when it was also known as The Horsefair Brewery (again because the entrance was in the short length of street called The Horsefair). The book falls into two parts, the first being a survey of drinking places and brewing in Romsey and the second being devoted to individual pubs that have been or are around the town.

La Sagesse

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Mary Monaghan 27 September 2013

La Sagesse Convent
60 years ago I was a pupil at the Convent and was very happy there. As a boarder I enjoyed school life to the full. My query is, what has happened to the school buildings particularly the structure at the bottom of the drive? I received a news cutting from the Echo stating that the miracle room was to be demolished along with the rest of the building. Can you confirm that this is true and if it's not, what actually is happening to my Alma Mater?

Reply 1: from Romsey History Society:
The Convent site has changed considerably in the last few years. The school closed some years ago, and the buildings have been converted or replaced by others. The junior school, for example, is now Wisdom House, a place of retreat, meditation and prayer, where rooms are for hire to suitable groups.

I have on a couple of occasions given talks there (one only a few weeks ago) to a Carers' Group organised by TVBC, who provide a venue for those they care for. The Carers are mostly older people looking after spouses with various problems, who come for chat, refreshment and support with a lovely girl who runs the sessions. Sometimes it's just a social get-together. The atmosphere in this building is beautifully calm and peaceful.

Further west and nearly opposite is the completely new Marie Claire Nursing Home, where some of the elderly nuns themselves spend their days as well as those who pay for their residence there.

As regards Abbey House, including the miracle room, this had deteriorated badly and had to be demolished. The front facade only was retained and a new home for the nuns built behind. From the road it looks just the same, but I understand that the nuns are delighted with their new facilities.

One other recent addition is just inside the gate on the right (behind the house), where there is free access to a meditation maze.

Reply 2:
You might be able to get a few more details from the contacts in this PDF. La Sagesse Convent

Rolfe Garage

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United Kingdom

15 September 2011 - Roger Elias:

Hello, hopefully someone may be able to help me, I have an classic car and on the door pillar there is a sticker saying Rolfe's Garage Romsey, the car has the registration suffix CG which makes it registered at Bournemouth. What I wanted to know is what makes of new cars did ROLFE'S sell in the 1970s. and does anyone have any pictures of the garage around that time? Small world, back in August I was at a friend's son's wedding in the abbey at Romsey, and stayed at the White Lion Hotel, but didn't know about this sticker then, as I live in Aberystwyth.

Reply: If you look at the following address: there is another enquiry about the garage - 9th enquiry down the list.
The page is for the year 2004 so going back some way and Marshall Rolfe garage site is now taken over by Mitsubishi. However the telephone number is on the link I have given you just in case records have been kept about vintage cars sold there in the earlier years.
I am forwarding this email on to the Chairman of Test Valley Motor Group which specialises in vintage motors, so someone may have more information than I can give.
Reply 2: From the Chairman - I have a 1949 AA Handbook and Marshall Rolfe was known as B.A.Rolfe and they were agents for BSA: Hillman; Humber; Standard; Subeam Talbot and Triumph. Hope this is of help

Rented Cottage

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30 December 2010 - Jon Williams (Contact Romseynet)

I apologise if I have contacted the wrong people but I'm trying to find out the history of my rented cottage. I have just moved in to 64 The Hundred Romsey, but so far the only information I have come up with is that in 1977 the Romsey and District Buildings Preservation Trust completed restoration work on the cottage and the adjoining cottages numbers 66 and 68. Can you tell me how old the cottage/cottages were when they were built? The history of them and the surrounding area? I am at a loss of where to start. I appreciate any help you can provide in this matter.

Reply: The Buildings Preservation Trust brought out a booklet giving all the details about the various buildings which they have upgraded. No doubt your property will be included. Romsey Buildings Preservation Trust there are contact details here who may be able to advise if the booklets are still in print.
Could also try the Heritage Centre or King John's House, both in Church Street.
I hope you enjoy living in Romsey and feel like staying for some time in the town!

Romsey Cemetery

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20 November 2010 - Peter Hewitt (Contact Romseynet)

I wish to make an enquiry to ask if it is at all possible to put or scatter my wife's ashes on or near her parents' grave. We visited the cemetery several times, once on an open day, as she so appreciated the area with its lovely trees. The grave belongs to the 'Dowman' family. Nearby is the lovely conifer tree which my wife enjoyed the shape of the cones. If you can direct me to whoever I need to contact to get permission I'd be grateful.

Reply: I understand the management of the cemetery is in the hands of Test Valley Borough Council, so I give you their contact details below. It might be that the head office at Andover has to be contacted but the Romsey Office will advise.
Romsey Office - Duttons Road, Council Offices, Duttons Road, Romsey, Hampshire SO51 8XG. Tel 01794 527700. Fax 01794 527723. Minicom 01264 368052

The Shoe Inn

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24 May 2010 - Email: Marian McCaffery

Has anyone any info of the people who owned the Shoe Inn, Plaitford. Any info on the 1841 census for the inn would give me the names of those people there at the time.

George Brewery

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United Kingdom

07 November 2009 - Email: John Hammond

I am researching the history of one of our two locals. It was bought at auction by Charles James Stephenson Jackson in 1868 and he bought the freehold from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in December of that year. He may have sold the premises to William Bentley George, the younger, brewer of Romsey' sometime between 1868 and 1874. Do you have access to any transactions of the Romsey Brewery at that time to enable me to make the link? Is there a comprehensive history of Strong & Co's acquisitions or their predecessors for that period?
Your guidance would be much appreciated. Yours sincerely John Hammond, Durley Mill

Reply: From Local History Group
I don't have specific information about the George brewery estate. However George's brewery was one of the three Romsey breweries acquired by David Faber in 1886. The archives of Strong & Co are held by Hampshire Archives and Local Studies in Winchester (renamed from Hampshire Record Office). The collection is now catalogued, so an on-line search would be a way to start.

US Army Camp

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United Kingdom

25 August 2009 - Email: Richard Caville

I am seeking information and any maps/diagrams of the US Army camp at Lockerley, either wartime or post war remains.
I visit a Christian campsite at Lockerley on an annual basis which is near to the old camp, and being interested in history i am fascinated with the area where some remains still exist. As an ex-cartographer the layout and topography interest me too!
If there are any local historians with knowledge of the camp, what it was used for, where the railway came onto the site, which units were there, etc i would be very interested to hear from anyone with any information or memories. I believe it was a repair depot and also a map depot.

Have you looked at: the Lockerly website? See the History link, it gives quite a bit of detail although not of an US camp specifically. Contacting the website owner might glean some more information perhaps.

Hawksley Memorial Garden

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United Kingdom

16 July 2009 - Email: Nick Allen

I got your details from the Romsey & District Society News internet site, and hope you may be able to help me with a query about something covered in a past issue.
In your Winter 2001 issue, there was an article about "Walking the Otter", describing a walk through Otterbourne. The article asked readers if anyone had any information about nearby Hawksley Memorial Garden, and I was wondering if you got any responses?
The reason I am asking is that my little sister died recently from cancer, but used to enjoy walking in the area. Her husband and the rest of my family are trying to find whether it would be possible to plant a tree in her name in the Memorial Garden - but there are no clues in the area to help us take things any further.
It seems possible the garden may be something to do with the Water Board, but do you know if anyone ever responded to your magazine's 2001 query? Any help would be appreciated.

Reply 1:
On the subject of the Hawksley Memorial Garden:
We do remember the article and we did look into it at the time. The Garden is within the premises of the Water Board at Otterbourne. It has been designed as a quiet area where the relatives of deceased Water Board employees can spend some time with their thoughts. The relatives are invited to plant a tree and these are marked with a small plaque.
We were unable to learn why the garden is called the Hawksley Garden although it seems likely that it was named after Joseph Hawksley who was the engineer and manager of the waterworks from 1932 until his retirement in 1956. There is a newspaper article written at the time of his retirement in the Southampton Reference Library. We hope these notes will be of some help to Mr. Nick Allen. Best wishes, Jeff and Mavis Hawksley.

Romseynet Reply 2: Looking up the memorial gardens on Google I found a brief mention in a Heritage Report of the Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail Hampshire, produced for The Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust that the gardens are situated at the side of this trail.
In this 2005 report by Wessex Archaeology, amongst the acknowledgements are listed the Hampshire Record Office. You might therefore obtain further information about the gardens from them or at the very least a referral to others who might have more details.
Unfortunately the Twyford Water Works do not give any contact details to enquire there.

Reply 3: 08 January 2010
Since your enquiry to Romseynet regarding the garden in the grounds of these waterworks, the waterworks have updated their webpages and now have the contact details below: Maybe you can get some further information about the garden and enquire about planting a tree there in memory of your sister.
General and Visitor Enquiries: Tel: 01962 714716 Email / Website

Thomas Sims

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United States

23 March 2009 - Email: Stefano Villani

I am Stefano Villani, senior Assistant Professor in Early Modern History at the University of Pisa. At present I am working on the Italian translations of the Book of Common Prayer and on George Frederick Nott (who published one of these translations in 1831). G. F. Nott, prebendary of Winchester was in contact with a "Rev. Mr. Sims of Winchester" who, at Nott's death in 1841, acquired the copyright of the Italian translation of the Liturgy by Dr. Nott. I think we can identify this Sims with Thomas Sims who was studied at Queens' and was rector of St Swithun's, Winchester, 1839-43.
I would like to know if you can confirm that Thomas Sims was actually rector of St Swithun's during this period (and if in 1843 a new rector was appointed because the former one died). I would like to know any possible information about this Thomas Sims. I would be particularly happy to know if he is the author of An Historical Defence of the Waldenses or Vaudois, Inhabitants of the Valleys of Piedmont, by Jean Rodolphe Peyran (London: 1826) Thank you in advance for your help. My very best wishes Stefano Villani

My enquiries have suggested you contact the Hampshire Records Office, who should have an old copy of Crockfords which will give you the details of who was vicar of St Swithuns in Winchester at the dates you require. I hope that helps.

Hunters Inn

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United Kingdom

25 June 2008 - Chris Levy

Hi, Just to let you know that the photo of the Hunter's Inn on your web pages was taken in the mid 1960s not 1930s. I actually took the photo and I was born in 1942. The Strongs sign is a dead giveaway. Earlier years it would have been "Strong & Co of Romsey" The photo I took came from a box of matches. This was a popular thing at the time. I believe it was in colour, but I probably couldn't afford a colour film at the time.

I've attached a copy of the original photo before I removed the text, phone number etc. Thought this might be of interest to you. Best regards, Chris Levy

How intriguing! I cannot now remember who gave me the photo but I expect it was LTVAS but I cannot find it in any of my folders other than the one I have applied to the website page.
May I give the history of it to Phoebe Merrick of LTVAS? I am sure she would be interested in its origins if she is unaware.
I have changed the date on the website but not added any details, but if you agree I can add your little bit of history about it on the page - with reference to you by name?

Romsey Surname

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United States

09 December 2007 - Email: James Paul Romsey

Hi, As you can tell my name is Romsey. I am trying to purchase some shirts with the name Romsey on them as fun gifts for my 2 daughters and some relatives as Christmas gifts. I thought this would be novel. I have been searching the web sites and have not had any luck. I am here back in the states, Brooklyn, NY. Do you have any ideas? Thanks , Jim.

So far no luck regarding 'T' shirts but Romsey does have a cloth shopping bag with the following detail - in the order as it appears:
A drawing of Romsey Abbey
'See you in Romsey'
The bag is a creamy colour and the writing and the Abbey drawing are in Brown. It is 15 inches wide and 16 and a half inches deep, with the same material cloth handles.
We are being encouraged to use re-usable bags for shopping in preference to plastic ones which take up so much room in landfill refuse sites - we are running out of such spaces to deposit the increasing amount of rubbish!
Maybe you would consider the bags instead of the shirts? They are 99p each - that is almost one English £ pound. There would of course be postage costs to add.
I must also say it would be too late to reach you before 25 December!
This is the Town Centre managers email address and she could arrange to send you some of the bags if you choose.

East Germany
27 October 2007 - Email: Rachel Fuecks

Can you please help me to get in touch with people I used to know in Romsey? I used to teach Modern Languages at Romsey School till 2000 but in 2004 I left Romsey to build (literally) a new home in Muehlhausen, Thueringen, part of the former East Germany, where one of my sons lives and works. I have been able to reconstruct one of the timber-frame houses typical of this beautiful mediaeval walled city. Various of my former students and their parents keep in contact with me and there may be others who have lost my email address but would like to write. I would be very grateful if you would allow me to use this letter to remind them of my email address ( and also to tell them of my website, where, if interested, they can look at what I have been doing since leaving Romsey. It is, particularly the section on Muehlhausen. I would be delighted to hear from old friends and former students and even more so if they would like to come over on a visit, especially anyone with an interest in restoring old houses. We have one other expatriot here about to restore an old bakery, and there is plenty of scope for more.
Many thanks, Rachel Fuecks.

Spratt and Winkle Line

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United Kingdom

23 June 2007 - Email: Catherine

Hello, TV Series: 'Along These Lines'
I'm hoping you might be able to help me. I'm working on a commissioned 8-part series for ITV Meridian, which looks at 8 former railway lines in the Meridian area. In each episode, the presenter walks, cycles or rides a disused rail track, sometimes alone, sometimes in conversation and, in the process, shows viewers a piece of their own local history they might never have known is there; a pleasure waiting to be explored. The aim is to make this a human story, drawing in locals and their stories and, hopefully, encouraging viewers to get out and enjoy the English countryside.
While researching the Sprat & Winkle line I came across a marvellous piece written by Norman Goodland for your newsheet, entitled Days of Steam and Rose Gardens. This is dated 1997, but wondered if it would be possible to contact Mr. Goodland, himself, or any of those family members mentioned in the article. I also wondered if you might know of any other locals who might have personal memories of this line and/or a family connection with it or any other lines in the area for that matter. Any names and stories you could give me would be a great help.
If you need more information about the series, please don't hesitate to contact me anytime.
Cathy (Further enquiries discover that sadly Mr Goodland has died.)

N.B. Checking this PDF again (2017) It might well interest a number of people. There is a lot of detail about railways in general.

Watercress Line

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United Kingdom

02 March 2007 - Michael Ball

Dear, may I say friends?
I live in Epsom, Surrey and am a volunteer working for the Watercress Line in Hampshire. Our Railway attempts to portray a line as it was in the early 1960's, both in its stations, trains and the train journey. One delight of travelling by train in years gone by was the view from the window as the train charged through the countryside sometimes as fast as 70 miles an hour! One thing that could be seen on a journey from Waterloo were the large advert's by the lineside that said that,"You are heading to the Strong Country". At my age then, I had no idea that this was a reference to beer.
The Watercress Line would like to re-create one of these signs and we need some information. We know they featured a locomotive that changed over the years but what colours were they? We have locomotives running on the line that are the same as at least one of the advertisements.
If there is anyone who could help us with information on these famous advertisements, we would be delighted to meet you. Initially I would be pleased to have any reply by E-mail.
In anticipation, thank you for your help, Michael Ball. Watercress Line Signalman.

I notice that last week someone used Romseynet search facility looking for 'Strongs' - maybe it was you, but if not, or even if you did, maybe you missed this items in the Romsey and District Archives in the following Newshees: Newsheet Number 60 Spring 1997 and
Newsheet Number 61 Summer 1997
Two books are available from Romsey Library From further enquiries I have received a picture of the Strongs Sign Board as on the top of this page and have sent you a copy.
A further reply from the Chairman of Romsey Signal box reads:
"We do have several signalmen from the Mid-Hants involved with Romsey SB, which is a fully operational box with simulator. If you wish to visit, we are open on the first Sunday of every month, bar January." Romsey signal Box

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