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From Kelly's "Directory of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1911)"

ROWNHAMS is an ecclesiastical parish formed in 1856 from the parishes of Romsey Extra, Nursling and North Baddesley, and into a civil parish by Local Government Board Order No 36648, dated Oct 1st, 1897; it is 1 miles north from Nursling station on the Southampton and Salisbury line of the London and South Western railway, 4 west-by-north-west from Southampton and 3 south-east from Romsey, in the New Forest division of the county, hundred of Buddlesgate, union of Romsey, county court district of Romsey, rural deanery of Romsey and archdeaconry and diocese of Winchester, overlooking the valley of the Test, and bounded on the side by the road from Southampton to Romsey.  The church of St. John the Evangelist is an edifice of stone in the Decorated style, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, vestry, south porch and a tower with spire containing one bell and tubular chimes, hung in 1889 to the memory of the Rev. Robert Francis Wilson M.A. vicar here 1863-1888: in the chancel is a brass to William Oliver Colt, founder of this church, died April 9th. 1853, and Jane, his widow, by whom the work was completed about 1856, who died September 5th. 1875: the church was consecrated October 25th. 1856: all the windows are stained: the reredos is of alabaster, gilt and colored (sic): there are 220 sittings.  The register dates from the year 1856.  The living is a vicarage, net yearly value 190, with residence and 3 acres of glebe, in the gift of the Bishop of Winchester, and held since 1891 by the Rev. George Mead M.A. of St. John's College, Oxford.  The vicarage house is of red brick in the Elizabethan still, and was erected by the late Mrs. Colt, of Rownhams Park.  Rownhams House, the property and residence of Lord Abinger J.P. is a mansion of brick, situated in a park of 40 acres.  The chief landowners are Wilfred W. Ashley esq. M.P., J.P. of Broadlands, Romsey, Mrs Vaudry-Barker-Mill, of Langley Manor, Tankerville Chamberlayne esq. of Cranbury Park, who is lord of the manor, and John E.A. Willis Fleming esq. of Chilworth Manor.  The chief crops are barley, wheat and oats.  The soil is clay, sand and gravel; subsoil, clay.  The area is 1985 acres of land and 4 of water; rateable value , 3428; the population in 1901 was 498 in the civil and 481 in the ecclesiastical parish" 

It had Post & Telephone Call Office which was received and sent mail via Southampton.  There was also a post box outside  the church.  The nearest Money Order & Telegraph Office was at Nursling.  There was a mixed Elementary School with resident schoolmaster for up to 125 children

Virtual tour

Starting at the old village school, hover over the picture, click on the top arrow to the left of the line showing Horns Drove and we're off north along Horns Drove.  Click the left arrow at the top left corner of the page at any time to be able to view both sides of the road or obtain a 360 degree view from where you are.  Keep clicking on the 5 arrow to progress along the road.  You then pass the vicarage followed by the church on your right hand side.  At the mini-roundabout another line will appear giving you the option of turning down Balmoral Way.

If you chose to do so, you will have to use the arrows in the top left corner of the page to re-orientate yourself.  Hann Road (named after Ralph Eric Gordon Hann) is the first road on the right.  Continuing north from the roundabout, you leave the houses built in the 1980s on the sites of Rownhams Farm and Rownhams House and pass a selection of houses built in other periods of expansion until you reach the old village 'villas' on your right.  Eventually you will have the option of continuing along Horns Drove or turning right into Routs Way.

If you want to, you can continue up Horns Drove which used to be the main road through the old village to North Baddesley, past the old Post Office (now a house) on you left.  This took on the role of village store as well when the 'Cash Stores' shut and became a hairdresser.  The road was blocked off when the M27 motorway was built and cut the newer houses on the north of the village from the rest so you now end up at a wooden fence, Routs Way having become the link road through to what is now the main road through Rownhams from North Baddesley to Southampton. 

On the corner of Horns Drove and Routs Way you will see what used to be Rownhams Cash Stores but has now ceased to be used for business purposes and has been converted into a house, though the old entrance and name board area can still be clearly seen.  Turning right down Routs Way you then pass more recent buildings and come to the 'T' junction at Rownhams Lane.  When I was a kiddie there was nothing but fields to the left, you had a choice of turning right past the large pond full of goldfish on the corner (no longer there I'm afraid) or walking ahead along a grass track through fields where horse mushrooms grew down to Tanner's Brook. 

Turning right on to Rownhams Lane you pass down what used to be a quiet country lane with hardly any buildings.  On the left there was just Parker's Farm until the village telephone exchange which went up around 1958, but these have now been surrounded by in-fill over the years and unless you know where they are, are difficult to pick out.  On the right is still St John's Nursing Home and, after a while, the church hall with its little bell-tower (which used to have a phone box outside) on the right.  Just past this on the left you come to some more of the old 'villas' the first pair are Alderholt Villas, then Salisbury Villas. 

The one on the right (No 2) was home to the Hann family from when it was built around 1910 until the late 1980s when Ralph died and his brother, Phil (Edmund Philip), moved elsewhere in the village.  In 'our days' these both had lawns and a privet hedge in front and a grass verge where the pavement now is - rather than the gravel now necessary for off-road parking.  Next to Salisbury Villas sits a large bungalow which was built around 1960 on the orchard that used to be part of Granddad's house.  I think he was offered the orchard at the time for few hundred pounds but couldn't afford it (I dread to think how much it would be worth now)

Opposite it, through the trees, in the church glebe land was a sturdy wooden bench, set up by the Parish Council for parishioners to sit and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, with a brass plaque inscribed something like 'In memory of Ralph Eric Gordon Hann, for many years a councillor of this parish'.  Depressingly this was vandalised within a few years of his death and the part of the bench with the plaque vanished.  Unfortunately, living so far away, although I've occasionally managed to visit the churchyard, I've not visited the secluded glebe area for a number of years so have no idea of its current state - if it even survives.

Continuing along Rownhams Lane between more of the newer houses you come to Baker's Drove which leads down to the Southampton to Romsey road boundary with Nursling parish.  Rownhams Lane continues toward Southampton.  Having travelled through countryside for a while you then reach a right-hand bend in the road and a housing estate.  This is the Lord's Hill estate and was built by Hampshire County Council in the mid 1960s transferring to Southampton when its boundaries were expanded in 1967. 

The first houses are on the site of the miniscule 'Bedwell Arms' public house and former blacksmith which stood at the junction of Rownhams Lane and Rownhams Road.  Opposite it was St Evox, a large house owned by the M'Quhae family (who originated from St Quivox in Ayrshire) at which granddad, grandma and great aunt Bessie were in service.  Rownhams Lane used to go straight ahead at this bend (it's now a footpath) through open countryside to Aldermoor Road where it petered out as a cross-country footpath towards Tanner's Brook at Shirley Warren.  Rownhams Road followed the current road through the Lord's Hill estate, along what is now a service road and footpath at the back of the shopping centre, across Aldermoor Road before resurrecting as Rownhams Road to link up with the Southampton to Romsey road at Maybush, near Crabwood House.  This is where my great-grandfather was a groom and is now part of Ordnance Survey headquarters.

You have now passed from Rownhams into the City of Southampton




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