Deerleap was the home in the 1880’s of the O’Callaghan family who produced not one but two Admirals.
Admiral G. W. D. O’Callaghan, born in 1811, entered the Royal Navy in 1825, made Admiral in 1877 and died in 1900. He was also a JP. His son, Admiral M. P. O’Callaghan CB CVO was born in 1840, entered the Royal Navy in 1857. The Admirals entered into village life.
The building of the principal Victorian residence “Deerleap” behind what is now Rowlands Home Hardware covered up any further remains of the castle. The flint wall bordering the property was built later, some think using flints from the castle. Behind Deerleap there is a flag pole on a grassy mound which marks the spot as an ancient monument, a Motte and Bailey castle, despite the impossibility of visiting it.
The wall, so badly destroyed in October 1987 by falling trees was probably built 200 or so years ago. Robert Winnicott has seen bills for the part nearest the railway dated over 150 years ago. It was extensively rebuilt by ‘flinties’ of the area.
The house was rented at one time by the family from Stansted and the Admiral’s sister married G. Wilder of Stansted so ties were close. The village Flower Show was held in the grounds for many years. Prior to that it had been held in Fieldcote, Links Lane. In 1937 the house and grounds were bought by Robert John Winnicott who intended to use the lend to build houses, but with the outbreak of war the bottom fell out of the housing market and he shelved his plans.
Since then the house has had several owners and remains one of the focal points of the village today.
This article is taken from the booklet written by Mary Jane Lomer entitled ‘Round and About Rowlands Castle’ 2015, for which she retains the copyright.