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The proposal to invite ‘Local Historians’ (and Archivists) to be included in the RCHC website, is intended to increase the awareness of readers and researchers about several other sources of information and memorabilia within the Rowlands Castle community. This added opportunity is seen to support the idea described in ‘About Us’ (website upper toolbar), that the RCHC Website as a ‘virtual museum’ and provides a ‘one-stop shop’ to access local information. ‘Useful Links’ (on the toolbar), also offers other sources of information, including other relevant websites – museums, companies etc..

Initially, ten Local Historians have been invited to describe their personal backgrounds, their specific research interests, and any publications that they have written. Four of these are set out below. Other residents who have researched or written about any aspect of life in our community are welcome to contribute too.

Should you wish to make contact with the ‘Historians’, please email the Editor who will forward any requests to the relevant Local Historian(s):

Alan Drinkwater

As a local resident since 1983, I have taken part in drafting both the Rowlands Castle Parish Plan and Rowlands Castle Local Landscape Character Assessment. I not only learnt a lot more about our Parish but accumulated a considerable amount of helpful material and maps which I felt should be kept for the longer term. This was one of the reasons – along with the bid to purchase an iconic model railway of the village – that lead me to volunteer in establishing a local museum or ‘Heritage Centre’:

The development of the RCHC website as a ‘virtual museum’, provides an opportunity to interpret these plans more widely.

Other, earlier experiences on Hampshire County Council and as an appointee to the Environment Agency, Southern Region Flood Defence Committee also gave me access to a wider range of environmental and planning information which is held on file. These documents explain the management of local water-resources, and flood defences for local rivers and the coast. Being involved with the website, I have also become more interested in researching and ‘the landed gentry’ who owned one of the three important large local estates.

Booklets published jointly:

  1. Rowlands Castle Parish Plan 2008-2018
  2. Rowlands Castle Landscape Character Assessment 2012

Mary Jane Lomer

Mary Jane and her late husband Roger came to live in Rowlands Castle in 1965.

They subsequently purchased Beech House (now ‘Beechwood Retirement Home’) to develop it first as a Nursery School and then, following Roger’s retirement from the Royal Navy, as a Navigation Training Centre. They later bought and ran number 14, The Green – ‘The Coffee Pot’ – as the Village Café.

Importantly, Mary Jane has published two booklets describing the Village and its history, adorned with many of her own paintings: ‘Round and About Rowlands Castle’ in 2014; and the earlier, ‘Rowlands Castle Past and Present’ published in 1988.

The RCHC website has drawn heavily upon the 2014 booklet to describe the Village. It is on sale locally and at the Model Railway displayed in Stansted House. Sale of the booklets has been used to fund local charities including Pulmonary Hypertension Association and the Heritage Centre.

Booklets published:

  1. Round and About Rowlands Castle, 2014
  2. Rowlands Castle Past & Present, 1988

Various articles published in issues of the RCA Magazine

  1. Fountain Inn, Autumn 2018

Paul Marshman    

I was born in Waterlooville in March 1947 and lived for my first two years in Finchdean. My family then moved to Uplands Road where I have lived ever since.

I went to the village school and then Warblington where I gained GCE’s in History, Geography and English Literature.

I have played a lot of cricket over the years, and am a Pompey football fan, being a fund raiser for them, particularly in the days when they were in serious financial trouble.

I worked as a storekeeper for 14 years in Chichester, followed by 24 years in nearby New Lane, before taking early retirement. Since then I found that gardening gave me exercise and the fresh air that I wanted.

My interest in local history was stimulated by an exhibition in the Parish Hall in 1977, to mark the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. My interest grew so that by 1983 I had accumulated a lot of written material about the village history, and I was doing my own research in local records offices. I had also inherited some of the artefacts from the 1977 exhibition.

Since the exhibition of 1977 there have been other similar exhibitions in years   1981, 1987, 1989 and 1994. Artefacts are still being presented and some of the smaller ones are on display in the Parish Hall along with written notes.

On one occasion, I arranged a speaker on ‘Smugglers’ for a fund-raising meeting in the Parish Hall, all of which lead myself and Mary Jane Lomer to set up the Rowlands Castle Historical Society in 1988.

During subsequent years I also collected a photographic record of the Village, mostly postcards but also family and individual views. I take ‘snaps’ of today, and encourage interested villagers to do likewise, so that they can be viewed in the future.

I enrolled in some local history classes and, being editor of the RCA magazine, took advantage and inserted my own articles. In 1987, I wrote a history of St John’s Church to mark its 150th anniversary.

So, some thirty years later, I have 40 box files of notes and articles (some of which are much prized originals), 15 or so photo albums, artefacts and lots of maps.

Over the years, I have written the following booklets and articles:

  1. History of St Johns Church 1987
  2. 50th Anniversary of D-Day 1994
  3. St John’s School 2006
  4. The Fountain Inn 2011
  5. Model Railway booklet 2016 (for sale at display in Stansted House)
  6. Village Timeline for my Work

Mark Seaman

We moved to College Close, Rowlands Castle in 1989 where we have brought up our two sons.

My interest in archaeology goes back to my childhood when I used to explore my grandfather’s farm which happened to cover “Venta Icenorum” in Norfolk. This was rekindled in 2014 with the “Secrets of the High Woods” project in the South Downs National Park which used laser surveys to identify preserved archaeological features under the tree canopies of the local forests. I have since joined the Chichester and District Archaeology Society and am currently its treasurer. I regularly give talks on local archaeology.

I have since developed the ability to process the laser data (called Lidar) myself. Using this data together with old historic aerial imagery I have identified old tracks, settlements, burial mounds, Roman roads and enclosures in the local area.

My main interests are prehistoric (Neolithic through to the Roman period) archaeology, remote sensing and geophysics. Projects I currently have on the go include trackways and settlements in Stansted Forest, the Roman road from Havant to Rowlands Castle and beyond, old Idsworth, a rare oval barrow, old routes across Chichester Harbour and the 18thC gardens at Stansted House.

Paper for a book:   “Secrets of the High Woods – Revealing Hidden Landscapes”

(Editorial: The etymology of LIDAR can be viewed on Wikipedia)

(Editorial: this article was first posted on the website in September 2019)

Sonya Teale

In 1996, I returned to Hampshire to live close to my elderly father. I volunteered for the excellent Good Neighbours scheme.

Two of my clients were Mrs Miles and Mrs Martin, lifelong friends, living in King’s Close. They told me such interesting stories of their lives. I decided that these should be recorded for future generations. I could find no one undertake this task, so I took it on.

I attended day courses at The Hampshire Records Office in Winchester and submitted all the tape recordings there for their archives,

In total, I had much pleasure in recording the lives of 30 village residents. Some of these are now being entered on the Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre website, allowing others to enjoy them.

Click here for these recordings.

Editor: Put on RCHC Website May 2019