Place:Romsey, Hampshire, England

Alt namesRomeseyesource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 392
Romesysource: Domesday Book (1985) p 125; Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 392
Rumeseiasource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 392
Rumesigsource: Oxford: English Place Names (1960) p 392
Romsey Intrasource: part of parish inside ancient borough
Romsey Extrasource: part of parish outside ancient borough
Ashfieldsource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Cuperhamsource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Leesource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Mainstonesource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Ranvillssource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Spurshotsource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Stanbridgesource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Toothillsource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Whitenapsource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Woodburysource: settlement in Romsey Extra
Woolssource: settlement in Romsey Extra
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Borough (municipal)
Coordinates50.989°N 1.5°W
Located inHampshire, England     (500 - )
See alsoKings Somborne Hundred, Hampshire, Englandancient county division in which it was located
Romsey Rural, Hampshire, Englandrural district in which Romsey Extra was located 1894-1932
Test Valley District, Hampshire, Englanddistrict municipality covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Romsey from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"ROMSEY, a town, a parish, a [registration] sub-district, a [registration] district, and a [parliamentary] division in Hants. The town stands on the river Test, near the intersection of the Andover and Southampton railway with the Portsmouth and Salisbury railway, amid pleasant environs, 8 miles N W of Southampton; was known to the Saxons as Rumesea, and to the Normans as Romesyg; is thought, by some antiquaries, to occupy the site of a Roman town; grew to importance under the shadow of an abbey founded at it by Edwardthe Elder; suffered injury from an incursion of the Danesin 992; figured, for some time, as a seat of considerable manufacture; was chartered by James I.; is governed, under the new act, by a mayor, 4 aldermen, and 12 councillors; is a seat of county courts and a polling-place; and has a head post-office, a railway station with telegraph, two banking offices, two chief inns, a bridge, a town hall, a church, five dissenting chapels, a literary and scientific institution, news-rooms, young men's mutual improvement and reading associations, national and British schools, alms-houses, and aggregate charities £650. The abbey was originally a religions house for ladies; was rebuilt and made a Benedictine nunnery, by Bishop Ethelwold, in the time of Edgar; underwent restoration, after being desolated by the Danes; enjoyed great favour from royal patrons; had as abbesses, adaughter of Edward the Elder and the youngest daughter of King Stephen, and, as inmates, a cousin of the Confessor and Queen Maud; possessed a revenue of £538 at the dissolution; and was then given to J. Bellow and R. Bigot. The archway of the precinct gatehouse still stands. The church also stands, and is now the parish church; exhibits very fine Norman work, with portions of transition Norman, early decorated English, and perpendicular; comprises an aisled and seven-bayed nave, 134 feet long, 72½ feet wide, and 80 feet high, a transept, 121½ feet long and 611/3 feet high, a massive-central tower, 261/3. feet square and 92½ feet high, a Lady chapel, 60 feet long, and an ambulatory, 71¼ feet long; underwent restoration during the incumbency of the Hon. Rev. Gerard Noel, and again in 1865; and contains a broken tombstone of the abbess Joanna Gervas who died in 1349, a canopied effigies of a lady said to be the Princess Mary, and a statue of Sir W. Petty by Westmacott. The town hall was built in 1866, at a cost of about £4,500; is in the Italian style; and contains a council-chamber, county court offices, two reading-rooms, a library room, and other apartments. A weekly market is held on Thursday; and fairs, on Easter Monday, 26 Aug., and 8 Nov. Several woollen and other manufactures, which formerly were important, are now extinct; but there are still flax mills, paper mills, cornmills, malt-houses, breweries, and tanneries. Sir H. Petty and Jacob the author of a Law Dictionary, were natives. Population of the town in 1851: 2,080; in 1861: 2,116. Houses: 443.
"The parish is divided into [Romsey] Infra, conterminate with the borough, and [Romsey] Extra, containing the places called Ashfield, Toothill, Whitenap, Cuperham, Lee, Mainstone, Ranvills, Spurshot, Stanbridge, Woodbury, and Wools. Acres: 7,652. Real property: £22,340; of which £200 are in gas-works, and £142 in fisheries. Population in 1851: 5,654; in 1861: 5,848. Houses: 1,177. The manor, with Broadlands House, belonged to the late Lord Palmerston. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester. Value: £351. Patrons: the Dean and Chapter of Winchester.
"The [registration] sub-district contains also the parish of Nursling, and comprises 9,776 acres. Population: 6,795. Houses: 1,386. The [registration] district includes also the [registration] sub-district of Michelmersh, containing the parishes of Michelmersh, Timsbury, Mottisfont, East Wellow, Sherfield-English, Lockerley, and East Dean, and the extra-parochial tract of Dunwood, electorally in Hants, and the parishes of Plaitford and West Wellow, and the extra-parochial tract of Melchet Park, electorally in Wilts. Acres of the district: 28,203. Poor-rates in 1863: £5,027. Population in 1851: 10,840; in 1861: 10,771. Houses: 2,248. Marriages in 1863: 76; births: 337 (of which 16 were illegitimate); deaths: 244 (of which 95 were at ages under 5 years, and 5 at ages above 85). Marriages in the ten years 1851-60: 625; births: 3,297; deaths: 2,105. The places of worship, in 1851: were 9 of the Church of England, with 3,404 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 810 [sittings]; 4 of Baptists, with 352 [sittings]; 1 of Unitarians, with 90 [sittings]; 4 of Wesleyans, with 430 [sittings]; 2 of Primitive Methodists, with 130 [sittings]; and 1 of Latter Day Saints, with 22[sittings]. The schools were 15 public day schools, with 1,008 scholars; 17 private day schools, with 309 [scholars]; 23 Sunday schools, with 1,649 [scholars]; and 1 evening school for adults, with 52 [scholars]. The workhouse is in Romsey Extra; and, at the census of 1861, had 100 inmates. The [parliamentary] division contains the hundreds of Redbridge, Thorngate-lower half and Kings-Sombourn-lower half. Acres: 97,671. Population in 1851: 21,028. Houses: 4,174.
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Romsey is a small market town and municipal borough (until 1974) in the county of Hampshire, England. Since 1974 it has been part of the Test Valley District. As discussed above the town of Romsey was divided into Romsey Intra and Romsey Extra, Romsey Extra being the part outside the ancient borough. Betwee 1894 and 1932 Romsey Extra was part of the Romsey Rural District. In 1932 it was absorbed back into Romsey.

It is 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Southampton, 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Winchester and 17 miles (27 km) southeast of Salisbury. Neighbouring is the village of North Baddesley. Just over 18,000 people live in Romsey, which has an area of about 4.93 square kilometres.

Romsey lies on the River Test, which is known for fly fishing, predominantly trout. A large Norman abbey dominates the centre of the town.

Romsey was home of the 20th-century soldier and statesman The Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979), the 19th-century British prime minister Lord Palmerston (1784-1865), and the 17th-century philosopher and economist William Petty (1623-1687).


For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Romsey.

Research Tips

  • Victoria County History of Hampshire, volume 4, chapter on Romsey Extra and Infra.
  • GENUKI has a list of archive holders in Hampshire including the Hampshire Record Office, various museums in Portsmouth and Southhampton, the Isle of Wight Record Office and Archives.
  • The Hampshire Online Parish Clerk project has a large collection of transcriptions from Parish Registers across Hampshire.
  • A listing of all the Registration Districts in England and Wales since their introduction in 1837 together with tables listing the parishes that were part of each district and the time period covered, along with detailed notes on changes of parish name, mergers, etc. Do respect the copyright on this material.
  • The three-storey City Museum in Winchester covers the Iron Age and Roman periods, the Middle Ages, and the Victorian period.
  • Volumes in The Victoria County History Series are available for Hampshire through British History Online. There are three volumes and the county is covered by parishes within the old divisions of "hundreds".
A collection of maps on the A Vision of Britain through Time website illustrating the English county of Hampshire over the period 1832-1932 (the last two are expandible):
  • A group of maps of the post-1974 municipal districts or boroughs of Hampshire on Wikipedia Commons
This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Romsey. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.