Romsey Abbey

Here would be the appropriate place to enter some history of the Abbey where the Emery records are found.

Romsey Abbey is a parish church of the Church of England in Romsey, a market town in Hampshire, England. Until the dissolution it was the church of a Benedictine nunnery. It is now the largest parish church in the county.

This is provided from a phamphlet received in 1994 at that time the Vicar was Revd. N. Crawford Jones.

The only address given is: The Vicarage, Romsey Hants S051 8EN

God has been worshipped on this site for well over a thousand years, and in this building for 850 of them. It is a place sanctified by the prayers of generations of Christians. It is a place of prayer and pilgrimage today. Much more than a superb piece of architecture with a long and fascinating history, it is the living house of prayer for the people of the town and parish of Romsey. More recently it has also become the last resting place of the Fleet Earl Mountbatten of Burman.

Romsey Abbey was founded by a King. Its was the place one of the Queens of England was educated. It is visited by Kings and Queens today.

The Abbey is on of Europe's finest Norman buildings. It was originally built as a nunnery and the Lady Chapel was demolished in 1539 at the dissolution of the nunnery. It is ruled over by two saints.

The Abbey traditionally was a Saxon wooden church which some remains of the Anglo-Saxon Church and foundation still exists. The Abbey was rebuilt in stone during the 11th and 12th centuries and has been beautified by successive generations.

The Abbey was sold to the parishioners of Romsey in 1544 and has been the towns parish church ever since.

from other sources its said:
What was to become Romsey Abbey was founded in 907. Nuns, led by Elflaeda daughter of Edward the Elder, son of Alfred the Great, founded a community — at his direction — in what was then a small village. Later, King Edgar refounded the nunnery, about 960, as a Benedictine house under the rule of St. Ethelflaeda whose devotional acts included chanting psalms while standing naked in the cold water of the River Test.

The village swelled alongside the religious community. The Vikings sacked Romsey in 993, burning down the church. But the village recovered, and the abbey was rebuilt in stone in about 1000. The religious community flourished as a seat of learning, especially for the children of the nobility. A market was established outside the abbey gates.,

The Normans built the large current abbey that dominates the town (between c. 1120 and 1140) on the site of the original Saxon church. By 1240, 100 nuns lived in the convent.

Romsey continued to grow and prosper until plague struck the town in 1348-9. The Black Death is thought to have killed up to half of the Romsey's population of 1000. The number of nuns fell as low as 19. Prosperity never returned to the abbey. It was finally suppressed by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. Many religious buildings were destroyed during this time.

However the abbey did not suffer the fate of many other religious establishments at this time and was not demolished, although the community itself was forcibly dispersed. This was because it had, in modern terms, become "dual use". in the sense that it contained a church within a church – a substantial section being dedicated to St Lawrence and used solely by the townspeople.

But the abbey was saved from demolition because part of it was a parish church for the people of Romsey. The town purchased the abbey from the Crown for £100 in 1544. Ironically, the part of the abbey that had saved the abbey, and then set about demolishing that very section, set aside as the church of St Lawrence, that had ensured its survival in the first place.

The abbey survives today not least due to the efforts of the Reverend Edward Lyon Berthon during the 19th century who set about restoring it to some of its former glory. It is now the largest parish church in the county and houses the tomb of Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

Still a thriving church where families worship, in October 2007 Revd Tim Sledge was appointed Vicar of Romsey.



1) Stand near the LARGE FONT under the great West Window of the Abbey and look towards the High Alter. Most of the Church was built in the Norman style (round arches). Now proceed round the Abbey in a counter-clockwise direction

2) EMBROIDERED CURTAIN, designed and made locally in 1966 showing saints with their traditional symbols

3) SOUTH TRANSEPT: note the grave of Earl Mountbatted of Burma, the St. Barbe monument (Cromwellian) and the Purbeck marble effigy (13th century)

4) THREADGOLD TREASURY, containing some of the Abbey's most valuable possessions.

5) NORMAN CAPITAL on last pillar on left of St. Ann'es Chapel (look up): keep an eye open for others.

6) SAXON ROOD (or cross) behind the altar, dating from about the year 960. The white light indicates the Reserved Sacrament for the communion of the sick and dying.

7) 12th century WALL PAINITING (restored 1976) to the right of the altar of St. Mary. The 'Romsey rose' seen in the Treasury was found behind this painting.

8) The FLOOR TILES in from of the altar in St. George's Chapel were made 700 years ago and depict the crusades.

9) Look across the chancel at the magnificent NORMAN ARCHES, three stories high, built about 1130, Orand by Walker built 1858, rebuilt 1888, restored 1975.

10) BROADLANDS PEW (opposite the organ) used till his death by Lord Mountbatten, and still by member of his family.

11) Behind the choir screen on the north side are remains of the ANGLO-SAXON church which once stood on this site.

12) Italian style painted REREDOS (c. 1500) behind the altar of S. Lawrence's Chapel.

13) FONT (mid 19th century) in the north aisle; this area was used as part of the townspeople's church in the Mediaeval period.

14) TOMB of ALICE TAYLOR (close to main font) she was the daughter of a local doctor.

15) Outside the Abbey on the south side is the site of the Cloisters and domestic buildings of the nunnery.

16) On the west wall of the south transept, the 11th century, Rood shows Jesus as the Lord who reigns, with the "hand of God" coming down from a cloud above.

17) The site of the LADY CHAPEL demolished 1539 at the dissolution of the nunnery.

18) On the North of the Abbey, beneath the present north aisle wall are the foundations of the Anglo-Saxon porticus or north transept.

Today is