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Romsey Abbey
In the center of Romsey

Romsey is a small market in the English county of Hampshire . The place is located 13 kilometers northwest of Southampton and 18 kilometers southwest of Winchester .

Romsey is 4.93 square kilometers and has a population of about 13,000, sits on the Test River , famous among trout anglers, and is one of the main towns in the Test Valley . The center of the village is dominated by a Norman abbey, the Romsey Abbey .


It is believed that the name Romsey derives from a word Rūm's Eg and "Rūm's swamp-surrounded area", where "Rūm" is regarded as an abbreviation of a proper name, for example from "Rūmwald".

Romsey Abbey

The later abbey was founded in 907 by nuns under the leadership of Elflaeda, daughter of Edward the Elder and granddaughter of Alfred the Great . Around 960 the abbey was founded again by King Edgar , this time as a Benedictine abbey . In 993 Romsey was sacked by the Vikings and the church burned down; however, a few years later the reconstruction began, this time in stone. The abbey became a training center especially for the children of the nobility. A market established itself outside the monastery walls.

The abbey that dominates the place today was built by the Normans between 1120 and 1140 on the site where the previous Anglo-Saxon church previously stood. Around 1240, 100 nuns lived in the monastery.

As a result of the plague of 1348/49, the number of nuns fell to 19; the abbey did not recover from the plague; it was finally dissolved by King Henry VIII in 1539 . However, the monastery buildings were spared from destruction, as the parish church belonged to them. The parish acquired the monastery from the Crown in 1544 for £ 100.

middle Ages

King Henry I gave Romsey, which grew up around the abbey, his first charter, which allowed a Sunday market and a four-day fair in May. In the 13th century, King Henry III. an additional fair in October. The growth of the place was fueled by the wool industry, which shipped its products to Southampton.

The development of Romsey stopped when the plague in 1348/49 killed around half of the population, around 500 people.

In the middle of the 16th century, around 1500 people lived in Romsey again. In 1607 the place was made a borough .

Modern times

The wool industry in Romsey survived until the middle of the 18th century, but then had to give way to competition from the north of England. The gaps were filled, for example, by breweries and paper manufacturers - industries that lived on the water of the Test River.

At the end of the 18th century Romsey was connected by a canal to Redbridge at the mouth of the Test, now a district of Southampton, and Andover . At the 1801 census, Romsey had 4,274 inhabitants - a considerable number compared to Southampton, which was also 8,000. Although Romsey was connected to the railway network in 1847, growth slowed: in 1851 the place had 5654 inhabitants, in 1901 only 5597.

Town twinning

Romsey also maintains town twinning


Outside the town is Broadlands , a large country estate where the Prime Minister Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston was born and later lived. The country estate later became the property of Lord Mountbatten of Burma , who was buried in Romsey Abbey after his assassination. Mountbatten carried the title of "Baron Romsey, of Romsey in the County of Southampton".

William Petty (1623–1687), economist, scientist and philosopher, was born in Romsey.

Web links

Commons : Romsey  - collection of images, videos and audio files


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Coordinates: 50 ° 59 ′  N , 1 ° 30 ′  W