Last Saturday, when my dear friend Trish was being treated to an early Mother's Day meal, her husband John and I took a flying visit to Romsey, where I still have family. However, as I didn't have anyone's address or phone number in my travelling handbag, we just had a very quick walk around the shops by the Corn Exchange and then had a wander around the Abbey and environs. These beautiful Regency houses, a little reminiscent of Strawberry Hill Gothic, just cried out to have photos taken.
I loved the sundial beneath the window.
Sigh . . . I could live here!
Romsey Abbey from a variety of different angles. My parents were married here.
The Abbey was founded in 907, and the first Abbess was AElflaeda. The Wikipedia page gives more details of the Abbey's history.
The light wasn't helpful in capturing this wonderful 16th C reredos in St Lawrence's Chapel, but it is amazing that it survived the Protectorate period. It dates from 1525-30.
On display here are the exposed foundations of the earliest building on this site, the Saxon church, which was sadly demolished when the present Norman church was built.
I took this photorgreaph with my husband in mind. We both love early carved chests, and this is a stunning example. I think it was used for storing the copes which were worn.
This lovely memorial is to the memory of John and Grissell St Barbe and their four sons. The parents died of "sweating sickness" which could carry people off in just hours. They were buried on the same day in 1685.
The Mountbatten family has always been a prominent one in Romsey's recent history. Lord Mountbatten's tomb is a simple slab, in the Chapel of St Nicholas. It lies north-south (rather than the traditional east-west alignment) to face towards where his wife Edwina's ashes were buried at sea. I can remember when he was murdered by an IRA bomb in 1979, along with his grandson Nicholas and two others. He was much-loved by Romsey folk and every single shop was dressed in mourning in his memory and people felt as if one of their own family had been slain. He is remembered as the Supreme Allied Commander of South-East Asia (1943-46) and as the last Viceroy of India.
A very sad memorial stone of the children of John and Mary May, whose children all predeceased them. They must have thought they had lived for nothing.
This beautifully-carved monument is to the memory of Alice Taylor, who died of Scarlet Fever aged just two years old in 1843. She was the daughter of a local doctor, who was also a gifted sculptor and made this life-sized effigy of her, lying as if asleep, with a rose in her hand. So touching.
I am kicking myself for not looking round the gift stall area (but it is difficult when you are with someone else), as I missed what I had been looking for - a complete head of plaited hair (she was a redhead, or else her hair became stained down the hundreds of years since her burial). This had been discovered in 1839 in a lead coffin below the floor near the Abbess's Doorway. It has been dated to the middle to late Saxon period. It is the one thing which sticks in my memory from going round the Abbey with John Bridges when I was in my very early teens (I used to go riding with him on his ponies).
Of course, with family links here I have many memories of visiting Romsey, and the main town centre hasn't changed too much in my memory - just a few different shops and the ubiquitous coffee outlets all over the place. It was a real trip down memory lane for me.