general

PS RYDE

     PS Ryde was a paddle steamer  that was commissioned and run by the Southern Railway as a passenger ferry between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight from 1937 to 1969, with an interlude during the Second World War where she served as a minesweeper and then an anti-aircraft ship, seeing action at both Dunkirk and D-Day.
     PS Ryde was commissioned by Southern Railway in 1936 as a sister ship for Sandown. Costing £46,800 (equivalent to £3,040,000 in 2019) she was built by William Denny Brothers in Dumbarton  on  Clydeside and was licensed to carry 1,011 passengers. After her launch on St George’s Day in 1937, by Lady Walker, wife of the General Manager of the Southern Railway she replaced the  PS Duchess of Norfolk on the Portsmouth to Ryde Pier passenger ferry service. 
     In 1939, at the outbreak of the Second World War, PS Ryde and PS Southdown were both requisitioned by the Royal Navy. She was renamed HMS Ryde and initially both were used as Minesweepers in the Thames Estuary and Dover Straits as well as seeing action at Dunkirk, alongside PS Whippingham. In May 1944 she travelled to Portsmouth, from where she sailed to the Normandy coast to take part in Operation Neptune on D-Day, where she protected the Mulberry Harbours at Omaha beach.  At one stage during the landings, she was hit in her engine room by a shell, but it did not explode. In spite of being instructed to beach the ship, if she ran out of coal, Ryde's commander, Lt. Commander Beamer, was able to return her safely to Portsmouth. After D-Day, HMS Ryde was anchored off Bembridge to help to protect  Portsmouth Harbour from V-1 flying bombs..

     Reverting to her pre-war name upon her return to Southern Railway on 7 July 1945, PS Ryde worked on her former route and undertook a variety of chartered trips as well, such as being chartered by Gilbery’s Gin to serve as a 'Floating Gin Palace' in London in 1968. However, the nationalised  British Railways started to commission more modern motor vessels after the war at the expense of the paddle steamers, starting with two diesel vessels in 1945 to replace PS Southsea and PS Portsdown. In July 1966, PS Sandown was retired and scrapped, and, in September 1969, it was decided to retire PS Ryde as well. At the time of her retirement, she had ferried passengers across the  Solent for thirty-two years and was the last sea-going coal-fired paddle steamer in the world.
     In June 2018, it was reported that Ryde had been sold and that there were plans to restore the vessel. A charitable trust was to be set up with this aim. An assessment of the vessel was to be undertaken with the assistance of the National Ships Register.
     Her funnel, which collapsed in 2006, was the first of her rusting components to give up the ghost. Then, in 2012, the bridge collapsed into the Ryde’s decaying superstructure. Despite her place on the National Register of Historic Ships, and the ongoing efforts of preservationists to save her, the old paddle steamer has never been able to escape the abandonment that has gripped her for decades. 
     After many years abandoned on moorings at Island Harbour Marina on the River Medina, she was purchased by the PS Ryde Trust in late 2018, with the intention of raising money for her restoration. That project was abandoned in January 2019.

 

FINDS OF 3,000 YEARS AGO

     Bronze  Age Artefacts that had lain undisturbed for 3,000 years have been uncovered in a field near Peebles in Scotland. The treasures including a complete horse harness and a sword, which was found still in its scabbard, have been dated to between 1,000-900BC Also found were decorated straps, buckles, rings, ornaments and axle caps for chariot wheels. After 22 days spent researching the field before all the items were found, the metal detector enthusiasts then transferred all the artefacts to the National Museums Collection Centre in Edinburgh.

 

ABOUT GOSPORT

     Gosport is sited on a peninsular on the western side of Portsmouth harbour, opposite Portsmouth. According to the town’s motto, the name of Gosport comes from the words ‘God’s Port’, which King Stephen supposedly used when he gave thanks in 1144 for making a safe landing there in a storm. Sadly, this appears to have been a 19th-century invention. A disparaging nickname for Gosport Particularly used in Portsmouth, is ‘Turktown’, because there is a Turkish graveyard in the grounds of the Clayhall Royal Naval Cemetery at Haslar, with the graves of 26 Turkish sailors from two visiting ships who died of natural causes between 1850 and 1852.

 

 

 

 

 

PARISHES

THE HISTORY OF WYMERING

     Wymering existed for centuries before Portsmouth, its name indicating it is an early Saxon settlement. Saxon graves from the 7th century AD were found nearby on Portsdown. The large Manor estate existed before 1066 as=and is listed in the Domesday Book. The fields surrounding Wymering were farms until the 1920s when Wymering became part of Portsmouth.
     The church is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul and was begun in about 1180 but there was an earlier church of which no trace survives today. In the cemetery opposite are the graves of Admiral Sir Francis Austen, Jane Austen’s brother and his wife, but it is not clear where their graves are to be found.
     Wymering Vicarage is a Grade 2 listed building and was built in 1750 and in the 1860 and 70s was the base for the Community of St Mary, an order of nuns who cared for orphans and the sick.
     Wymering Manor is another Grade 2 listed building dating back to the 1580s when it was a fine timber framed building Nowadays it has been changed and extended serving as a private house, vicarage and Youth Hostel by successive generations.
     There were three farms in the Wymering area, Upper Farm which was demolished in about 1960 to make way for the new Southampton Road. South Wymering Farm was the smallest of the three and dates from 1840 and is now converted to housing , while East Wymering Farm can only be detected by the late 18th century front. A rather grand house which once had a large pond, many barns and sheds as well as extensive orchards. In 1935 it became the Jubilee Home for the elderly blind people and is now a nursing home.
     So what a lot of history in this secluded part of Portsmouth and where many aspects of its history and heritage are to be seen today.

 

FORCES WAR RECORDS

     Forces War Records, which hit the 20 million records milestone on 2019, has a target of 25 million names by the end of 2020. These will be fuelled in part by a partnership with the National Library of Scotland to transcribe its First World War casualty lists compiled from daily and weekly War Office lists. The team expects to reach more than two million records from this collection alone. 

 

Sir ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

     Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Britain’s greatest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, is buried at All Saints Church, Minstead, where he lived. After the death of the author, a devoted spiritualist, a compromise was reached over the positioning of his grave, and he was buried near the church’s boundary. Curiously, lightning has twice struck the oak tree nearest the grave.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

     Findmypast has agreed a deal with Surrey County Council that includes digitising and indexing nearly 1.5 million records, and it recently added 450,000 more burials. It also has an ongoing partnership with Kent History and Library Centre and has now released an additional 500,000 plus parish records. It has added 81,000 Hampshire records too, and added 63,000 records to its Berkshire Marriage Index.

 

HOLY ROOD

     Originally known as ‘Holie Rood’ in the 16th Century, Southampton’s Holy Rood Church, in the High Street, can trace its history back for more than 1,000 years. Stone from Caen in France, was brought to Southampton for use in the construction of the church, which has always been closely linked with ships and seafarers. In earlier times sailors would say prayers in the church before voyages and again on their return to port.

With the baptism and marriages now completed and checked, the third part, the burials, is about 50% complete and the whole will hopefully be published later this year.

 

CREMATORIA ESTABLISHED

     Private cremations had been taking place sporadically since the 1880s. In 1902 the Cremation Act came into force, extending the rights of burial authorities to allow them to establish crematoria from 1st April, 1903. No crematorium could be closer than 50 yards to any public highway, or within 200 yards of any dwelling house without the written consent of the owner. Private cremation on an open-air pyre was subject to a penalty of up to £50..

 

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I      t’s been twenty weeks at the time of writing since we were last open and even now, although we have been given permission by Havant Council to open, we have decided that with the rules and regulations changing almost daily, it would be better to delay our re-opening for a bit longer. With new sets of records up to 2020 ready to open up there is lots to look forward to. Unfortunately while we are closed, we are still having to pay for the phone line which feeds our computer network at about £25 a month, we are welcoming any help with payments of subscriptions, donations etc. and we are relying on our copper pot collected as the goes a fair way to helping the funds. Our very grateful thanks to Ernie who has a hard enough job generally managing our finances, so he will certainly welcome any monetary help. 

 

HILSEA LINES AND FORT CUMBERLAND

     In the eighteenth century a line of fortifications was built to protect Portsea Island from the mainland - in case an enemy landed on a nearby beach and approached from the north. The Lines were reconstructed in 1858-60 and a moat was dug out parallel to Portscreek. This was almost immediately reduced to being a second line of defence by the building of the forts on Portsdown Hill. Large sections of the Lines can still be seen.
Fort Cumberland was built in the 1740s to protect the entrance to Langstone Harbour. It was built around Cumberland Farm House which had been used as a shooting lodge by the Duke of Cumberland. The fort was reconstructed later in the century using convict labour; the convicts were accommodated on old hulks moored in Langstone Harbour. It is now recognised to be the finest example of an eighteenth-century bastioned fort in the British Isles. It was used by the Royal Marines Artillery and then the Royal Marines until 1973. 

 

ALL FOR A KNOCK ON THE HEAD

     Back in the 18th century Hampshire people convicted of even the most trivial offences faced harsh punishment at the hands of judges sitting in local courts. For instance, one local man was sentenced to “two months of hard servitude” at Winchester prison after being convicted of stealing a piece of bread. Another defendant, who knocked a man on the head with a stick in the New Forest, was ordered to be transported to Australia for the rest of his life.

 

 OCCUPATIONS 

astronomer - Weatherman who assisted mariners here were going on long voyages to try and predict what weather conditions they might encounter.
broom seller - A street salesman with his own distinctive cry, ‘Buy and broom, old shoes buy a broom’. He would accept a pair of old shoes in exchange for a broom, due to the resale value of the leather.
couple beggar - Travelling priest who performed ‘instant’ weddings up to 1754. Also known as a ‘hedge priest’.
crab boiler - Worker associated with the sea fishing industry who boiled crabs and lobsters either for himself or others before selling them on to the public.
forester - A huntsman. In an abbey this was a uniformed position, not just a job. He would live outside the abbey with his own family and would have a range of staff under him. By law, foresters and huntsmen were the only persons allowed to carry bows and arrows in the King’s forests in medieval times.
Luddite - Originally one of a group of factory workers loosely joined in a movement to smash factory machinery which was taking away the jobs of manual workers. Later the term was applied to anyone who refused to take on new ideas or working methods.

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