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.
THE GARRISON CHURCH
The Domus Dei, or Royal Garrison Church, has a curious history. It was founded in 1212 by the Bishop of Winchester as a hospice - offering
accommodation to travellers and pilgrims as well as to the sick and the elderly. It was dedicated to St John the Baptist and St Nicholas, the patron saint of sailors.
In 1450, the Bishop of Chichester, Adam Moleyns, was murdered near the Domus Dei. He had been sent by the King to pay some of the soldiers and sailors. However, the amount did not
equal what the men were owed so they killed the Bishop. For this crime the whole town was excommunicated and remained under an interdict for fifty years.
The Domus Dei was closed when the monasteries were dissolved in 1540. After a brief spell as an armoury, part of it became the residence of the military Governors of Portsmouth.
As such it was used for the marriage of Charles II to Catherine go Braganza, the Infanta of Portugal, on 21st May 1622. Catherine brought Tangier and Bombay to the King as part of her dowry and this
was the beginning of the British interest in India.
In 1827 the Governor’s House was demolished except for the infirmary hall and the chapel which became the Royal Garrison Church. It was diligently restored in the 1860s by the
eminent Victorian architect, G.E. Street, but was badly damaged during the Second World War. The chancel largely dates from the thirteenth century, the roofless nave is nineteenth century. It is
owned by the Department of the Environment and is open to the public, but it is still a consecrated church.
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..
Almost 1,700 new burial plots could be created at Hound Cemetery in Netley Abbey. The proposal is to convert a disused field behind St Mary the Virgin
Street in Hound Road.
More than four billion digital record images are now searchable by place on familysearch.org. The world’s largest free family history website holds
billions of historic images, but about eighty per cent, have not been searchable by name. However, members can now type the name of a city, county, state or country into a new Explore Historical
Images tool at familysearch.org/records/images and view collections of browsable records.
BUSY, BUSY MILLERS
At the beginning of the last century there were as many as 200 working mills in Hampshire, although very few have survived until today. Most of the
mills were situated on the many chalk streams in the county, which provided the power needed to turn the machinery, but these were costly to maintain and corn iron and paper production dwindled
NEW SCHOOL IN 1840
Southampton’s Highfield Church of England School welcomed its first pupils in 1840 to its original premises, comprising the Master’s House and one
classroom. At that time Highfield was considered to be a rural community with pupils attending a country school, which served as agricultural area. In 1869 the school logbook reported: “School short,
haymaking” while a year later says: “Grass crop, a failure.”
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.
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.