Taking a look back at the little village of big legends

The railway station at Rowlands Castle
The railway station at Rowlands Castle

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Rowlands Castle is a village of legends, although there is little evidence to back up the folk tales concerning Rowland, a giant who preyed on and plundered the countryside.

But prehistoric man did settle in the area using the Lavant river valley to get to the rich food source provided by the wildlife on the shores of Langstone Harbour.

As a place name the earliest reference to Rowlands Castle appears to be in the time of Edward II (1307-1327) when there is mention of a place, Rolokascastel.

This delightful village just north of Havant, with its large green, tempting pubs and excellent communications, is now a gateway to the South Downs National Park.

The railway station, on the Portsmouth to Waterloo line, attracts commuters to the village as well as walkers and cyclists.

This picture, taken by Southsea photographer Stephen Cribb, is a rarity because it shows the central siding which appears on a small-scale map of 1915.

The siding, thought to have been provided for the excursion trade, was large enough to take two coaches.

There is also some evidence that horse boxes were left here and that horses destined to run at Goodwood were delivered to the station in the 1930s.

The coaches in the background are on another siding which led to Courtlands Arch.