Last year (2017) The Arts Society Romsey announced that it would part fund the restoration of the Romsey Military Flag which is held at King John’s House.
This project was funded by The Arts Society Romsey and the Area Arts Society to a cost of £822, including a £150 donation from TVBC Councillors’ Community Grant fund.
The Flag needed very delicate conservation work which was led by an expert Conservator, Rachel Roberts. As the photograph of the flag prior to conservation shows, it was in quite a degraded state and had to be cleaned, humidified and sandwiched between two layers of very fine special netting. The flag was then painstakingly sewn to the netting, a truly back-breaking job. A call had been made to The Arts Society Romsey Volunteers for experienced needlewomen and they, together with some volunteers from King John’s House and from the local community the flag was conserved over a two week period, with two volunteers working each morning and afternoon.
After a small ceremony on 12th December 2017, this flag is now displayed at King John’s House within the Moody Museum, close to the cabinet that also contains the 1798 minute book of an earlier incarnation of the Romsey Volunteer Militia, formed to confront possible threats of Napoleonic Wars , and disbanded in 1814. The flag was later used when the Romsey Volunteer Militia reformed in December 1859, when there was unease about French intentions and also intermittent civil unrest.
As the photograph of the newly conserved flag shows, it is in modest olive green with appliquéd portcullis of faded gold and has now been stabilised. It still bears its “wounds” with pride – darns, patches and general wear and tear, resulting from its use at drills and exercise camps.
The King John’s House Collections Director Barbara Burbridge has made it clear that if it was not for The Arts Society Romsey and Area making all this possible with the funding and the exquisite work by our Volunteers, this Flag would never have been restored and she said it was like a dream come true to have this work done. It is very much a part of Romsey’s history.