Rose’s ancestors have lived both sides of the river Severn in Gloucestershire for several centuries. In 2001 Rose moved from Cheltenham to return ‘home’ to live in Frampton on Severn where her great great great grandfather, Daniel Hewlett, built the Congregational Church in 1776. In the nineteenth century Daniel’s brother, Samuel, owned the iron foundry at Soudley which is now the site of the Dean Heritage Museum. Rose’s great grandfather was often seen on Gloucester cross waving his stick in disgust at early motor cars, declaring to those who would listen that ‘they would never catch on’! Her grandfather was a commercial traveller for Morelands Matches.
Originally encouraged by her father, Rose has been researching family and local history since 1975. Through practical experience she has developed the special skills required to locate, read and interpret a wide variety of documentary sources. Rose’s attention to detail and infectious enthusiasm for bringing history alive enable her to accurately tell the story of the past.
From 2000-2013 Rose worked as secretary to Frampton Court Estate and the Clifford family of Frampton on Severn, whose ancestry in the village can be traced through their extensive archive to the early days of the Norman Conquest. The oldest record relating to the Hewlett family merely dates to 1306.
The river Severn is never far from Rose’s thoughts. She is proud to be an elected member of the Lower Severn Internal Drainage Board and is transcribing their early records, those of the Gloucestershire Court of Sewers, from 1583 to 1642. These will be published by the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society in 2020.
Rose values the local knowledge and historic information that is built up through working with farmers and landowners, and recognises that this helps to inform future decisions regarding the management of flood risk. In this regard she is clerk to Gloucestershire Severn Estuary Stakeholders, a community-led forum that brings together local farmers, landowners and private, public and government-run organisations to exchange views and information about a number of topics relating to water and flood risk management between Over Bridge, Gloucester, and the mouth of the river Avon, South Gloucestershire.
Rose undertakes private research, gives talks on a variety of subjects and has published several books and papers. She also advises the Living Levels Landscape Partnership on historic records associated with sea defence, land drainage and flooding on the Gwent Levels, and is currently supervising their volunteer history researchers. As part of that project, Rose is compiling The DITCHionary, a glossary of archaic and current terms associated with land drainage and flood defence, particularly those used on the Gloucestershire, Gwent and Somerset Levels.