Rollestons of the World

In researching villages with the name of Rolleston, we have made contacts in Australia and New Zealand as well as Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, with varying success. Here are the details of just three.

The town of Rolleston in Queensland developed from a small teamstersí camp founded beside the Comet River in 1857. In the 1860s, there were violent conflicts with the local inhabitants with deaths on both sides. In 1865, it was surveyed and named after Christopher Rolleston, one of the early pastoralist settlers who followed Aboriginal routes and introduced first sheep and then cattle. The settlement was divided into sixteen one-acre allotments and streets laid out in a grid pattern which still survives. The only building of architectural importance is All Saints Anglican church which dates from 1934.

The ancient parish of Rollestone in Wiltshire was mentioned in the Domesday Book; at that time it belonged to Cuthwulf and had land for three ploughs with 1 villan, 2 cottars and 5 slaves; it was worth £3. It overlooks the water meadows of the River Till between Amesbury and Warminster. It is believed that Jane Seymore, the future wife of Henry VIII, was baptised at Rollestone Church. Sadly, the Church of St. Andrew is now redundant, and the parish was subsumed by Shrewton in 1934. The nearby Rollestone Army Camp was used for Observation Balloon Training during the First World War, and is still used by troops training on Salisbury Plain.

Rolleston, Nottinghamshire, is a village of some 100 houses lying near the River Greet, in the Trent Valley between Newark and Southwell. In the Domesday Book, it had 3 manors, (one of which was held by Bishop Odo of Bayeaux, half brother to William the Conqueror), and 3 mills, and there is an interesting area of moats and fish-stews. The Parish Church dates mainly from the 13th century, although there was a church there in Saxon times. The artist Kate Greenaway stayed in the village as a small girl and it left a lasting impression on her.

We are awaiting more information about other Rollestons, including one in Selwyn District, New Zealand where there is also a Mount Rolleston, and Rolleston, Leicestershire, which is a small settlement off the A47 between Leicester and Uppingham. We also intend to investigate Rollestone (on the A61 near Sheffield), Rolston (near Hornsea, East Riding) and East Rolstone (Somerset, near Junction 21 on M5). there will be a display of photographs, maps and further details at the "History Exhibition" in May.

Arnold Burston.

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© This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000