Stop 6: The Fountain-Information

In 1740, a man called John Smith built a cottage and Brew house on what is now the Green. This is now known as “The Fountain”.

Before 1812, the Inn had come under the control of Emsworth Brewer Thomas Rosewell, although the land and buildings were owned by Jervoise Clarke-Jervoise.. Upon Rosewell’s death in 1812, the occupiers were named as Elizabeth Rosewell, the wife of Thomas and their son.

Hampshire Telegraph on  27th May 1833 listed the property for sale as “A Public House, called the Fountain, situate at Rowlands Castle…with good Garden and requisite Outbuildings – Leasehold for 480 years from Michaelmas 1799.” The property was bought by Charles Gatehouse, brewers of Chichester. (Michaelmas is a Christian Festival observed on the 29th of September, when Michaelmas daisies often flower).

The property changed hands again in 1869. Now the property is described as having a large pleasure garden. Then in 1888, it was acquired by Albert G Hipkin, who also owned a number of other public houses.

The Rook Family were important in Rowlands Castle and were first described as tenants of the Fountain in 1816. The original tenant was Thomas  Rook, then on his death the tenancy passed to his wife, Ann and then their son, Henry. In the 1841 Census, Henry is described as the Publicanalong with his wife and at this time eight of his twelve children. Henry died in 1842.

The third generation of the Rook family to act as Landlords was Samuel Rook, who also acted as a Grocer, Baker and Postmaster. By the 1870s the “Pleasure Gardens” are now described as “Tea Gardens”. Samuel had a couple of brushes with the law including assault.

By the 1891 Census, the Publican for the Fountain had become William Cradduck, who seems to have been a successful Landlord, hosting large celebrations for organisations such as the Rowlands Castle Friendly Society,the Chair at this time being Samuel Rook.

The ownership of the Fountain changed hands between Breweries, including Kinnel and Hartley; Chichester Brewers Henty & Constable; and Watney, Combe & Reid.

Notable Landlords in the 1920s and 1930s were William Passells and John Theodore Von Hooydonk who kept the Fountain open during WWII. In the 1950s, the publican was William Guy Gilbert, who is believed to have been a fighter pilot in WWI and in the 1980s, Dave Pullar, a former professional footballer who had played for Portsmouth. More recently, Herbie Armstrong, guitarist with Van Morrison, was the landlord, carrying on a tradition of live music evenings. 

Over the 200 years various alterations have been made to the building. The very characteristic archway was probably added around 1900. The Pullar family made significant alterations to the interior of the inn. More recently a restaurant area was added in the former living quarters, which has been a Thai restaurant, Mediterranean Bistro and Indian Restaurant.

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