William Waterman was proprietor of Waterman's Field Gun Battery between c.1856 and 1864. He was baptized at Michelmersh parish church on 24 June 1804, the son of Charles and Ruth (nee Laws) Waterman, who had been married in Mottisfont church on 6 August 1801. William married Sarah Barton in Romsey Abbey Church on 10 October 1827. The 1841 census sees William and Sarah at Newton Lane, Romsey, William described as an agricultural labourer. This links him to the William Waterman, employed by Joseph Jackson to winnow corn, who gave evidence before Hants Lent Assizes in March 1836. William, now described as cellarman, was at the same address in 1851. By 1861 the family has moved to Crown Street in Shirley. William is now a journeyman brewer. The family lived in Crown Street for over 30 years. Sarah was buried in Shirley churchyard on 27 September 1884, aged 79. William died on 18 January 1890, aged 85 years. He too is buried in Shirley churchyard. His personal estate was valued at £65 (Hampshire Archives and Local Studies 5M62/25/p9: will, in which he describes himself as 'Gentleman'). The bulk of his property was left to a younger son, also William, who continued as a brewer in Shirley.
William Waterman was a showman. He was the owner of a battery of field guns (see separate entry) and a collection of 16 flags of all nations. This he considered "the best private collection of flags in the county" (Hampshire Advertiser, 3 October 1868). The flags were a popular feature of social events and public entertainments for over a quarter of a century. They were put - apparently gratuitously - at the service of a multitude of local societies and organisations, mainly in Shirley, Southampton and Romsey but with a geographical remit that included Andover, Ringwood, Winchester and Dorchester. They were a feature of the annual flower show and fete of the Shirley, Millbrook and Freemantle Horticultural Society and of social gatherings of both Foresters and Oddfellows. They provided colour for the opening of the new St Mary's drill hall of the 1st Hants Artillery Volunteers in April 1874 and for the Grand Conservative Banquet at the Philharmonic Rooms in April 1876. Waterman was also a stalwart of the Shirley Amateur Dramatic Society, regarded as "the low comedian of the society" (Hampshire Advertiser, 25 September 1869). His wife appeared with him in some of the productions.


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