ROMSEY is full of hidden gems.

Despite living in the area for the past 20 years, author Ian Dickerson is still discovering parts of the market town's history.

Now, in a new book, the 49-year-old who also works at the Church Street Post Office, will tell all.

Secret Romsey is released later in September, and delves into the past of the historic town, from old jam factories to royal visits and Elton John's Broadlands performance.

Chapters are dedicated to different aspects of the town's history, from the first Romsey Abbey founded in 907, Ethelfaeda, who ran the town's nunnery and was partial to late-night swims in the River Test, and the impact of World War One.

Ian first moved to the area from Paris in 1998, living in Whitenap. After moving to Wellow, he then moved back to Whitenap where he currently lives.

He said: "Living in Romsey, you're always learning about the town, even if you're not particularly trying to.

"Having lived here for 20 years, I thought I knew quite a lot, but doing some research and looking at different things, there was still plenty I had no clue about, from the jam factory where Aldi now sits, to other facts about Romsey Abbey."

Ian has written six books, mainly regarding the adventures of Simon Templar, The Saint. His first book was published in 2011, and the 49-year-old said he always wanted to break away slightly and discover more about the town he has called home for two decades.

He said: "It was a deliberate move away from what I have written about, though my first piece of published work was actually in the late 1980s.

"It took me about three or four months to put together, so not too long. To be honest it's full of things you'd never know.

"I had a lot of fun learning new things about Romsey, and I hope those who read it do too."

The book is released on September 15 through Amberley Publishing, and can be purchased online from £15.