Moses Pepper is one of Hampshire’s longest serving Postmasters. Post Office records describe him as a ‘Linen Draper and Hatter’, and being appointed as Romsey Postmaster on May 2nd 1815.

In 1817 he was elected as a capital burgess of the town and would have been a highly regarded figure in town life. He was Mayor of Romsey, in 1826, 1838 and 1845; Quarter Sessions Recorder in 1827, and in 1835, 1836 and 1839 was the paid treasurer of two local Turnpike Trusts. With an annual Post Office salary of £66 plus numerous perquisites, in addition to his Drapers’ business, he should have prospered, however, his fortunes were later to take a downward turn.

Town Postmasters were usually tradesmen having premises within the town who would set aside a small portion of their shop to act as the post office. Dealing with the public during shop hours was only part of the postmasters’ duties. Moses also had to bag up letters for collection by the passing mail coaches. Therefore his day started around 6am. and ended around 3 am. the following day.

Moses and his family lived above the shop in the Market Place where the NatWest bank is now located, and with a long working day he could be forgiven the odd mistake. On one occasion the London mail bag, when opened in the General Post Office, was found to contain his dirty linen, whilst the letter bag was still in his bedroom.

In September 1848 Moses was reprimanded for being slow in sending his takings to the Post Office and threatened with dismissal. By December 1848 he had just got his accounts in order but was severely reprimanded again for his poor conduct. In 1849 his stock in trade was valued kindly at £750, but was said to be worth only half that amount. Moses appeared to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

However, he seems to have survived his financial woes. In 1855 Moses had perhaps his finest moment. A print in the Illustrated London News shows the Market Place during a reception for Lord Palmerston. Over the door to Moses Pepper’s Linen shop and Post Office is the name PALMERSTON in large letters, but just below it, in letters just as large, is the name PEPPER. Moses Pepper died on December 19th 1859, aged 77, and was buried in the Botley Road cemetery.