Rose Haywood was the daughter of vicar Charles Haywood and his wife Edith. She also was the younger sister of John and the elder sister of Arthur. In 1914, Rose comforted Maggie Sugden at the funeral of her father Albert, and told off Ava Bainbridge, Joan Carr, Betty Porter and Mary Ann Teale who were spreading awful gossip about Maggie. Rose had a crush on Ralph Verney, however Ralph and Maggie were in love and Rose was jealous of their relationship. When the villagers learned England would be joining the war, Rose thought it was a bad decision, however Charles disagreed.
Whilst waving goodbye to the soldiers, Rose was horrified to find Maggie beaten half to death and to learn that Joseph Sugden had killed her dog Toby. Rose admitted to Maggie that she was envious of how she always caught Ralph's attention but offered to help Maggie and Ralph stay in contact by delivering Maggie's letters and giving her Ralph's so Joseph wouldn't find out about their adultery.
Rose befriended Levi Dingle, who had been relieved of his duties as a soldier due to his injuries sustained in a shooting. Rose sympathised with him, unaware Levi developed a crush on Rose. Rose began a secret relationship with Levi's older brother Mick Dingle, and was horrified when she discovered Levi had uncovered their relationship. However, Levi agreed to act as a go-between for Mick and Rose's letters, so nobody would suspect their relationship.
Desperate to help in the war, Rose decided to help the wounded soldiers in the hospital, including Stanley Owen and Wilfred Brown, helping them with reading/writing. Rose took a liking to Sergeant Donald, who sustained very serious injuries, and spent as much of her time as possible with him. Unfortunately, Sergeant Donald succumbed to his injuries and died in October 1915. She was upset and initially became tense and easily irritated. Rose's father Charles tried to get her to leave her job as their maid, Mildred, had left to work as a plumber in Keighley, but Rose refused, instead deciding to juggle voluntary work and helping out at the house.
Rose was horrified when Levi accidentally lost one of Rose and Mick's letters, and Ava picked it up and read it. Ava blackmailed Rose, but Levi vowed to never let Ava bother Rose again. The Woolpack was burnt down in November 1915, and Ava was killed in the fire. Rose noticed Levi was pleased with the fire, and he hinted to her that he started the fire.
On Christmas Eve, whilst going to find Maggie, Rose was directed to the Warcup family's cottage, where Polly Warcup had gone into labour. Rose and Maggie assisted in the birth of two twin girls, which Polly named Margaret and Rose after the pair.