"Isle of Wight - a history" Isle of Wight by LouiseTopp

Isle of Wight Travel Guide: 317 reviews and 666 photos

Isle of Wight, a history

There's so much to say about The isle of weight which is why I have dedicated travel pages to it. The island used to be part of Britain until the Ice age melted, & the sea's rose. When the sea tide goes out, you can see remains of hidden forest's, like old tree trunks.

Around 1900 BC the Beaker people came- so called from their pottery. They called the Island Wiht (weight) meaning raised or what rises over the sea. Then the Romans arrived in 43 AD & translated Wiht into the name Vectis from the Latin veho meaning lifting. The Roman rule began under Vespasian & carried on quietly for over 400 years. Then followed a stage of friction beginning with the Saxons under Cerdic & Cynric in 530 AD. Many of the community were killed & 4 years after Cerdic's demise the government was split amid his two nephews Stuf & Wihtgar. In 544 Wihtgar died & was concealed at Carisbrooke. In 661 AD, Wight changed hands again when it was taken by Wulfhure, King of the Mercians, but it was in 686 AD that the West Saxon King, Caedwalla, dominated it & brought Christianity to the Island. For 2 centuries the people of Wight then led a fairly serene life until the Danes came this far south. In 897 AD their visits for 'burning & killing' went on for over 100 years so the Islanders lived in regular fear.

The Medieval Ages

At the time of the Norman invasion, William the Conqueror gave overlordship of the Isle of Wight to his relation William FitzOsbern who started the building of a castle at Carisbrooke. The lordship of the Island came to the De Redvers family in 1101, with the inherited rights & rights that came with it it, until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus, the last survivor in the family, sold the Island to Edward 1 in 1293 for 60000 marks.

Throughout the Hundred Years' War, the Island, like much of the south coast, became a target for prowling French. The Island's only defence, the Norman Castle at Carisbrooke, assumed a defence role for which it was mismatched owing to its middle position; The French could land on the coast & burn & raid while ignoring the castle. Towns & villages like Yarmouth, Newtown & Newport were occasionally attacked & burned. It is said that in 1377 a party of French fell into an trap on the outskirts of Newport & were cut to pieces in Dead Man's Lane, now Trafalgar Road. They are thought to be buried at 'Noddies Hill', now known as Nodehill or Upper St. James' Street. On the same time the French inundated the castle, but, according to the legend, retired on the death of their chief, shot from the castle's west wall. Concern about the French attacks is shown in the frequent modifications made to the Castle's fortifications in the 14th Century.

Current History

In the 19th century the Island was changed by the railways. Queen Victoria took benefit of the island's new convenience by using Osborne as her holiday home. Affairs of the state soon followed her & the moderately furnished family home had to be improved with rooms where she could see overseas heads of state. Nevertheless, her kids enjoyed many hours & a immense deal of freedom at Osborne as a visit to Swiss Cottage will show. Queen Victoria's love for Osborne added to the Island's attractions of weather & scenery, & Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin & Ventnor extended from fishing villages to fashionable resorts.

It's a bit hilly in places on the Isle of Weight if you intend to bring your bike, but the scenery is great You can get to the Island on the red Funnel ferries, there used to be hovercraft, but I think they stopped running. Once when my parents were young there used to be a chain ferry going across the Channel. For more information about red Funnel, please visit their site at www.redfunnel.co.uk, otherwise I will describe them in other sections.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Lovely place to visit, great scenary
  • Cons:Not so cool in the rain
  • In a nutshell:Great for scenary
  • Last visit to Isle of Wight: Jun 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (4)

  • Helga67's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2006 at 1:04 AM

    Excellent info. Thanks for sharing.

  • freya_heaven's Profile Photo
    Jan 31, 2005 at 3:01 PM

    Thanks Jane, we are going here in March. Excellent tips, my daughter will enjoy Amazon World. (~__~)

  • Oct 27, 2004 at 6:37 AM

    Many many happy returns of the day.Wishing you a happy birthday. Greetings from India.

  • bugalugs's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2004 at 12:46 PM

    Interesting about the screw top can for the beer, I have never heard of them before


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