"Smugglers on the Isle of Wight" Top 5 Page for this destination Isle of Wight Local Custom Tip by budapest8

Isle of Wight Local Customs: 34 reviews and 39 photos

  Blackgang Chine smugglers lair
by budapest8

Smuggling on the Isle of Wight
In Hampshire, the smuggler's job was made especially easy by the proximity of the Isle of Wight. The island had a well-developed trade in wool exports, and until the late 18th century, its coasts were only lightly guarded against the attentions of free-traders: any ship's master with sufficient navigational ability would have been able to slip into one of the island's bays or creeks with little risk of losing a cargo to the land-based forces.
A chase at sea was perhaps more of a risk, but in the early 18th century, the smugglers relied on their superior seamanship to evade the preventive forces. The south-east side of the island is fringed with treacherous rock platforms, notably Rocken End, and the risk of a wreck was not something that the master of a revenue cutter contemplated with pleasure. Any smuggler who knew a way through the rocks, and was prepared to ride out the ferocious south-westerly winds that batter this part of the coast was unlikely to be followed too far.

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  • Written Feb 9, 2007
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