George Brannon.

The pleasure visitor's companion in making the tour of the Isle of Wight, pointing out the best plan for seeing in the shortest time every remarkable object online

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Online LibraryGeorge BrannonThe pleasure visitor's companion in making the tour of the Isle of Wight, pointing out the best plan for seeing in the shortest time every remarkable object → online text (page 1 of 8)
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Adjoining the Dolphin Hotel.





Bibles, Prayer Books, Church Services, Companions
to the Altar, Pietas, fyc.,





Almanacks, Diaries, and Housekeeping Books.














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bf.-ct* plan, for se^eiruf in. th& shortest,


Ernb&lhsh&d, with views of ' the- Country Inns,

(By (D

^ ^^, Author, Wbotron. ,




ALL PUFFING has been avoided in the com-
pilation of the following pages ; whether to gratify
interested friends, or to improve the style by too
liberal a use of elegant and superlative epithets
often creating an expectation in the mind of the
stranger, which will be disappointed on the first
view of the object so blazoned forth with unme-
rited encomiums.

But though the author's aim has been through-
out to sketch with the strictest fidelity and sobriety
of colouring ; yet as scarcely two persons will ever
give the same measure of praise to any one object,
so of course will there often be a considerable
difference of opinion between him and his readers
on questions of taste and local beauty ; but it is to
be hoped, that however great such difference may
be, his veracity will not be too hastily impugned.



This work having been twenty-four years before
the public, during which time it has gone through
as many editions, it may be repeated without arro-
gance or " puff," that it is indebted for its success
to the unvarnished style of its descriptions; a per-
spicuity of arrangement, and a condensation of
those particulars which are known from experience
to be most useful to THE HASTY TOURIST ; advan-
tages which distinguish it from its many rivals,
both of home and metropolitan production : to say
nothing of its accuracy, which must be an after-
test, but may be inferred by the purchaser from
the circumstance of the writer being an Artist,
and a Resident for above forty years.

Wootton Common, I.W., June, 1857.

f T E IV T S .


Climate, Situation, and Extent, . 11

Geology, Agriculture, and Zoology, 14

Commerce and Population, . .18

History of the Island . . .20

Eminent Natives .... 24

CHAP. II. THE SCENERY of greatest interest.

Sect, 1. Bembridge Cliffs, . . .25

2. SHANKLIN Chine and Village, . 27

3. From Shanklin to the Undercliff, . 31

Luccombe and East End . .

4. THE UNDERCLIFF, . . .33

Bonchurch, . . . .36

Ventnor, 39

Steephill, 42

St. Lawrence, . . . .43
Change in the Scenery, , . 44

Old Park, Cripple-path, &c., . 45
Exclusion from the Country Seats, 47

5. The Undercliff near Niton . . 48

St. Catharine's Light-house, . . 49
Sandrock Spring, . . .50

Blackgang Chine, . . .51

Wreck of the ship " Clarendon," . 54


Sect. 0. St. Catharine's Hill, . . .55
The Country between Blackgang

Chine and Freshwater-gate, . 56


Freshwater Bay, . . . .60

ScratcheH's Bay Grand Arch, . 63

The Needle Rocks Alum Bay, . 64

8. Character of the Prospects, . . 67

Sect. 1. The Principal Seats, . . .73

2. Carisbrooke Castle, . . .83

Quarr Abbey, . . .86

3. Conspicuous Objects on the Downs, 87


Newport Carisbrooke Village, . 89

Ryde and its Environs, . . 97

Cowes and its Environs, . .105

Arreton, Brading, Bembridge, c. 113

CHAP. V. THE TOURS, . . .121

from Ryde, . 122

,, Cowes, . 124

,, ,, ,, Newport, . 126

Voyage round the Island, . , 128

The Passage and Conveyance. LISTS of Hotels,

Inns, principal Seats and Country Villas, &c.







been a very favorite designation of the ISLE OF
WIGHT, and we believe but few of its visitors
dispute its claim to this high distinction. For it is
scarcely possible for any spot in Europe to con-
centrate, within the same narrow bounds, more of
those qualities which at once charm the eye and
animate the soul. Its picturesque scenery, its ad-
mirable insular position, local conveniences, mild-
ness and salubrity of its climate, with the very
cheerful aspect of the country in general, altogether
constitute it a most desirable retreat for both the
permanent resident and casual visitor, whether they
wish for the restoration of health, or the pursuit of
pleasure, the gaiety of busy life, or the tranquil-
lity of rural seclusion.

The boldest features of scenery are exhibited
along the eastern and western quarters of the island,
from White-cliff Bay at Bembridge, to the magnifi-
cent range of precipices at Freshwater-gate and the


Needles-point : at both these places the character
is nearly the same grand and impressive. But
along the south-eastern coast> from Shanklin to
Blackgang Chine, the scenery is a happy combin-
ation of the beautiful and romantic, the sublime
and terrific. The greater part of this interesting
tract is called THE UNDERCLIFF, presenting
for several miles a succession of highly picturesque
objects, in some respects quite unique.

The interior of the island is distinguished more


for its agreeable interchange of hill and dale, wood
and cultivation, than for any very romantic or sub-
lime effects. But, considering the extent of the
island, its lofty intersecting downs (so remarkable
for their beauty and variety of outline) are certainly
quite as picturesque as the vast heaving swells of a
more mountainous region. Solemn magnificence
characterises the one, soft and cheerful diversity
the other.

"The almost perpetual succession of hills and
dales which cover the Isle of Wight," observes Mr.
STURCH, "creates such a variety of breaks and
openings, that the eye of the traveller is continually
entertained with new and surprising landscapes of
Nature's exquisite painting. It is here that the
love of novelty and variety, so natural to the mind
of man, is most highly gratified, and at an easy
expense; it is but changing one's position, for


which a quarter of an hour's walk is sufficient,
and the scene is cast into a new form ; it is varied
by so many new lines and new disclosures of land
and water, that it no longer appears to be the same


A. great and INCREASING source of attraction, es-
pecially to invalids, is the very favorable


Constantly enjoying refreshing sea-breezes, im-
proved by the dry and highly-cultivated face of the
country, the Amis found by experience to be ex-
tremely salubrious. In open, elevated situations,
it is clear, sharp, and bracing ; but in all those parts
which are screened by high downs and cliffs, it is
remarkably mild, yet pure and dry : so that inva-
lids and convalescents may easily avail themselves
of a change of air, more congenial to their consti-
tutions. It is a common remark, in proof of the
mild temperature of the climate, "that myrtles,
which love a soft marine exposure, are found to
grow here with astonishing luxuriance, and even
tender exotics thrive as if in their native beds."

Dr. JAMES CLARKE, in his excellent Treatise
on the Influence of Climate in the Cure of Chronic
disorders, confirms the popular opinion : he says...

"The island, from the variety which it presents
in point of elevation, soil, and aspect, and from


the configuration of its hills and shores, possesses
several peculiarities of climate and situation, which
render it a verv favorable and commodious resi-


dence throughout the year, for a large class of in-
valids. On this account the Isle of Wight claims
our particular attention, as it comprehends within
itself advantages which are of great value to the
delicate invalid, and to obtain which, in almost
any other part of England, he would require to
make a considerable journey."

And he further remarks, that "the Undercliff
bids fair to exceed all other winter residences in
this country, and the Isle of Wight will have added
to its title of the Garden of England, that of the

Niton, Cowes, Sandown, Shanklin, and Ryde,
are particularly recommended by Dr. Clarke for
summer residences.

Situation, Form, Extent, fyc.

The Isle of Wight is situated opposite the coast
of Hampshire, and separated by a beautiful channel
called the SOLENT SEA, of the average breadth of
about 4^miles: it is bounded on the south by the
British Channel, and is reckoned twenty leagues
distant from Cherbourg, the nearest part of the
French Coast.

The form of the Island is an irregular lozenge,
measuring 23 miles from east to west, and 13 miles


from north to south. Its circumference is about
sixty miles, and the superficial contents upwards
of 100,000 acres.

The island is almost encompassed by formidable
rocks and shelves, of which the most noted are the
Needles and Shingles, at the western point ; Rock-
en-end Race at the south, and Bernbridge Ledge
at the eastern extremity. No part of the British
coast is more dangerous to vessels ungoverned and
driving in a storm ; and scarcely a winter passes
without the melancholy catastrophe of shipwreck,
especially along the southern shore, off Blackgang
Chine, Atherfield, Brooke, or Compton.

In those places where the shore is low and accessible, as
at Yarmouth, Cowes, and Sandown, military fortifications
have been established since the time of Henry VIII : these,
from the proximity of the grand naval stations of Spithead and
St. Helen's, have been considered of no practical utility, and
like Carisbrooke castle, mere sinecures; the government
however would appear to entertain a different opinion, from
the fact of the year 1853 dating the erection of an extensive
fort at Carey's-sconce, the site of an ancient battery, west-
ward of Yarmouth. And it is a question whether the others
may not receive some very considerable alterations.

Geological and Agricultural Remarks.
"The island affords many rare and quite singular
geological phenomena ; and is, from its smallness
and the nature of its coasts, peculiarly adapted for
the investigation of its structure." The following
concise description of the strata, on the authority


ofW.D.SAULL, Esq., F.G.S., F.S.A. &c., will suffi-
ciently indicate to the geological reader, the prin-
cipal fields for his research.

DILUVIUM & ALLUVIUM. Spread on the top and the vallies
over all the lower parts of the Island : consisting of rol-
led pebhles, sands, loam and the vegetable soil.

UPPER FRESHWATER & LAND. Binstead, Quarr <fcc. Teeth
and bones of the Anoplotherium, Paleotherium <fcc ., Ca-
rapace of Turtle. Many Freshwater shells.

UPPER MARINE. Headon Hill, <kc. Sand and many small

LOWER FRESHWATER. Headon Hill, Cowes, and neigh-

LOWER MARINE, Sands &c. full of shells. Headon Hill, Tot-
land Bay, Cowes, <fcc.

LONDON CLAY. Well developed in Alum Bay, & northward.

PLASTIC CLAYS and Sands. Alum Bay (much variegated),
Whitecliff Bay, &c.

UPPER and MIDDLE CHALK, comprising the highest hills
throughout the island.

CHALK MARL and LOWER CHALK, the basement or bottom
of chalk in the island.

MALM ROCK, or UPPER GREENSAND. Undercliff, landslips.
GAULT. Seen in a few places along the Undercliff
LOWER GREENSAND. Sandown Bay; Shanklin; on the S.W.

coast ; the basis of Arreton down, and that part of the

island. The most abundant in Fossils.
THE WEALDON, the same as in Sussex. Near Sandown, but

more extensive on the other side of the island at Brook.

Containing the bones of the Iguanidon, &c., with large

masses of fossil wood.
HASTINGS SANDS, which appear to be the basis of the island

generally, for I have not been able to discover any trace

of the Oolitic beds.

" The most extraordinary circumstance in the geological
structure of the Isle of Wight, is a series of strata, vertical
or highly inclined, which runs across the middle of it from
east to west, the parts on either side being composed of
horizontal strata.


"This series, beginning at the north side, consists of the
very thick stratum of clay and sand observable at Alum Bay,
the flinty chalk, the chalk without flints, the chalk-marie,
the green sandstone with limestone and chert, the dark grey
marie, and the ferruginous sand. All these are very dis-
tinctly observable at the promontory of the Culver, at the
east end of the island ; and again at Alum Bay, the Needles,
and Compton Bay, at the west end ; the position of the strata
being nearly the same in all these places.

"This series of nearly vertical strata, though less evident
in the interior of the island, may easily be recognised by the
attentive observer in various parts. At Yaverland and Bra-
ding Downs the chalk and green sandstone may be advanta-
geously examined. At Arreton the former stratum only is
visible. At St. George's Down, Mountjoy, and Carisbrooke,
the highly inclined chalk is distinctly perceived, and the ver-
tical clay may also be noticed at one place. From this to
the Needles, a series of chalk-pits in the sides of the hills
exhibits in a satisfactory manner the same structure, accom-
panied with similar phenomena." Sir H. ENGLEFIELD.

The finest white sand in the kingdom is obtained
from the sea-cliffs of Alum Bav, and is carried in

*/ *

great quantities to the glass and porcelain manu-
factories of London, Bristol, and Worcester.

Good Stone of various qualities is also found in
most parts of the island, and with that produced
from the quarries of Binstead, the body of Win-
chester Cathedral was built. All the houses along
the Undercliff are constructed with a beautiful kind
of freestone procured on the spot.

A range of chalk hills stretches from east to west
the whole extent of the island, dividing it into two


nearly distinct regions, the soil and strata of which
are essentially different, a stiff clay predominating
on the north side, which is extensively covered with
wood : while the south side is principally of a light
sandy soil or mellow loam, and being exceedingly
fertile, the whole tract is almost exclusively employ-
ed in tillage. The island affords a great diversity
of soil, yet is upon the whole well calculated for
farming, which indeed may be inferred from its pro-
verbial fertility. Pasture and meadow land is gen-
erally very rich. Farms are mostly of moderate
size, managed by an intelligent class of men, who
as far as practicable, keep pace with the advance-
ments of agriculture.

The extensive downs of the island afford excellent
pasture for sheep, whose wool is of a staple not in-
ferior to that produced on the South Downs. Oxen
are reared in number nearly sufficient for the use of
the inhabitants: and a great quantity of lambs are
annually sent to the London markets.

The demands of the dock-yards both here and at
Portsmouth, have greatly thinned the timber of the
island, which is principally oak and elm, and found
to grow most luxuriantly in the wooded tract from

East Cowes to St. Helen's.

In the time of King Charles II, woods were so extensive
in the island, that it is recorded, a squirrel might have run
on the tops of the trees from Gurnard to Carisbrooke, and
in many other parts for leagues together.


Zoological Particulars.

FISH of every kind common to the southern coast
of England is caught off the island, but not in that
abundance which might be expected, except crabs
and lobsters, which are uncommonly large and fine.
Mackarel are some seasons extremely plentiful, small
but peculiarly sweet. Numbers of porpoises are
seen rolling along in the Solent Sea and Southamp-
ton Water; sharks are frequently observed off the
back of the island : and sometimes even the gram-
pus pursuing its prey. In 1814, a large whale was
taken on the Shingles, west of the Needle Rocks,
having been left aground by the ebbing tide ; and
another near the same spot in 1841, whose prodi-
gious and highly interesting skeleton, upwards of
eighty feet in length ! is now carefully preserved at

GAME is tolerably abundant, owing "to the care
of Sir E. Horsey, governor in 1582, who is report-
ed to have given a lamb for every living hare brought
to him from the neighbouring counties." It is very
remarkable there are no polecats nor badgers ; otters
are occasionally seen ; foxes were introduced only a
ew years since, for the pleasures of the chace, and
notwithstanding their numerous enemies, have so
increased as to give full employment to an excellent

subscription pack of hounds.



Astonishing numbers of sea-fowl resort during the
summer to the cliffs of Freshwater and Bembridge,
in the latter even the eagle has built its eyry.

Commerce and Population*

The only manufacture of consequence carried on
in the island is at the lace- factory near Newport,
which gives employment to several hundred persons.
Corn is the staple article of trade. A great quantity
of salt is made, part of which is exported. The im-
ports are deals, iron, coals &c. There are 39 corn-
mills (35 water), and several large breweries.

The constant intercourse which the inhabitants have with
persons from all parts of the kingdom, has entirely erased
any insular peculiarity which might have formerly existed.
But the following extract from the Memoirs of Sir John Og-
lander, which were written about the year 1TOO, exhibits a
most amusing picture of the simplicity of manners which
characterised the islanders of the 16th century. " I have
heard," says Sir John, "and partly knowe it to be true, that
not only heretofore there was no lawyer nor attorney in owre
island, but in Sir George Carey's time (1588) an attorney
coming in to settle in the island, was by his command, with
a pound of candles hanging lighted, with bells about his legs,
hunted owte of the island ; insomuch that owre ancestors
lived here so quietly and securely being neither troubled to
London nor Winchester, so when they went to London (think-
ing it an East India voyage), they always made their wills,
supposing no trouble like to travaile."

The river Medina, whose source is in the south,
is navigable from Newport to Cowes, and divides


the island into two hundreds of nearly equal extent,
respectively called the East and West Medene : the
first comprising 14, the latter 16 parishes.

The stationary population of the island is rapidly
increasing ; the number of inhabitants in the year

1802 being 22,602 1831 35,431

1811 25,338 1841 42,547

1821 31,611 1851 49,879

or considerably more than doubled in fifty years.

(Copulation of tfjc Esle of


rreton . .

Binstead . .
rading . .

Godshill . .
iton . .

. 384

. 68

. . 74


. 237



Inhab. Parishes Houses



St. Helen's . . 454



St. Lawrence . 25



Shanklin .... 78



"Whippingham 644



Whitwell ... 126



Wootton . . . . 11



Yaverland ... 14



rixton . . .141

rooke 32

Calbourne . . 158
'arisbrooke .1191

hale 124

reshwater . . 278
atcombe ... 43
ingston .... 10

lyde and Ventnor in Ncw-
:hurch. Cowes, Northwood


Mottistone .

. . 32




Newport with
St. Nicholas




Northwood .




Shalfleet .




Shorwell .

. 138



Thorley .

. 28





. 119



9598 49879

VECTA or VECTIS was the name given to the
island by the Romans ; but the modern appellation


is derived from WECT, WITH, or WICT, as it is
found variously written in Doomsday Book.

The island is imagined by many to hare once formed
part of the main land ; and to have been in the time of the
Romans, a peninsula joined by an isthmus passable at low
water, This supposed isthmus was from Gurnet (a mile west
of Cowes,) to a place on the opposite shore called Leap,
where the channel is not more than about three miles across.


Of the island presents nothing very remarkable
other than is to be found in the general annals of
the kingdom ; and the relation of its peculiar suf-
ferings by predatory descents and invasions, forms
only a broken and comparatively uninteresting nar-

It was first invaded by the Romans, A.D. 43 : but the con-
querors seem to have been under no apprehension of the in-
habitants, as not the least trace of their usual fortifications
has been discovered.

In the years 495 and 661, it was attacked by the Saxons,
who with their usual ferocity, murdered most of the natives,
or laid waste the country, till it was subjected by Ceadwalla,
who formed the sanguinary resolution of exterminating the
pagan inhabitants, unless they immediately consented to em-
brace Christianity !

In the ninth century the island was frequently surprised
by Danish pirates, either for the sake of plunder, or to make
it a place of retreat. On one occasion, however, as they were
sailing off with a large booty, they were overtaken by king Al-
fred, and only one of many vessels escaped his vengeance.




1066 1346.] For nearly three centuries it seems to have
enjoyed a state of tranquillity, till its repose was disturbed by
the French, who effected a landing at St. Helens, but were
soon repulsed. About this time a variety of excellent regu-
lations were made by the inhabitants for their better security :
the landholders were by their tenures bound to defend the
castle of Carisbrooke for 40 days at their own charges : the
county of Devon sent for its defence 76 men-at-arms, and the
city of London 300 slingers and bowmen.

Although invasions were frequently menaced, the place
continued unmolested till the year 1377, when it was again in-
vaded by the French ; there were then no forts to obstruct
their landing, and Carisbrooke Castle standing in the centre
f the island could only serve for a retreat. This want of do-
mestic security so discouraged the natives, that many families
withdrew, when an order was issued to the wardens to seize
he lands of all such as refused to return.

1403.] The preparations of the French having given
timely notice of their hostile intentions, the militia of the
island which then consisted of 900 men, was reinforced from
Southampton and London. On the landing of the enemy, the
people fled for refuge to Carisbrooke Castle, which was de-
fended by Sir Hugh Tyrrel, who slew a great number of the
assailants. During the siege, a party of the French fell into
an ambuscade and were cut to pieces : the place is still called
Deadman's lane, and a tumulus where the slain were buried,
was exultingly called Noddies' Hill, now covered by Node-
hill, the southern avenue to Newport. The French, unable
to subdue the castle, at length withdrew ; but before they re-
embarked, obliged the inhabitants to redeem their houses
from being burned, by a contribution of 1000 marks, and also
bound them by oath not to resist, should they revisit the is-
land within a year.

1420.] About this time the place was twice attacked by
the French ; on the first occasion they were soon repulsed,


and on the second, making a threatening demand of a sub-
sidy, were treated with derision by the islanders.

While the rest of the kingdom was alternately ravaged by
the partisans of the houses of York and Lancaster, the remote
situation of the island procured it an exemption from the ca-
lamities of civil war : nor was its tranquillity disturbed by the
French, till the year 1545, when above 2000 of them made a
descent : but being disappointed in their object of keeping
possession of the island, they proceeded to pillage and burn
the villages until they were attacked by the natives, who
soon drove them back to their ships with considerable loss.

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Online LibraryGeorge BrannonThe pleasure visitor's companion in making the tour of the Isle of Wight, pointing out the best plan for seeing in the shortest time every remarkable object → online text (page 1 of 8)