thing of beauty is a joy for ever' is how
Keates described Newport when he sat down and wrote the first line of
Endymion and it is not how the town is today!
It is now
the business capital, and classed by many people as The Capital of the Isle
of Wight. There are still a lot of attractive things to see including a few
rather pathetic links with history, which covers the period from old Rome to
the reign of Charles I, for he was held here and is tiny daughter is buried.
that date back to the Iron Age, in the form of a bronze urn in which were
ashes have been examined and dated at over 2,500 years old. and a skull of
the earliest type of wild ox which has been extinct in England for thousands
of years was discovered on the beach.
is the handsome old grammar school, 17th century houses and the small
harbour on the banks of the River Medina. There is also a thousand acres of
forest lying about a mile away. The town itself is situated on a slope of
hills that has the river on one side and a stream on the other.
during Tudor times that the reigning monarch, Elizabeth I, gave her three
most trusted servants: Dr Edes her chaplain, Dr James her physician, and
Thomas Fleming her Lord Chief Justice. And it was said that she described
them as one for her soul, one for her body and the other for her goods.
century Guildhall has a statue of Judge Fleming sitting in a chair, which
has a carving that shows the trial of Guy Fawkes, the trial at which Fleming
Guildhall was built by John Nash and on two sides there are balconies and a
clock tower in one corner. Inside can be found some fine portraits two
rather elaborate silver maces and some pictures of the sea, but its oddest
treasure is probably the long pair of poles that have a glove at the end of
each of them! The gloves were mad in 1821 and used to be hung out from a
balcony to tell revellers at fair times that they may dance in the streets!
panelled room in which Charles I received the Parliamentary Commissioners
has long gone with the old town hall which the Guildhall replaced, it was
here in this room that the king held his court, Bishop Juxon was his retinue
and Brian Duppa the bishop at whose deathbed King Charles II knelt to beg
for his blessing.
once lodged at the old grammar school and the school room was used as a
presence chamber when the king negotiated with his 15 commissioners, and
this ended in the vain Treaty of Newport.
from the grammar school that the king was arrested and transported across to
Hurst Castle. He demanded that they produced their orders for his arrest but
this was refused, and records show that his servants were filled with alarm
as to what might become of him. His most faithful servant was Thomas Herbert
who wrote that "Never at one time was beheld more grief in men's faces or
greater fears in their hearts than when the king was in such a manner
hurried away they knew not wither".
daughter of the king lies in front of the alter of the church and a brass
marks the spot. The old church has long disappeared but the coffin was
lifted from the old chancel after workmen found it while excavating another
grave. The foundation stone of the new church was laid by Prince Albert and
Queen Victoria set up the monument, which was made from Carrara marble by
Baron Marochetti, to commemorate the princess. She now lies beneath a canopy
of broken prison bars that symbolise that she is now free from captivity at
long last and on the monument is a token of respect for her virtues and
sympathy for her misfortunes.
the church is a monument to a plague victim who died in 1582, he was Sir
Edward Horsey and he is encased in armour and the actual sword that he
carried is at his side, while his helmet hangs above him.
pulpit has been described as one of the most beautiful examples of
craftsmanship on the island as it octagonal in shape and is covered with
carvings, Justice Mercy and angles with trumpets. A dove is below and the
book rest is set on brackets. There are seven panels with Faith, Hope and
Charity, Justice, Prudence, Temperance and Fortitude in the top while below
are figures of the sciences.
boxes are also preserved from the old church and these are from the 17th
century, the reading desk has been made from wood from the old chancel
screen and the bells are from the old tower. The old font is still here but
a new one stands nearby.
can boast of some interesting people who have walked here, Prince Albert who
as mentioned above laid the foundation stone of the church, Wellington,
Canning and Palmerston all sat for Newport in Parliament, One of the Simeons
was a close acquaintance of Tennyson and has a monument to him on Carisbroke
Seely founded the library, he being the first baronet of the family. Keats
also lived here while trying to rid himself of the disease which in the end
killed him. John Hamilton Reynolds, who was a man that knew Keats well and
was a bit of a poet himself lies in the churchyard. The 'earthquake man'
John Milne lived and died here while working at Shide and was buried at
Barton. The write of the hymn "There's a friend for little children", Albert
Midlane also lived here, and in the old churchyard can be found a rather
pathetic little monument that must have interested him for it is to the
memory of Valentine Grey who was a small chimney sweep and died in 1822. The
rather brutal master whose cruelty and neglect was the cause of his death
and was sent to prison for a year. On a memorial raised by a penny fund can
'To the memory of Valentine Grey, the
little sweep. In testimony to the general feeling for suffering innocence
this monument is erected by public subscription'.
the most interesting of all the old houses in the town are Chantry House,
built in 1612; Hazard's House, built in 1684; and God's Providence House,
that has a fine doorway and stairway, and also an inscription saying "God's
Providence is my Inheritance."
Thomas's Square stands The War Memorial which is a handsome stone cross
carved with 341 names on bronze panels, while in the marketplace there is a
memorial to Queen Victoria, showing three figures, Sympathy, Charity, and
Fortitude supporting a crown.
Newtown. The oldest town of the island, it is called New because it was made
new after it was burned to the ground 600 years ago by the French. It stands
on one of the five creeks of the Newtown river that run into the low lying
land between Cowes and Yarmouth and when it was in its heyday could hold
anchorage for 50 ships each of 500 tons. Where the green is now was once the
site for a busy market. Newtown was also the best shelter for ships during
the 18th century as it was double the size of Newport.
It is on
one of the five creeks of the Newtown river which, like the fingers of a
hand, run far into the low-lying land between Cowes and Yarmouth. In the
days of its prosperity it had anchorage for 50 ships of 500 tons and had a
busy market where the green is now. It was the island's best haven for
shipping in the 18th century, when it was twice the size of Newport.
the tides have deserted it and the residents have moved to other places, it
was once classed as a 'rotten borough' and was famous in the days of
notoriety and corruption but it sent two members to Parliament, one of them
being the first Duke of Mariborough and Canning the Prime Minister.
Just after the Restoration of the Stuarts the old town hall was built but
was neglected for many years and became a ruin, but a mysterious band of
benefactors saved it and it was placed under the care of the National Trust.
This was the Ferguson Gang, a rather odd band of good people who comprised
of a group of both men and women who set about doing good work, One member
wore a mask and gave the name of Kate O'Brien and crept into the National
Trust office one day in 1934 and without being seen placed the sum of £500
on the desk of the secretary to help save the town hall, the document she
handed in had been sealed with blood and was full of misspellings! The town
hall is a rather pretty little building that has an oak door and a portico
atop fluted pillars. The mace and silver seal are one of the most beautiful
of its kind are in the care of the Lord of the Manor.
century church is built as an imitation of the 13th century and the sign of
the ship on the house that was originally the Old Inn is a reproduction of
the seal of the town over 600 years ago.
Text courtesy of:
Southern Life (UK)