to Isle of Wight History Centretitle

A list of events and incidentals contributing to the Island's history

A few national historical events are included to help put things in context, although it's worth bearing in mind that many developments may have taken years to reach our somewhat remote outpost

1800c---Island items are displayed like this

1800c__National items are displayed like this
The year has a suffix : e= exact date
c= + or - a few years
x= + or - up to 25 years

This list is but a small proportion of the complete fund of Island knowledge. We invite you to submit your own items, the main criteria being that they are of general interest. Please Email with your entries and source references. Comments and corrections also welcome

The Isle of Wight Timeline of History . . .

0020x---Some Iron Age settlements acquiring Roman goods

0043e__Roman Conquest of Britain

0050c---Roman presence at Brading

0070x---Roman activity in Arreton Valley

0170x---Brading and Newport Roman villa sites in existence

0300x---Stone quarrying at Binstead sites

0400x---Half the Island's natural woodland now stripped (Roman furnaces etc)

0450x__Roman occupation over

0495e__Saxon Cerdic invades and establishes kingdom of Wessex

0530e---Saxons defeat natives in Bowcombe valley and conquer Island

0534e---Cerdic gives Island to relatives 'Stuf' and 'Whitgar'

0550x---Pagan Jutes arrive

0625x---Christian West Saxons annex Island

0664e__Synod of Whitby: England adopts the Roman Catholic faith

0686e---IW last part of England to be converted to Christianity

0700x__Water wheels driving mills in general use

0826e---King Egbert of Wessex gives West Wight to Winchester Church

0885e---First recorded settlement at Arreton - Eaderingtune

0889c__Vikings and Irish Danes raiding south west coast

0897e---King Alfred's forces battle with Viking ships off Brading Haven

0900c__England divided into shires, with county courts to safeguard civil rights

1001c---Danish raids on West Wight - leader 'Swein' for Swainston

1001e---Danes raid Newtown shore settlement

1013e---King Elthered 'The Unready' spends Christmas on the Island

1052e---Flanders fleet raids and plunders Island coast.

1066e__The Norman Conquest

1066e---William Fitz Osbern first Lord of the Island

1068c---Six churches granted to the Abbey of Lyre

1070c---St Boniface Old Church Bonchurch built by Normandy monks

1071e---William Fitz Osbern killed at battle of Cassel

1082e---William the Conqueror visits Carisbrooke Castle

1086e---Domesday Book records 24 watermills, 10 churches and 126 properties

1087c---Church of St Edmund, Wootton built

1090c---Abbey of Cluny established at St Helens

1091c---Quarr Limestone used in the building of Chichester Cathedral

1096e__Start of the First Crusade

1100c---Appuldurcombe Priory established by Abbey of Monteburg

1100e---Henry I gives Island to Richard de Redvers

1110x---Present walls of Carisbrooke Castle built

1115c__First recorded windmill

1115c---Priory of St Cross established on the banks of Lukely brook

1118e---Newport founded by Richard de Redvers

1120c---Nunwell acquired by the Oglander family

1132e---Quarr Abbey established (Cistercian)

1150c---Carisbrooke Castle well sunk

1156c---Carisbrooke Priory established by Abbey of Lyre

1166c---Yarmouth first Island town built on medieval grid system

1198c---Island's first fulling mill in existance at Heasley, Arreton

1203e---Rookley estate first recorded

1212c__Tiles replace thatched and wooden roofs of London houses

1214e---King John at Yarmouth organising the invasion of France

1215e__King John seals Magna Carta at Runnymede

1220c---Rabbits introduced

1238e---Charter granted to Newtown by Bishop of Winchester

1250c---Quarr Abbey establish salt water fish ponds on the Medina

1256e---Charter for new settlement at Swainston

1262e---Isobella de Fortibus is Lady of IW

1269e---Typically, 166 cheeses and 16 stone of butter from a manor's summer dairy

1272e---Barton oratory built by rectors of Godshill and Shalfleet

1272e---Earliest record of 'East Shamlord', now East Cowes district

1280e---Isobella de Fortibus claims all wrecks of the sea

1282c---Isobella de Fortibus and Quarr Abbey in armed dispute over tithes

1285e---Edward I staying at Swainstone, with a view to acquisition

1293e---Isobella de Fortibus dies and Crown acquires IW

1294c---Defences and infrastructure improved at Crown's behest

1296e---Carisbrooke Castle reverts from IW Lords 'seat' to military centre

1296e---100 crossbow men imported to help defend anticipated French invasion

1299e---Calbourne Mill first mentioned

1300c---'La Ride' (Ryde) fishing village recorded

1300x---Quarries at Binstead past best quality stone

1302c---Farm produce being shipped to Scotland to support war with Scots

1305e__Yard and acre standardised

1312c---St Catherine's Hill lighthouse built as part of oratory

1324e---System of 18 warning beacons established across the Island

1334e---Mottistone recorded as having sixty taxpayers

1335e---State of Emergency declared in face of imminent French invasion

1338e__Hundred Year's War under way: French burn Portsmouth

1338e---Some landowners leave Island in fear of French invasion

1339e---Build up of arms and men in readiness for French

1340e---French raid gains ground at St Helens before being repulsed

1346e---Edward III sets sail from St Helens to invade Normandy

1349e__Black Death widespread

1350x__Artillery cannon coming into general use

1350x---Hall House of Chale Abbey farm built by John de Langford

1352c---The Black Death diminishes population and leaves deserted villages

1362e__English becomes the country's official language

1375e---Crown threatens to take land from gentry fleeing French invasion

1377e---French plunder northern towns and lay siege to Carisbrooke Castle

1377e---Population 4,733

1378e---Roud recorded as having seventy two taxpayers

1379e__Poll Tax raised to fund wars with France

1379e---Newport still uninhabited following destruction by French

1381e__Peasants' Revolt under Wat Tyler

1381e---French incursion reaches Newport

1395e---Ninety clothmakers recorded: IW a major 'Kersey' centre

1402e---French land 1700 men and rout some villages

1404e---French raiding party claims locals fled to the hills

1413c---First mention of 'Cows' (sandbanks), origin of Cowes

1415e__Henry V defeats French at Battle of Agincourt

1418c---St Helens Priory (alien) lands given to Eton college

1418e---More French raids repulsed

1450c---Mottistone Manor rebuilding started by Robert Cheke

1454e---First White Horse Inn Whitwell built

1477c__Caxton's first English press prints Chaucer's 'Canterbury Tales'

1480x---Larger farms and field enclosures begin to deplete population

1488e---Battle of St Aubin takes the lives of 400-700 Islanders

1489e---Act to limit land holdings and thereby increase population

1489e---IW ". . desolate and not inhabited, but occupied with sheep and cattle . ."

1498e---Quarr Abbey lease Appuldurcombe to Sir John Lygh

1499e---Henry VII tours the Island staying at Nunwell and Brook House

1500e---Only island towns are Yarmouth, Newport and Newtown

1500x---Many vacant cottages and manor houses fall into decay

1500x---Decline of Newtown as harbour (silting/increasing ship size)

1528e__Severe outbreaks of the plague

1528e---Accusations of witchcraft against two Newport residents

1531e__Reformation: Henry VIII recognised as Head of Church of England

1535c---Henry VIII instructs major fortification of Island coastline

1536e---Quarr Abbey dissolved

1537c---Defensive blockhouse forts built on Medina (one now RY squadron)

1538e---Henry VIII entertained by Richard Worsley at Appuldurcombe

1544e---John Cheke of Mottistone appointed tutor to Prince Edward

1545e---Mary Rose founders

1545e---French landings at Sandown, St Helens and Bonchurch

1545e---Yarmouth Castle built

1546c---IW Captain Worsley orders every parish to have a gun

1548e---IW boasts "no hooded priests; no lawyers; no wolves and no foxes"

1550x__Linen industry becoming established

1550x---Brewing and leather production main town industries

1558e__Queen Elizabeth I

1559e---Typical vacant dwellings: 25% at Arreton and 19% at St Helens

1559e---Recorded complaints about the enclosure of common fields

1559e---Survey highlights decay of many island churches

1559e---Yarmouth only having "dosen hosis" and "in grete decay"

1559e---Population recorded as 8,767 of which 1,880 were 'able men'

1560c---Field system established which prevails on present day farms

1561e---Patent raised to extract Alum

1565e---Proclamation reprimands local support and succour to piracy

1567e---Mottistone Manor west wing completed by Thomas Cheke

1570c---Worsley and Urry in dispute over maintenance of Gatcombe's mill stream

1575e---Customs House established at East Cowes

1575x---Piracy rampant: centred around Mead Hole (Osborne Bay)

1577e---End of an 18 year dispute over sheep grazing rights on St Catherine's Hill

1580c---Nettlestone Manor built (earliest known IW brick building)

1584c---Extra graveyard created for Newport plague victims (Church Litten green)

1584e---"The majority of pirates in this country are between IW and Poole"

1585c---Newport Harbour beginning major development

1586c---Two shipwrecked catholic priests executed for their faith

1588e__Drake battles with the Spanish Armada

1588e---A suggestion of Island shipbuilding

1590x__Glass windows appearing in domestic houses

1602e---Major refortification of Carisbrooke Castle in face of Spanish threat

1603c---Crown sales of Manors increases 'gentry' population

1607c---Quarr Abbey now in ruins

1607e---"The commodities of this place are but corne and wooll"

1607e---James I hunting in Parkhurst Forest

1609e---Sir Thomas Fleming acquires most of the ex Quarr Abbey estates

1611e---John Speed's map of IW published: Newport has 476 buildings

1613e---Newport regulates chimney height to limit fires

1620c---Post travelling by 'foot' between IW and London

1620c---Earliest record of Cowes shipbuilding

1620e__Pilgrim Fathers leave Plymouth for America

1620e---10 year old Brading Haven dam is irretrievably breached

1624c---Island traders supply developing Virginia

1627e---Charles I inspects military training exercises on Arreton Down

1632e---Crown re-purchase Watchingwell Park to preserve timber

1633e---Ships leave Cowes to colonise Maryland America

1635e__The Post Office founded

1641e---Newport population 3,000

1642e__Civil War begins

1642e---Island falls to Parliamentarians with only one shot fired

1643e---Origins of Mew Langtons brewery

1643e---Sir John Oglander arrested as a Royalist

1647e---Charles I flees to Carisbrooke and is ultimately imprisoned

1648e---Failed attempt to free Charles I

1649e__Free enterprise receives state support

1649e__Charles I executed

1650e---Watchingwell Park still contains "nine score deer"

1650e---Charles I's daughter, Elizabeth, dies at Carisbrooke Castle aged 14

1650x__Flintlock gun developed

1655e---Sir John Oglander dies

1661e__Monarchy restored: Charles II

1664e---Castle Inn Newport built

1665e---Charles II visits to confer knighthood on Edward Worsley

1666e__Great Fire of London

1673e---Earliest record of an Island postmaster

1675e---Charles II forced ashore at Puckaster Cove in rough seas

1680e---Newport's first municipal library opened

1695c__Press freedom established

1696e---Island 'flint' glassworks recorded - whereabouts unknown

1697e---Calbourne Mill purchased by John Dillington of Knighton

1699e---Present Newtown town hall built

1700c---Cowes shipbuilding yards established

1700c---Bembridge windmill in operation

1703e---Violent storms demolish trees and houses

1710e---Appuldurcombe House built by Robert Worsley

1711c---Paper mill operating at Clatterford ford

1712e__Last execution for witchcraft

1720e---Earliest known IW postmark

1735e---Ashey Down seamark built

1750e---Swainston Manor largely rebuilt

1750x---Yafford mill built

1751e---Gatcombe Manor House built by Edward Worsley

1752e__Gregorian calendar introduced: year now starts on Jan 1st

1754c__First iron rolling mill

1755e---'Roads' still field tracks ( 52 gates between Newport and Yarmouth)

1756e---Niton recorded eleven houses including the poor house

1757c---New quay built at Cowes

1759c---Oyster fishery flourishing in Bembridge harbour

1760c---Josiah Wedgwood experimenting with materials from Alum Bay

1761e---Charitable school for poor girls (Blue Jenny) opens at Newport

1765e---Existing frontage of Nunwell House built

1768e---Capability Brown starts landscaping Appuldurcombe House

1770c---IW farmers berated for their "ignorance idleness and insularity"

1770e---Appuldurcombe House adapted to existing palladian style

1770e---Pritchett brickworks established to build Parkhurst Barracks

1771e__Arkwright produces first spinning mill

1771e---Population 18,700

1774e---Incorporation for the Poor established in the 'House of Industry'

1777e---Customs' William Arnold starts 23 year campaign against smuggling

1778c---Serious smallpox develops: beginning years of outbreaks

1780e---Upper and lower Ryde hamlets joined by Union St

1781e__The first commercial rotative steam engine to drive machinery

1781e---Richard Worsley publishes his 'History of the Isle of Wight'

1781e---John Wesley opens one of first IW Methodist chapels at Newport

1785x---Alum Bay white sand a major source for English and Irish glass Industries

1786e---Newport paving act passed: raised pavements

1786e---First Needles lighthouse built, on upper cliffs

1789c__French Revolution puts the wind up the English ruling classes

1790c---Island breed of pig developed

1790c---Wool exports require 40,000 sheep shorn per year

1790c---Sandown: "a village by the sandy shore"

1792c__Gas illumination introduced

1792e---IW "granary of the western counties" and main supplier to the navy

1793e---First ordnance survey (unpublished)

1793e---Yarmouth tide mill built

1794e---Farming: "the Island's fertility is almost proverbial"

1795c---Hundreds of farm labour imported for harvesting

1795e---IW cheese "can scarcely be cut by hatchet or saw"

1795e---Potatoes planted only by "little farmers and labourers"

1797c---Customs now have many fast cutters to combat smuggling

1797e__First copper pennies and pound notes issued

1798c---John Nash starts to build East Cowes Castle

1798e---New Parkhurst barracks open and introduce major military presence

1799e---Norris Castle built by James Wyatt

1800c---Humphrey Repton designs St Johns garden at Ryde

1800c---Rising corn prices cause rebellious stirrings amongst the poor

1801c---Seaview harbour becomes major sea saltworks centre

1801e---Population 23,687

1803e__Start of the Napoleonic Wars

1804e---John Nash rebuilds Whippingham Church

1805c---Ryde attracting "genteel company . . crammed into accommodation"

1806e__Cotton industry employing 184,000 handloom weavers

1807c---Supplies for Napoleonic wars climax farming prosperity

1809e---Prison ships established at Medina entrance

1810c---Shanklin chine drawing visitors and promoting cottage lets

1810c---Arson against landowners by poor encouraged by public posters

1810c---South Islanders still sparse and regarded as remote from Island capital

1811c__Anti-industrial 'Luddite' protests

1812e__First successful steamship launched

1813e__Highways Act to improve road conditions

1813e---Ryde Town Hall rebuilt by John Nash

1814e---First record of 'White' shipbuilding family on IW (subsequently J S Whites)

1814e---Ryde pier opens

1814e---Ryde-Newport road surfaced with Quarr pit chippings

1815c__John Macadam constructs first road of crushed stone

1815c---Church funded schools open at Newport, Cowes and E.Cowes

1815e__Corn Law passed: price levels artificially maintained

1815e__Battle of Waterloo heralds the end of Napoleonic Wars

1817c---Keats on Bowcombe Down with "A thing of beauty is a joy forever . . ."

1817e---Abortive attempt at steamship service between Ryde and Portsmouth

1819c---Solent sail crossing: "formidable conveyances to bad sailors and invalids"

1820c---'House of Industry' occupants now have single unshared beds

1820e---Public gas supply introduced

1820e---First steamship for regular Solent crossings: Cowes-Southampton

1821c---Ryde population has risen to 3000 from 600 in 25 yrs

1821e---Knighton Gorges dismantled by its dying owner

1821e---Ventnor: a mill and seven cottages

1821e---George Brannon publishes his first edition of 'Vectis Scenery'

1823e---First medical dispensary opens (Newport): doctor in regular attendance

1825c__Expansion of the Trade Union movement

1825e---Hospital facilities established in Newport by the Guardians of the Poor

1827e---Turner paints while a guest at East Cowes Castle

1829e---Ryde recognised as town under lighting and paving act

1830c---Alum Bay coloured sands are a tourist attraction

1830e__First passenger rail service opens

1830e---Limited action in conjunction with mainland 'labourers revolt'

1830e---All Solent crossings now have steamships

1831c__Electromagnetic Induction Engine invented

1831c---Broadlands lace factory employing nearly 800 people on 80 machines

1831e---A 12 year old future Queen Victoria holidays at Norris Castle

1832e__Reform Bill widens election suffrage and changes political influence

1832e---Population "nearly all more or less concerned with smuggling"

1832e---Island MPs reduced from six to two

1833e__Abolition of slavery throughout the Empire

1833e---Royal Yacht Squadron founded at Cowes

1834e---The first of several years of drought hits farming

1835e---John Nash dies

1836e---Farms sending 8,000 lambs to London per season

1836e---IW Trustees Savings Bank opened (first banking for poor)

1836e---" 80% of the population consume contraband spirits tobacco and tea"

1836e---IW 'Guardians of the Poor' become subservient to new Poor Law

1836e---'Clarendon' shipwrecked at Chale: timber used to enlarge pub

1837e---Economic grievances cause riots at Tory election victory

1838e__Queen Victoria's coronation

1838e---Existing St Catherine's lighthouse built

1838e---Parkhurst barracks adapted to take juvenile prisoners

1838e---Improved postal services to (remote) southern districts

1838e---Northwood House, Cowes, built

1839c---Ventnor beginning to develop housing as winter haven for invalids

1840c---Medina Cement company established

1840c---Many poor taking advantage of assisted emigration to Canada

1840e__Uniform Penny Postage applied throughout the country

1840e---First Roman Villa discovered, at Rock, Brighstone

1842c---First juvenile prisoners shipped from Parkhurst to New World

1845c---Plans for East Cowes Park raised

1845e---Foxes first imported for hunting

1845e---Blackgang Chine first opened to the public

1845e---Landowners forestall attempts to establish Island railway

1845e---Queen Victoria acquires Osborne Estate

1845e---IW Observer newspaper launched

1848c__Pedal cycle invented

1849e---Dickens writing 'David Copperfield' at Winterbourne

1849e---First purpose built hospital opens: Royal IoW Infirmary Ryde

1850e---East Cowes has one well serving 150 families

1850e---Cowes has 1000 people living in courts and alleys

1851e---Cowes first America Cup yacht race (world oldest trophy)

1851e---Osborne House completed

1851e---Population 45,640

1852e---Medina Cement build Britain's first(?) concrete house at East Cowes

1853e---Alfred Tennyson moves into Farringford

1854e---St Thomas's 12th century Church Newport rebuilt

1855e---IW Mercury newspaper launched

1856e---Ryde Esplanade built

1856e---Fort Redoubt built on Freshwater cliffs

1859e__Darwin publishes 'Origin of Species'

1859e---Present Needles lighthouse built

1860c---Island's first two lifeboats acquired, for Brook and Brighstone

1860c---IW one of the last outposts of the coaching age

1860c---Steam ploughs reach a few farms

1860e---Prince Albert oversees rebuilding of Whippingham Church

1861e__Prince Albert dies

1861e---National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest opened at Ventnor

1862e---First railway line opened: between Cowes and Newport

1862e---IW Times newspaper launched

1863e__Last public execution

1863e---Needles battery built

1863e---Brook Church burns down

1863e---Bridge over the Yar ends the isolation of West Wight

1864e---Railway opened between Ryde St Johns and Shanklin

1865c---Excessive intrusion drives Tennyson to mainland for summer seasons

1865c---New land drainage techniques improve farming capabilities

1865c---Ventnor population at 5000 (from 350 in thirty years)

1865e---Bembridge fort built

1866e---Railway extension to Ventnor opened

1867e---Golden Hill Fort built

1868e---Broadlands lace factory closes

1868e---Charles Darwin sits for photographer Julia Margaret Cameron at Dimbola Lodge

1869e---Parkhurst becomes general prison for male offenders

1872e---Ventnor pier built

1875c---American grain imports lower prices and bankrupt many farms

1875c---Typically, parish doctor walks from Newport to treat Porchfield patients

1876e---Yarmouth pier built

1877e__Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates his telephone invention

1878e---Sandown pier built

1879e---Railway between Sandown and Newport crosses the Medina

1880c__Electric light bulb invented

1880c---Smallpox vaccination stations now established throughout IW

1880e---Ryde canoe lake built

1880e---Railway takes trains to Ryde Pier Head

1881e---Seaview pier built

1882e---Railway linking Bembridge and Brading over completed embankment

1884e---IW County Press published - first Island wide newspaper

1884e---'White' family shipbuilding unifies into one company under J Samuel White

1885c__Coated photographic paper becomes available

1885e---Fort Victoria modified for early torpedo experiments

1885e---Knighton watermill converted to waterworks by Ryde Water Co.

1885e---Island reduced to one MP as Newport ceases to be a borough

1886e---Solent tunnel proposal with local authorities

1889e---Newport to Freshwater railway opens

1889e---Tennyson writes 'Crossing the Bar' between Lymington and Yarmouth

1889e---All fifty toll gates removed from Island roads

1889e---Dolphins captured in Alum Bay

1890e---Isle of Wight County Council established

1891e---Shanklin pier built

1892e---First Shanklin cliff-face lift built

1895e__The first British car manufacturer established

1895e---John Milne, 'Father of Seismology', with home and observatory at Shide

1897e---Marconi establishes wireless telegraph station at Alum Bay

1897e---Island telephone system infrastructure established

1897e---Railway to St Lawrence opened

1898c---New World meat and bacon imports worsen farm profitability

1898e---First electric power cables laid (Ventnor?)

1898e---J Samuel White established as a Private Limited Company

1899e__Boer War starts

1900e---John Milne builds earthquake laboratory at Shide

1900e---Just twenty cars on Island roads

1901e__Queen Victoria dies

1901e---Edward VII gives Osborne House to the Nation

1901e---Cowes week: "a fixture in the calendar of society"

1903e---Osborne House Naval College opens

1904e---The Seely Library opens in Newport

1909c__Commercial manufacture of Bakelite launches the age of plastic

1911e__Lloyd George introduces National Health Insurance Bill

1912e---Quarr Abbey built by architect Paul Bellot

1912e---Princess Beatrice moves from Osborne House to Carisbrooke Castle

1912e---Saunders Roe launch worlds first amphibious aircraft

1912e---Camp Hill prison opens as an experiment to treat habitual prisoners

1913c---High unemployment prompts many Islanders to leave for the colonies

1914e__World War 1

1917e---Isle of Wight Rifles lose 182 men at the 2nd Battle of Gaza

1919e__British Empire at its height

1920e__Marconi opens first public broadcasting station

1920e---First council houses built

1921e---First regular bus service: Cowes-Newport

1921e---Population 94,000

1923e---Southern Railway take over Island rail companies

1926e__The General Strike

1928e---Enormous landslide at Blackgang

1929c---Farming industry dominated by dairy products

1931e---Camp Hill becomes a Borstal Institution

1932e---Ryde Airport opens with services to Portsmouth, Shoreham and Shanklin

1936e---Saunders Roe open new purpose built flying boat works

1938e---One of the first Radar Stations built on St Boniface Down

1939e__World War 2