THE VECTIS SCENERY, PART II.
CONTAINING THE MOST INTERESTING
VIEWS OF THE INTERIOR
ISLE OF WIGHT.
"The Country calls us forth; blythe Summer's hand
Sheds sweetest flowers, and morning's brightest smile
Illumines earth and air.
By winding pathways through the waving corn
We reach the airy point that prospect yields;
Not vast and awful, but confined and fair ;
Not the black mountain and the foamy main,
But pleasant interchange of soft ascents,
And level plain, and growth of shady woods,
And twining course of rivers clear, and sight
Of rural towns, and rural cots, whose roofs
Rise scatt'ring round, and animate the whole."
This celebrated and venerable monument of antiquity stands on a steep hill of nearly a circular form, about a mile west of Newport: and “ presents a scene of magnificence in ruins (says Mr. Gilpin,} which is as well worth seeing as any object in the island.” The principal entrance to it is through an ivy-vested stone gateway between the two western bastions, which, by an inscription over the arch (1598: E.R. 40), appears to have been erected in the reign of Queen Elizabeth : this leads to another, of higher date and greater dimensions, guarded by two noble round towers, which yet..,
“A warlike mien, a sullen grandeur wear:”
and opens to the base court, or inner fortification; the old gate with its wicket of strong lattice-work still remaining, the oak of which is become almost as hard as the iron itself. This view of the castle possesses an uncommon degree of picturesque beauty, the most luxuriant ivy is seen everywhere mantling its grey walls and mouldering battlements, interspersed with the waving branches of wild vegetation; and the surrounding terraces adorned with the opposing tints of pines and every variety of deciduous trees..
At the N.E. angle, on a mount raised
considerably above the other buildings, stands THE KEEP, a multangular tower, to
which the ascent is by a flight of 72 steps, of nine inches each : this is
thought to be the original fortress, constructed most probably by the Saxons,
as it was described to be in the sixth century a place of strength and importance,
provided with a Well 300 feet deep, but which has since been filled up as
dangerous and useless. The old castle covered less than two acres of ground
; but it received from time to time various additions, particularly in the
The curiosity chiefly shown within the walls of the castle is a Well 200 feet deep, which produces in the driest season water of the purest quality. To give an idea of the depth, the custom was formerly to drop into it a pin, which was nearly four seconds in falling, and on reaching the water produced a very loud report; but the depth is now shown by dropping in a lighted sheet of paper, or by lowering a burning candle in a lantern. The water is drawn up by means of an ass treading inside of a large windlass-wheel, which produces the necessary rotatory motion; and the longevity of these patient laborers is rather remarkable, for one which died in 1771 had performed the duty 45 years, and the next 26, dying at the age of 32.
To describe in detail the several rooms, &c. usually shown to strangers, would be perfectly uninteresting to the reader, though doubtless every spot and fragment must be viewed by the visitor with lively feelings, from the association of ideas created by the contemplation of such a scene of fallen grandeur. We must not however omit to recommend a circumambulation on the terrace, previously to taking our leave : the walk is in -some parts sequestered and most pleasingly solemn; in other points presenting very charming views: and altogether calculated to raise our admiration, and give a more perfect idea of this interesting specimen of "the pride of other days."
Time, by his gradual touch,
Has moulder'd into beauty many a tower,
Which, when it frowned with all its battlements,
Was only terrible !——MASON.
The Castle has been rendered conspicuous
in English history by the confinement of king Charles I, who taking refuge
here at the time of his division with the parliament, was unexpectedly detained
a prisoner from November 1647 to September in the following year. On the king's
death it was converted into a prison for his children: here the unfortunate
The apartments are large and well-proportioned, as formerly Carisbrooke Castle was the regular seat of the insular government: Lord Bolton was the last governor who resided here (in 1805), he spent a considerable part of his time at the castle, and took a very laudable interest in its preservation; but since then the place has been sadly neg- lected, and consequently dilapidations too much suffered to extend.
Is even now populous,
though much less so than formerly, when it enjoyed all the consequence of
a city, protected by the only fortress in the island to which the inhabitants
could fly for refuge in the moment of invasion. It ascends a hill opposite
to that on which stand the venerable ruins of the castle : in the intervening
valley a beautiful stream winds its course towards
WATERGATE: a very pleasant rural scene about a mile eastward of Carisbrooke, and as far south of Newport: decidedly the most picturesque and inviting spot in their neighbourhood: for it is both sylvan and pastoral,—presenting a lovely interchange of hill and dale, checquered by fertile corn-fields, meadows, groves, and shrubberies; cottages, farm-houses, and a gentleman's seat. The latter, called NEW CLOSE, and a finely wooded hill in its rear, are very conspicuously seen from many parts of the high-roads.
In respect of stationary population and
municipal privileges, is the chief town in the island; enjoys a most convenient,
central situation, in a dry valley closely surrounded by cultivated hills
of considerable elevation: is well-watered by copious streams from the east
and south: and has the advantage of a fine navigable river called the
The most attractive buildings in
The ISLE OF WIGHT INSTITUTION is the designation of the permanent Library, which was built by subscription in the year 1811, at an expense of £.3000. It is supported by nearly all the gentry of the island; and contains a room for newspapers and periodical publications, a library, a room fitted-up as a museum for local curiosities, and a billiard- room in the upper story. Temporary residents in the island may become subscribers for six months by a single payment of 25s ——There are also a Mechanics' Institution and several public circulating-libraries and private reading-societies.
The FREE GRAMMAR-SCHOOL is a large antique stone building, which has lately undergone a complete reparation: it stands in the street leading to the Cowes road; and is chiefly remarkable as having had the honor of being chosen for the conference between king Charles I and the commissioners appointed by parliament, at the time that unfortunate monarch was a prisoner in Carisbrooke Castle.
The parish-church is a large plain structure
of great antiquity, but has nothing in its style of architecture to deserve
particular notice; there is a good
A market for cattle is held every Wednesday fortnight; and on each Saturday a general market for agricultural produce—butter, poultry, pigs, &c., which in fine weather is crowded by all ranks of people from every part of the island. The annual fair is on Whit-Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; but the principal season of rustic gaiety is at Michaelmas, during what are familiarly termed the three BARGAIN-FAIR SATURDAYS, when the country servant-maids assemble at one particular part of the town, and the men at another, as candidates for new situations.
A Lace-factory on a very extensive scale is established just without the town, on the east side, going to Ryde : in the town is also an establishment which gives employment to a great number of females in the lace-embroidering process.
At the distance of a mile on the
THE NIGHTINGALE.—It may not be uninteresting
to those of our readers who have seldom or never heard the unrivaled notes
of these much-prized birds of passage, to be informed, that the vicinity of
ON THE ROADS FROM
FAIRLEE is a principal seat, one mile from Newport, on the East Cowes road; it is a large and very respectable-looking house, but being built with glazed bricks of a dark grey color, makes no figure whatever in a distant view: stands at the head of a beautiful lawn which gently slopes to the margin of the Medina river, and is delightfully surrounded by close and open groves of various timber.
We next pass a small but genteel residence called FAIRLEE COTTAGE, standing close to the road-side.
PADMORE HOUSE, shrouded in
a grove of noble trees, enjoys an elevated site about two miles from
——"From whose fair brow,
The bursting prospect spreads immense around."
In surveying this magnificent Panoramic
View, the tourist will find his Map of infinitely more service than any verbal
description. The river
As we proceed, the country appears very agreeably checquered with wood and cultivation. On ascending the next hill called WOOTTON COMMON (long since en- closed,) we pass several comfortable cottages forming an improving hamlet; and to the person who holds this work in his hands at the time, none perhaps will be more interesting than that in which it was executed in all its departments.——Winding on the border of a wood, we next pass..,.
FERNHILL, one of the first-rate seats
of the island, situated close to the road. This spacious house is adorned
with a lofty prospect-tower (which is seen peering above the trees as we pass
by); and the style of building so light and picturesque as to resemble a modern-Gothic
church in its general outline. It
stands at the head of a steep-sloping lawn, which is interspersed with some
beautiful trees; on the north screened by a long and close grove of various
timber, and on the east terminated by Fishbourne Creek (or
WOOTTON-BRIDGE is a small village exactly
☞ The admirers of pleasing scenery will feel gratified in traversing the new road which the proprietor of the estate has formed on the north-western bank of the river, for facilitating building speculation: it affords a very delightful drive, and presents from many points a marine and inland prospect as rich as any this side of the island.
The greater part of the road between Wootton and Ryde is cut through a succession of oak woods, which afford, in connexion with a view of the sea and the fading heights of Hampshire, several very interesting scenes.
"And now, betwixt the grove's extended arms,
An Abbey's rude remains attract thy view."
In a delightful valley between the road
and the sea is the site of QUARR ABBEY, but the few remains of this once magnificent
establishment having been long since converted into barns and other farm-buildings,
were so disfigured and rubbish-buried as to afford but little pleasure even
to the inquisitive antiquarian: they are now however in some measure restored
to light by a partial clearance and reparation; so that most of the ruin that
escaped the long period of spoliation and neglect, may be easily inspected.
It was among the first monasteries of the Cistercian order in
The other CONVENTUAL EDIFICES in the island
were—an Oratory at Barton, near East
ROAD FROM THE WESTERN PART OF THE
On leaving Yarmouth, the road soon divides—the branch through Shalfleet has been already traversed; and now pursuing the right-hand direction, we first pass through the parish of THORLEY (whose Church might be mistaken for some old barn), and then a monotonous succession of cultivated fields, till we arrive at CALBOURNE (half-way to Newport, either from Yarmouth or Freshwater), a pleasant village, having a respectable little inn, and deriving a consequence from its proximity to a first-rate seat called....
WESTOVER, situated on the south side of the road. The entrance is by a neat little lodge, and across a contiguous stone bridge thrown over a small stream : whence a fine lawn, interspersed with majestic elms, gradually swells to a considerable eminence on which the house stands, backed by a solemn grove of magnificent timber. The mansion is large and well-designed: it has two regular fronts, east and south—the latter is particularly pleasing, being embellished with a handsome stone colonnade and tasty verandahs intertwined with flowering plants. The southern prospect is tame and confined : but to the north-east it commands a very beautiful and extensive range of inland scenery.
At the distance of a mile and a half
from Calbourne, on the road to
The remainder of our road continues on the side of a steep down, affording some pleasing views of the north side of the island and the opposite coast; but the prospect which opens just as we descend into Carisbrooke is particularly grand: the village forms an admirable foreground, and the venerable ruins of the Castle are seen to the greatest advantage; while the town of Newport appears, from the several branching hamlets and gentlemen's seats, to be at once a very populous and respectable place, most pleasantly sheltered by high and fertile downs.
GATCOMBE, comprehending both a village
and one of the most considerable seats in the island, is distant about three
miles south-west of
☞ The nearest way to Chale and BIackgang Chine passes close by Gatcombe Park ; and a very good view of the estate is also obtained from some high grounds near the third mile-stone on the Niton road.
GODSHILL is a populous village, six miles
ROOKLEY COTTAGE, in the hamlet
of the same name, is a pretty subject, passed on the road between Niton and
WHITWELL, between Godshill and Niton, comprises a parish-church, farm-house, and several cottages. Lying out of the usual routes, it is not often visited by pleasure- tourists, but from the neighbouring high-roads it appears a very pleasing rural scene.
most splendid seat in the Isle of Wight, is the property of the Rt. Hon. Earl
YARBOROUGH, and can be viewed only by tickets to be obtained from the stewards,
Messrs. Sewell, Solicitors,
The entrance to the park is through a handsome stone gate-way of the Ionic order, the grounds are extensive, laid out in a beautiful style, and the soil extremely rich, sup- porting numerous herds both of deer and cattle. The back-ground to the mansion is a lofty hill, crowned with an obelisk, and its side hung with groves of magnificent beech, interspersed with venerable oaks; in front a charming lawn spreads far and wide, well varied and richly wooded with every species of forest timber: and the whole surrounded by many valuable farms annexed to the domain.
“The mansion,” says Sir Rd. Worsley, “has four regular fronts of the Corinthian order, built of free-stone: the pilasters, cornices, ballustrades, and other ornamental parts are of Portland stone: the roof is covered with Westmoreland slates. The grand entrance in the east front is through a hall 54 feet in length by 24 in breadth, adorned with eight beautiful columns of the Ionic order, resembling porphyry. On this floor are several handsome apartments, containing many valuable portraits and other good paintings; the offices are very commodious, and on the first and attic stories are upwards of twenty bed-chambers and dressing-rooms. The building of the house was begun by Sir Robert Worsley in 1710, and completed by Sir Richard Worsley, who made considerable improvements on the original plan.”
The late Rev. W. Gilpin, celebrated for his excellent works on the picturesque, appears to have seen comparatively little in the island to merit particular praise; but of Appuldurcombe, however, he speaks in terms of unbounded admiration. “Here (says he) everything is uniformly grand: the house is magnificent, and it is magnificently furnished. The grounds too are laid out in a style of greatness equal to the mansion.”
The Rev. Mr. Wyndham (who upon the other
hand commends neither the style of the grounds, nor the external architecture
of the house,) thus rapturously describes the interior of the building: “Upon opening the doors of the hall, it
disclosed to us such a variety of beauties, that made us forget all criticism
: for whichever way we turned our eyes, the most precious pieces of ancient
sculpture, and paintings of the Roman and Venetian schools, claimed attention.
The other rooms on this floor are also superbly furnished, and decorated with
some fine pictures and many excellent drawings of the cities, countries, and
ruins of the east. It is a singular circumstance, that in so large a collection
of antiques, brought by Sir Richard Worsley from
The OBELISK is of Cornish granite, erected to the memory of Sir Robert Worsley, and was nearly seventy feet in height. Some years since its existence was threatened by a stroke of lightning which displaced several of the stones from their proper position: it was soon however repaired. But during one of those tremendous storms which occurred in the autumn of 1836, it was nearly levelled with the ground,
On the east side of Appuldurcombe estate, about a mile from the mansion, is COOK'S CASTLE, which is noticed by Sir Richard Worsley as "the ruin of an ancient castle which serves as a point of view from the house:" it stands on the summit of a fine rocky cliff, and commands a most splendid prospect of the island and the opposite coast. The foot-way from Wroxall to Shanklin passes close by.
Appuldurcombe is situated seven miles S.E. of Newport; the road passes through the village of Godshill, and it may be embraced in a tour to the back of the island, as it is not more than three miles from Ventnor, Steephill, or St. Lawrence.
WROXALL is a sheltered rural hamlet
on the road from Godshill to Ventnor, bordering upon
ARRETON, three miles S.E. of Newport, consists of one very long village street, sheltered by lofty downs on the north, and opening to an extensive vale in the highest state of cultivation. The Church is a heavy but rather picturesque building : it contains a very beautiful mausoleum to the memory of Sir Leonard Holmes; and on the north side of the church-yard is the tomb-stone of the "Dairyman's Daughter," celebrated in the tract of that title written by the late Rev. Legh Richmond, The Parsonage and ancient Farm-house, both near the church, are the only conspicuous habitations. Secluded from public observation, a little off on the south side of the road, is a gentleman's residence called STICKWORTH.
NEWCHURCH is a very rural and retired village, about six miles south of Ryde. The church (to which those at Ryde and Ventnor are only chapels of ease,) “is a large, but low edifice : its situation is extremely beautiful—it stands upon the brow of a nearly perpendicular bank of sandstone, with several fine trees stretching forward their branches over the cliff. A winding road, deep-sunk in the same rock, and overhung with shrubs and trees, forms the foreground to this very picturesque little scene.”
This is upon the whole the richest portion of the island, comprising an area of above thirty square miles, with an almost champaign surface, having comparatively but a few gentle swellings. To the eastward it opens to the sea: but on the north is bounded by the continuous range of high downs which divides the island into two nearly equal parts; and on the south and west by a series of hills that advance more or less into the valley as bold headlands, thereby giving to the landscape some beautiful perspective effects. It is of course seen to advantage only from the higher grounds, and then the delighted eye ranges from one striking object to another in rapid succession; for this extensive valley embraces within its fertile bosom the very populous villages of Godshill, Arreton, Newchurch, and Sandown, as well as several hamlets. But as the accompanying Engraving gives a much better idea of the character of the scene than could be conveyed by any verbal description, however minute, we shall close our account of it in the expressive lines of the poet:—
“For here are heathy wilds, and scenes as fair
As ever recompensed the peasant's care:
Now soft declivities with tufted hills,
And view of waters turning busy mills,
Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds,
And gardens interspersed with flowery beds.”
LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL COUNTRY SEATS AMD VILLAS,
Names of their Proprietors or present Occupiers.
OSBORNE.....Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen.
APPULDURCOMBE, Earl Yarborough.
Appley, near Ryde, J. Hyde, esq.Padmore,
Beauchamp, Undercliff, Sir. W. Gordon, bt.
Bembridge Parsonage, Rev. F.G. Middleton
Binstead Cottage, Lord Downes
•—————Parsonage, Rev. Phillip Hewitt
Blackgang House, T. W. Fleming, esq
Brixton Parsonage, Rev. E. McAll
Brook Manor-house, James How, esq
Calbourne Parsonage, Rev. R. Sumner
Calbourne Lodge, J. Fowler, esq
Castlehurst, near Carisbrooke, H. Pinnock, esq
Chale Parsonage, Rev. A. Gother.
Costorphine-hill, Ryde, J. P. Lind, esq
East Dene, Bonchurch, Capt. Swinburne
Elm Cottage, near
FAIRLEE, N.E. of Newport, Rd. Oglander, esq
Fairlee Cottage, ditto, T. B. Robinson, esq
Fairy-hill, Nettlestone, W.A. Glynn, esq
Farringford-hill, Freshwater, Rev. G. Seymour
FERNHILL, Wootton, Samuel Sanders, esq
Gatcombe Rectory, Rev. W. Thompson, D.D
Hampstead, near Shalfleet, Mrs. Nash
Haylands, south of Ryde, Captain Locke
Hill-grove, Bembridge, Hon.A.H. Moreton
Holmwoood, Ryde, T. B. Maynard, esq
Kite-hill, Wootton, John Abraham, esq
Mirables, Undercliff, ditto, Mrs. Arnold
Mount Cleeves House, ditto, the Misses Sirnes.
Moor House, near
New Close, s.w. of
Ningwood House, John Fowler, esq.
Niton Parsonage, Rev. R. Dixon
NORTHCOURT, Shorwell, H. P. Gordon, esq.
Norton Lodge, Freshwater, Sir G. Hamond, bt.
NUNWELL, near Brading, Sir W. Oglander, bt.
Oakhill, near Ryde, T. M. Leacock, esq.
Orchard, ditto, near Niton, Sir W. Gordon, ht.
Whippingham, Rev. James Jolli ffe.
Pidford, near Rookley, ——__
Polars Cottage, near
PRIORY, N. of St. Helen's, H. Smith, esq.
Puckaster Cottage, Undercliff, Mrs. Vine.
Puckpool, east of Ryde, Lewis Wyatt, esq.
Ryde House, Miss Player.
Rookley Cottage, John Woodward, esq.
St. Clare, east of Ryde, Col. Vernon Harcourt.
St. Lawrence Villa, Earl Yarborough.
.——-————Cottage, Hon. Capt. D. Pelham
Sea-grove, Nettlestone, ————
Sea-field, ditto. Henry Beach, esq.
Steane Villa, Bembridge, Mrs. Varnham.
Shanklin Parsonage, Archdeacon Hill.
Shide Cottage, s. of
Shorwell Parsonage, Rev. E. Robertson.
Spring-hill, ditto. George Shedden, esq.
Standen, south of
Stickworth, south of Arreton, Mrs. Bell.
Stonepits' Cottage, Biastead, Capt. Brigstocke.
SWAINSTON, nr.Calbourne. Sir Rd. Simeon, bt
The Marina, Norton, Capt. Crozier.
Uplands, east of Ryde, C. Payne, esq.
Upton House, south of Ryde, Admiral Hoare.
Wacklands, s. of Newchurch, William Thatcher,
WESTOVER, Calbourne, Hon. A'Court Holmea.
.—————Norton, R.B. Crozier, esq.
Westcliff, Niton, Captain Ker.
Westridge, east of Ryde, Mrs. Young.
Westbrook, ditto, J. Le Marchant, esq.
Whitcombe, near Gatcombe, Rev. Wm. Hugbes.
Woodlands, east of Ryde, J. Percival, esq.
Woodvale, near Gurnard, Captain Ffarington.
Wootton Parsonage, Rev. R.W. White.
Yafford, near Shorwell, James Jolliffe, esq.
Yaverland Parsonage, Rev. R. Sherson.