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Edward VI, and Elizabeth; James I gave a charter of incorporation; but that under which the town is now governed was obtained from Charles II in 1661; by this the Corporation is ordained to consist of a Mayor, Recorder, ten Aldermen, and twelve Burgesses. Two Members were sent to Parliament from hence in 1295; but from that period no return was made until 1587, when the influence of Sir George Carey having procured a restitution of the privilege, the grateful Burgesses immediately surrendered to him the right to“ nominate one of the Members during his natural life;" the elective franchise is now exercised by the Corporation.
Newport is a well-built town; the houses, which are mostly of brick, are disposed into five parallel streets, running east and west, and crossed by others, at right angles. At the intersections of the three streets were three large squares, originally intended as market places for the sale of various commodities; but this regularity of plan has been infringed on by subsequent erections, and the increase of the population has of course occasioned the building of new houses and streets.
The Church, (which is a Chapel of Ease to Carisbrooke,) dedicated to St. Thomas-a-Becket, is supposed to have been founded about the reign of Henry II, but its architecture is of different periods. It stands in the centre of one of the squares, and is a spacious but low building, consisting of three aisles, with a square tower at the west end. The interior is neat; the pulpit is adorned with carved figures, representing the Cardinal Virtues, &c.; and several monuments still exist, the most remarkable of which is one to Sir Edward Horsey, a distinguished naval officer, who was Captain of this Island in the reign of Elizabeth, and died in 1582: the Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I, who died in Carisbrooke Castle, at the age of fifteen, was interred here, and a leaden coffin enclosing her remains was discovered in a vault under the chancel in 1793, bearing only this inscription: “ Elisabeth, 2d. daughter of ye late King Charles, deceased Sept. 8, 1650.” Newport, beside its Church, contains Chapels and Meeting, houses for Roman Catholics, Baptists, Quakers, and Methodists.
The Town Hall is a handsome modern building, erected in one of the squares, and the Markets are kept in the space beneath, on Wednesday and Saturday. In the Hall is held the ancient Knighten Court, so called from its judges being originally knights; they arenow freeholders holding
of Carisbrooke Castle, and meet every third Monday, to decide, without the assistance of a jury, in all actions of debt and trespass under the value of forty shillings; the proceedings are of the same nature as those in our Courts of Equity, and are carried on by attorneys admitted by the Court. Its jurisdiction extends over the whole Island excepting the Borough of Newport; attempts have been made to render it more conformable to English notions, by the introduction of a jury, but these have been ineffectual, and it still retains the form given to it by Fitz-Osborne, the feudal lord of the Island, in the eleventh century.
Several Schools have been established in Newport; of these the Free Grammar School, instituted and endowed in 1619, is stated to have " dwindled almost to a sinecure;" the school-room is memorable as having been the scene of the negociations between Charles I and the Parliamentary Commissioners; a School for Girls, and two Sunday Schools, are supported by subscription, and are very serviceable. À Philosophical Society, a neat Theatre, and two elegant Assembly Rooms, supply instruction for the studious, and amusement for the gay:
The population of Newport, in 1821, was 4059; some of the inhabitants are employed in the manufacture of starch and hair-powder, and others in the lace works; a great quantity of sea-biscuit is made here, in time of war, but at present it forms but a small branch of trade.
Dr. Thomas James, a learned divine, was born in this town, in 1571, and after receiving his education at Winchester College, was admitted and obtained a fellowship at New College, Oxford. About 1600, he was appointed Keeper of the Bodleian Library, and greatly assisted Camden in the collection of materials for his “ Britannica.” He also published several erudite and useful works, and we are assured by Wood that “ he was the most industrious and indefatigable writer against popery that had ever been
educated at Oxford." He became Sub-Dean of the Cathedral of Wells, and died in 1622.
Richard James, nephew of the preceding, was also born at Newport, in 1592. He studied at Cambridge, and afterwards travelled in the north of Europe. Returning to England he resumed his literary avocations, and assisted the learned Selden in composing his account of the Arundel Marbles, which was published in 1628. He was also engaged by Sir Robert Cotton in the arrangement of his library; and for his concurrence with his patron in denouncing the tyranny of Charles I, was imprisoned by order of the House of Lords, in 1629. On his release he resumed his station in the library, and continued, after Sir Robert's death in 1631, to reside with his son Sir Thomas, until his own decease in 1638. His learning and talents were very considerable; he published some sermons and poems, and left in manuscript some observations made during his travels in Russia.
The House of Industry is situated about a mile from Newport; and was founded in 1770 by virtue of an Act of Parliament for consolidating the management of the Poor of all the parishes in the Island. It consists of several ranges of building, sufficiently capacious for the reception and employment of more than 700 persons. Beside the day and sleeping rooms, here is a Chapel; Workshops in which various articles of clothing, sacking, &c. are manufactured; School Rooms, a Dining Hall, Committee Room, &c. An extensive garden is attached to the building, and every attention is paid to the health and comfort of the poor inmates. The entire management of this Institution is vested in a Corporation, composed of the most respectable persons in the Island, and styled
The Guardians of the Poor within the Isle of Wight;" and the regulations by which it is conducted are excellently calculated to promote good morals and industry among the poor, while at the same time the burden of their support is much lessened.
At a short distance from the House of Industry are Albany Barracks and Hospital, originally built about 1780, and then called Parkhurst Barracks, but much altered and enlarged since that period. This establishment now consists of several extensive ranges of building, which, from their magnitude and regularity, have an imposing appearance. They are capable of accommodating upwards of 3000 soldiers, and the enclosure in which they stand occupies twenty acres of ground. Both the Barracks and the House of Industry are situated in the Forest of Parkhurst, which extends over about 3000 acres, but has very few trees of great age or magnitude.
ARRETON, a parish about three miles from Newport, with 1757 inhabitants, is remarkable for its extensive Down, on which are two large Barrows, where spear-heads, axes, and other warlike instruments, have been found at various periods. · BONCHURCH, (a singular corruption of St. Boniface) is a village nine miles from Newport, with oply 122 inhabitants. The Church is a small and venerable building, embosomed amid lofty trees. The surrounding scenery is of the most romantic description; and several villas have been erected here.
At a short distance beyond Bonchurch, the rugged promontory called Dun-nose closes the passage along the coast, and the only path is by a steep and winding road, cut with much labour through the huge masses of rock which form the hill. On arriving at the summit the remarkable chasm called Luccombe Chine is beheld, the sides of which are clad with shrubs and brushwood, and in the bottom runs a small stream of pure water, which forms a cascade.
BRADING, an ancient market-town, is situated at the head of the idlet called Brading Haven, seven miles from Newport. The Church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a very ancient building, and its foundation is attributed to Bishop Wilfrid in 704.' It consists of a nave, chancel, and tower at the west end: and the interior exhibits numerous traces of early Saxon architecture. Attached to the Church are two small Chapels, one of which contains some monuments in memory of the Oglander family. This town anciently returned Members to Parliament, but was excused on the inhabitants stating that they were unable to bear the expense, which amounted to the enormous sum of fourpènce daily to each representative! Brading is now governed by two Bailiffs, a Recorder, and thirteen Jurats; its incorporation is of very ancient date, but the earliest charter now extant is dated in 1547. The Town Hall is a small building, beneath which is a market-place. This parish is still one of the most extensive in the Island, although four others have been taken out of it, and contained, in 1821, a population of 2023 persons, many of whom are employed in the fishery. The Haven is a marshy tract, of about 900 acres, which is covered every tide. by the sea, and at high water admits small vessels to the Quay, where convenient storehouses for corn, &c. have been erected; it abounds with excellent fish.
About a mile to the west of Brading is Nunwell, the seat of the ancient family of Oglander; it is a plain brick building, beautifully situated on a gentle eminence, in a Park, about two miles in circumference. To the west of Nunwell is Ashey Down, on the summit of which is a Pyramid of a triangular form, 20 feet high, erected in 1735 as a sea-mark. Near this is a Signal-house, which communicates with others in different parts of the Island. The views from this place are extensive and beautiful.
CALBOURNE, a village five miles to the west of Newport, has an ancient Church, built in the form of a cross, with a tower at the south-west angle. The population of this parish is 767. Westover House, the residence of Sir L. Holmes, is situated near the village; and about a mile to the north-east is Swainstone, the seat of Sir F. Barrington, which anciently belonged to the see of Winchester, but became vested in the Crown as early as the reign of Edward I. It was granted to several noble families in succession, until the year 1554, when Queen Mary bestowed it on the grand-daughter of the Countess of Salisbury, to whom it had belonged, and whom her father had so inhumanly put to death; from this lady, who married Sir Thomas Barrington, the estate has descended to its present possessor.
The house is not large, but is finely situated, and the grounds and plantations are judiciously disposed. I
CARISBROOKE, a neat village, with about 600 inhabitants, is pleasantly situated on the bank of a rivulet, which runs at the foot of the hill on which