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stands the Castle. It was formerly a market-town, and was considered the capital of the Island, in consequence of the number of persons who were induced to settle there from the protection afforded by the Castle, which was always the residence of the Governor. As, however, this protection ceased to be of consequence, the more convenient situation of Newport, which is about a mile distant, attracted the trading and commercial part of the population; and Carisbrooke now retains scarcely any vestige of its former consequence excepting its Church, and even of that the chancel and north aisle have fallen into ruin: it consists at present of a nave and south aisle, with a handsome tower: the interior contains some monuments, but not any deserving of particular mention. Near the Church was a Priory, founded, as well as that edifice, by Fitz-Osborne, Earl of Hereford, in the reign of William I, and given by him to the Abbey of Lyra, in Normandy. It was afterwards granted to the Monks of Sheen, in Surrey, to whom it belonged at the time of the Dissolution. Very few vestiges of its buildings now remain; a portion of the walls may be traced in the out-houses of what is still called the Priory Farm.
eminence above the village, and its walls enclose about 20 acres of ground. Its foundation is by some writers attributed to the Britons, and by others to the Romans, but the first mention of its existence is in the Saxon Annals, from which we learn that in the year 530 it was taken by Cerdic, and was most probably nearly, if not quite, destroyed by the con. queror, as it is stated to have been rebuilt shortly afterwards by. Withgar, one of his two nephews, whom he had appointed joint governors of the Island. It appears to have been greatly enlarged soon after the Norman conquest, and underwent many subsequent alterations; the greatest of these was in the time of Elizabeth, when an extensive fortification was erected, surrounded by a deep moat, and enclosing the whole of the original works. The interior has since been much altered, to adapt it to the purposes of residence.
The walls of the ancient fortress include an area of about an acre and a half; the Keep stands on the summit of an artificial mount, near the north-west angle, and is approached by a flight of 72 steps. Its walls are of great thickness, and the entrance was defended by a double gate and portcullis. The upper apartments are wholly destroyed, but from the summit of the walls, which is attainable by a staircase, an extensive and beautiful prospect is beheld. The western entrance to the Castle is by a handsome Gateway, flanked by two round towers, supposed to have been built in the reign of Edward IV. Advancing, we arrive at the ancient entrance, a massive arch, with a strong wicket, which opens into the inner area, on one side of which is the Chapel of St. Nicholas, (built in 1738 on the site of a Chapel mentioned in the Domesday Book), in which the Mayor and other officers of Newport are annually sworn into office; near this edifice are the ruins of an ancient Guard-house, and on the opposite side the building in which Charles I was imprisoned; this is in a state of great decay, but the window in his bedchamber, from which he endeavoured to make his escape, is still shown*. Beyond this are the Barracks for the garrison, and the Governor's House, which has some good apartments, once handsomely fitted up, but now partaking of the general decay.
* Charles was conducted hither by Colonel Hammond, Governor of the Island, to whom he had surrendered himself at Titchfield House, after his escape from Hampton Court in 1647, The Governor for some time treated
Beside the buildings already mentioned, several others, for the use of the garrison, and other purposes, are included within the walls: the well, from which it is supplied, is upwards of 200 feet deep, and the water is raised by a large wheel, worked by an ass. Many ruined towers, with walls of immense thickness, evince the former strength of the Castle; and the fortifications erected by Queen Elizabeth are
his Majesty with great respect, and allowed him to ride out, unguarded, whenever he thought fit; but he soon received orders from London to confine the King within the walls of the Castle, and to dismiss his chaplains and other attendants. In 1648 a treaty was commenced by the Commons, and during its continuance the King was removed to Newport, restored to a greater degree of freedom, and the attendance of the Duke of Richmond, and some other of his adherents, again permitted, on his pro.. mise not to quit the Island “ without the advice of both Houses of Parliament.” The Parliament itself, however, was now on the point of being superseded by Cromwell; and that aspiring General, conscious that the existence of the King was an insuperable bar to the consummation of his ambitious projects, had the address, without too prominently appearing, on the scene, to engage the army in the seizure of Charles, in order that he might be brought to trial, when his condemnation and execution were the results to be naturally looked for. Accordingly, on the night of the 29th of November, (Hammond having been previously summoned to London to prevent any opposition on his part), a body of 2000 men, under the command of Colonel Ewes, landed, and a part of them surrounded the Castle, while another body proceeded to the King's lodgings, but did not seize him until the following morning. Charles was informed in the night of their arrival, and was entreated by his friends to make his escape, which they assured him was then practicable. He, however, declined the attempt, observing, with reference to the engagement he had entered into, “ They have promised me, and I have promised them; I will not break first.' Early in the morning, several officers rushed into his bedchamber, and told him they had orders for his removal. He inquired “ Whither?” and after some hesitation was told, to Hurst Castle; to which fortress he was accordingly hurried away; and after passing some days in that prison, was removed to London, tried, and put to death. His attempted escape from Carisbrooke Castle was in the early part of his confinement there; some friends had provided a horse, which was placed under the walls, in readiness to convey him to a vessel, purposely stationed on the coast; but on endeavouring to force his body between the iron bars which guarded the window of his apartment, the aperture proved to be too small, and, after suffering considerable pain, the unfortunate monarch was compelled to abandon the enterprise. The Governor not having discovered this attempt, files and aqua-fortis were conveyed to the King to enable him to remove the bars, and the night was fixed for a second trial; but Major Rolfe, one of the garrison, having some suspicions, and pretending to be warmly attached to his Majesty, gained the confidence of his friends, and was made acquainted with the plot, which he communicated to the Governor, who took immediate measures to prevent its execution, by placing a body of men under the window, whom the King perceiving, at the moment he was about to descend, retired to bed, and gave up all hope of effecting his escape at that period.
said to bear a considerable resemblance to those of Antwerp, which were raised by the same engineer. The passage across the moat is by a stone bridge, leading to a gate, which bears the date of 1598, and the initials E. R.; the area to which this opens is of great extent, and was intended for training and exercising the soldiers, whence it has acquired the title of the Place of Arms; it is surrounded by a rampart. The charge of these fortifications was defrayed by a subscription of the inhabitants; those who were unable to contribute money, worked in the excavation of the fosse, so that the whole work was completed without any cost to the frugal Queen. This Castle is still garrisoned, and has its Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and other officers; on days of public rejoicing, the royal flag is hoisted on the summit of the Keep; and notwithstanding the ruinous condition of a great part of the building, it has still a majestic and venerable appearance.
About two miles south of Carisbrooke is Gatcomb Park, formerly belonging to the Worsley family, by one of whom the house, which is a square stone building, most beautifully situated on an eminence, was erected in 1750. Gatcomb Church is a venerable edifice, with an ancient monument, on which is the effigy of a knight carved in oak, but without any inscription.
This is a hamlet of the parish of Whippingham,
and is situated on the east side of the Medina river, near to its mouth, and directly opposite to West Cowes. It has some trade, and a small Customhouse has been erected. The town is badly arranged, but some of the houses are respectable in appearance. On a neighbouring hill stands an edifice, erected by Mr. Nash, and called the Castle; it consists of a square central tower, with a round one on each side, and commands, from its battlements, extensive and beautiful views.
Cowes (WEST), situated on the declivity of a hill, which rises near the mouth of the Medina, on its west side, is now a place of importance, although founded by Henry VIII, when he erected the Castle, and still a portion of the parish of Northwood; this Castle is no more than a small battery, defending the entrance of the harbour, which is one of the best and most convenient in the Channel. The Chapel of Ease is a plain building, erected in 1662; and the streets are narrow and ill built; but from the picturesque manner in which the houses rise above each other on the hill, the town has a singular and pleasing appearance from the sea. In the upper part of the town and the vicinity, many handsome houses have been recently erected, in consequence of the great influx of company during the bathing season; and an Assembly Room, a Library, and Reading Rooms, add to the attractions of the place. The Bathing Machines are placed on a fine beach, very convenient for the purpose of immersion; steam vessels pass every day between this port, Southampton, and Portsmouth; and it bids fair to rival the most celebrated watering-places in the quality, if not in the number, of its visitants. Cowes has also a very considerable trade in shipping provisions, &c.; and ship-building is carried on to some extent. The population of the parish, in 1821, was 3579. In the neighbourhood are many handsome seats and villas.
FRESHWATER, a village near the western extremity of the Island, is situated on the Yar, and is remarkable as being the birth-place of Dr. Robert Hooke, in 1635. He was educated at Westminster, under Dr. Busby, and afterwards studied at Christchurch Col