Newport – from Blacks guide 1870

[Population, In 1861, of the Parliamentary borough (returning two representatives], 7934;

Hotels: The Bugle, Warburton’s Family Hotel

Inns: The Star, Green Dragon, Wheatsheaf, etc.

Banks: London and County, National Provincial, and Hampshire Banking Company.

RAIL to West Cowes. OMNIBUSES several times during the day between Newport and Ryde, and Newport and Ventnor. Omnibuses to Freshwater every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday afternoon; and to Yarmouth, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

A BOAT leaves Newport Quay for West Cowes every tide.

Market-Day: Saturday. Cattle market every alternate Wednesday.

Newport receives its name from its modern relation to the ancient capital of the island, which, by most antiquaries, is placed at Carisbrook. There is good reason, however, to believe that it is of Roman foundation, and numerous relics of the imperial colo­nists have been discovered here. The plan of the town as it is, was laid out by Richard de Redvers, Earl of Devon and lord of the island, early in the reign of Henry the First, “apportionments being let off for building at one shilling ‘a place ‘“—(Venables). From Richard de Redvers, third of the name, the rising town received its first charter; and the privileges then granted were confirmed and enlarged by the famous Lady of the Island, Isabella de Fortibus. Fifteen charters, in amplification of these original provisions, were successively granted by our Sovereigns, from Richard II to Charles II.

The first charter of incorporation was granted by James I, who substituted for “the Bailiff of Newport” a mayor, twenty-four burgesses, and a recorder. This

arrangement was modified after the Restoration, and a mayor, eleven aldermen, and an equal number of burgesses, appointed. By the Municipal Corporation Act (William IV.) the corporation was again re-constituted, and now consists of a mayor, six aldermen, and eighteen town-coun­cillors—the latter of whom are elected by the inhabitants.

In August 1377 the prosperity of the town was seriously checked by a French invasion. The ravages of the marauders were so destructive that for two years “no tenant was resident in the town,” and a couple of centuries passed before it rose to any degree of wealth or importance. In 1582 its inhabitants were almost decimated by the plague. “The road to Carisbrook (the mother-church) was blocked up by the dead-carts, and so crowded was the cemetery, that licence was accorded to the inhabitants to form a graveyard round their own church”. But from this period the unfortunate town appears to have struggled into prosperity. A Town Hall and a Gaol were built, and an ordinary established, at which Sir John Oglander—an island-worthy, whose MSS. are full of curious details—had known “twelve knights and as many gentlemen to attend.” Camden speaks of it as being, in his time, “a toune well-seated and much frequented, populous with inhabi­tants, having an entrance into the isle from the haven, and a passage for vessels of small burden unto the key.”

Newport became, in 1648, the stage whereon was played out one of the most remarkable scenes in the terrible drama of the Civil War. It had previously been disturbed from its propriety by a silly attempt of Captain Burley, a royalist gentleman of Yarmouth, to provoke a re-action on behalf of Charles I The outbreak was quickly put down by a detachment of soldiers from Carisbrook, and Captain Burley was seized, tried at Winchester for high treason, and executed on the 2d of February. The attachment of the majority of the inhabitants to the cause of the Parliament was not, however, to be questioned; and Newport was accordingly selected as the most convenient place for the negotiations commenced between the king and his opponents in September 1648. These negotiations took place in the Grammar School, the king occupying the house of a private citizen, his attendants being accommodated at the George Inn on the south side of High Street (now destroyed), and the Commissioners staying at the Bull (now the Bugle) Inn.

Newport has been represented - in Parliament by several historic worthies: Lord Falkland in 1640—Admiral Sir Robert Holmes in 1678-89—Lord Cutts, one of Marlborough’s soldiers, 1698—Lord Palmerston in 1807—and the Right Honourable George Canning in 1826. Here were born the learned anti­quarian divine, Thomas James, in 1571; his nephew, an erudite controversialist, Richard James; and Sir Thomas Fleming, who rose from a low estate to the dignity of Lord Chief-Justice of England, temp. James I.

Newport has been represented - in Parliament by several historic worthies: Lord Falkland in 1640—Admiral Sir Robert Holmes in 1678-89—Lord Cutts, one of Marlborough’s soldiers, 1698—Lord Palmerston in 1807—and the Right Honourable George Canning in 1826. Here were born the learned anti­quarian divine, Thomas James, in 1571; his nephew, an erudite controversialist, Richard James; and Sir Thomas Fleming, who rose from a low estate to the dignity of Lord Chief-Justice of England, temp. James I.

The first point of interest to which the tourist, in Newport, should direct his steps, is the new CHURCH, dedicated to St. Thomas, and erected, 1854-7, at a cost of £12,000, and from the designs of Mr. Daukes. The old church dated from 1175, when it was erected by Richard de Redvers, and dedicated to the recently canonized Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas à Becket. The memorials it contained are preserved in the new building— an Early Decorated structure, of great beauty of proportion and unusual richness of detail. The tower at the west end is lofty and imposing. The nave is clerestoried, and there are gabled aisles and a chancel, north and south chapels, and north and south porches. The west doorway is elaborately ornamented, and the interior exhibits much admirable and thoughtful decora­tion. The PULPIT (from the old church) dates from 1633. Its carvings were the work of one Thomas Caper, whose device—a goat, in allusion to his name—may be seen on its back. Justice and Mercy figure on the sounding-board, which is lettered with a sentence from the Psalms :—“ Cry aloud, and spare not: lift up thy voice like a trumpet.” On the sides are sculptured a curious personification of the Three Graces, the Four Cardinal Virtues, and the Seven Liberal Sciences—grammar, dialectics, rhetoric, music, arithmetic, geometry, astrology. Remark the monument to Sir Edward Horsey, formerly captain of the island (1565-82), presenting his effigy, clad in armour, beneath a rich painted and gilded canopy, and an epitaph which ascribes to him many more virtues than, we fear, he possessed. The memorial (by Maro­chetti) erected by the queen to Charles the First’s ill-fated daughter, the Princess Elizabeth, is chastely beautiful. It repre­sents her as, according to tradition, she was discovered by her attendants, reclining in death upon her couch, her hands folded m prayer, and her face resting on the pages of an open Bible, a gift from her royal father. Her body was buried in the chancel of Old Newport Church on the 20th of September 1650, but its resting-place was totally forgotten until, in 1793, some labourers engaged in digging a grave for the Honourable Septimus West, discovered the royal maiden’s coffin. The place of interment was then indicated by a stone bearing a suitable inscription. The window of painted glass, on the south side of the chancel, is dedicated to the memory of officers and soldiers slain in the Crimean war, who had formerly been stationed at Parkhurst. A medallion likeness, in ‘white marble, of Prince Albert has been placed in the north aisle by the inhabitants of Newport. During a violent storm in the spring of 1866, the vane and a portion of the spire on which it stood, were blown down on a Sunday forenoon, and fell through the roof of the church; but, fortunately, the clergyman had, in consequence of the storm, dismissed the congregation without the usual sermon, and scarcely had he done so when the accident occurred. The top of the spire which was so carried off, has only recently been restored.

The CHURCH OF ST. JOHN, at Node Hill, on the road to Shide, is a neat but commodious structure in the Early English style. It was erected in 1837 at the cost of about £4500. At Barton village, on the east side of the town, is ST. PAUL’S CHURCH, a neat edifice in the Norman style, erected in 1844 at the cost of about £2000.

The Independents have a handsome chapel in St. James’ Street, erected, in 1848, on the site of a chapel first erected in 1699, and rebuilt in 1777. It is in the Early English style, and cost, together with its school, nearly £4000. There is another Independent Chapel at Node Hill, a Baptist Chapel in Castle-hold, a Roman Catholic Chapel in Pyle Street (where the Emperor and Empress of the French attended mass, 9th August 1857, when on a visit to Osborne), several Methodist, and other places of worship.

The GRAMMAR SCHOOL, founded in 1612 by Lord Chief-Justice Fleming, is a noticeable Jacobean mansion, much im­proved by the present headmaster. The school room remains in nearly the same condition as when it was occupied by Charles I during the negotiations which resulted in the abortive treaty of Newport. It was here the unfortunate monarch was seized by Major Rolph and his myrmidons, November 30, 1648, and from hence he was hurried to Hurst Castle.

The TOWN HALL, from the designs of Nash, a semi-classical

structure, with Ionic portico and colonnade, was built in 1816. The lower portion is used as a market-house. The council-chamber is 30 feet long and 28 wide; the magistrates’ room, 70 feet long by 30 feet wide.

The ISLE OF WIGHT LITERARY INSTITUTION is a handsome stone building at the corner of High Street and St. James’ Square, erected in 1810 at the cost of about £3000. It has an extensive library, and a well supplied news room. The annual subscription is £2: 2s. The ISLE OF WIGHT MUSEUM, at the corner of St. James’ Street and Crocker Street, contains a large and interesting collection of antiquities, fossils, etc., connected with the island; but, unfortunately, the arrangement and manner in which they are kept leave much room for improvement. In Lugley Street is THE BLUE SCHOOL, established in 1761 for educating and clothing poor girls. In St. Thomas’ Square, opposite the principal entrance to the church, is the Corn Exchange, which has recently been covered in and glazed.

Small vessels come up the river ‘with the tide as far as Newport, and the number of warehouses in the neighbourhood of its small quay show that in this way a considerable trade is carried on. It is also the centre of a considerable trade with the surrounding country.

Newport Page

29 June 2010