Floods Chapter 4 - Isle of
Wight Rising Above the Water
John Flood said his
family came from the Isle of Wight and I believe this is true. This
island off England is inhabited by several races, one being the Danes.
There is a painting called The Dane. It is a totally perfect likeness
to Mr. Flood. Another thing to agree with this is that his grandfather,
also John Flood, was bodyguard to Queen Victoria who had a home on the
island. The following is taken from a sight and shared by the Teachers'
Centre of The Isle of Wight, today, 2005.
Beakers, Romans, Saxons &
Around 1900 BC the Beaker
people arrived - so called from their distinctive pottery. They called
the Island Wiht (weight) meaning raised or what rises over the sea. Then
the Romans arrived in 43 AD and translated Wiht into the name Vectis
from the Latin veho meaning lifting.
The Roman rule started
under Vespasian and continued peacefully for over four hundred years.
Then followed a period of strife starting with the Saxons under Cerdic
and Cynric in 530 AD. Many of the natives were slaughtered and four
years after Cerdic's death the government was divided between his two
nephews Stuf and Wihtgar. In 544 Wihtgar died and was buried at
Carisbrooke. In 661 AD, Wight changed hands again when it was taken by
Wulfhure, King of the Mercians, but it was in 686 AD that the West Saxon
King, Caedwalla, conquered it and brought Christianity to the Island.
For two centuries the
people of Wight then led a fairly peaceful life until the Danes arrived
this far south. In 897 AD their visits for 'burning and killing' went on
for over 100 years so the Islanders lived in constant fear.
The Middle Ages
At the time of the Norman
Conquest, William the Conqueror granted overlordship of the Isle of
Wight to his relative William FitzOsbern who began the construction of a
castle at Carisbrooke. The lordship of the Island passed to the De
Redvers family in 1101, with the hereditary rights and privileges that
accompanied it, until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus, the last
survivor in the family, sold the Island to Edward 1 in 1293 for six
The acquisition of full
control of the Island by the crown was important because the Island's
vulnerability to invasion. The lordship of the Island was now a royal
appointment. One of the lords of the Island - Henry Beauchamp, Duke of
Warwick - was actually given a title of King to the Isle of Wight in
1444 by Henry V1, who attended the ceremony and placed the crown on his
During the Hundred Years'
War, the Island, like much of the south coast, became a target for
marauding French. The Island's only fortification, the Norman Castle at
Carisbrooke, assumed a defence role for which it was unsuited owing to
its central position; The French could land on the coast and burn and
plunder while ignoring the castle. Towns and villages like Yarmouth,
Newtown and Newport were sometimes attacked and burned. It is said that
in 1377 a party of French fell into an ambush on the outskirts of
Newport and were cut to pieces in Dead Man's Lane, now Trafalgar Road.
They are supposed to be buried at 'Noddies Hill', now known as Nodehill
or Upper St. James' Street. On the same occasion the French besieged the
castle, but, according to the legend, retired on the death of their
commander, shot from the castle's west wall. Concern about the French
attacks is shown in the frequent modifications made to the Castle's
defences in the 14th Century.
Tudor & Stuart Period
The strategic importance
of the Island increased with the development of Portsmouth as a
permanent naval base. Henry VIII accordingly built additional
fortifications on the island at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown,
sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building
material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time,
successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks
in 1545, at the time of the loss of the Mary Rose.
During the reign of
Elizabeth 1, the Island was again threatened by invasion, this time from
Spain. Sir George Carey, cousin of the Queen and Captain of the Island,
took up residence at Carisbrooke Castle in 1583 and undertook repairs to
the defences. Although the Armada was defeated in 1588, the Spanish
threat remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were
built between 1597 and 1602 in response to the invasion scare.
At the outset of the
Civil War in 1642, the Parliament assumed control of the Island and
retained their control throughout the conflict. In spite of this, King
Charles 1 went to the Island on escaping from imprisonment at Hampton
Court in November 1647. As a prisoner at Carisbrooke Castle, the King
made several unsuccessful attempts to escape before being transferred to
Newport in September 1648, where abortive negotiations with Parliament
(known as the Treaty of Newport) took place. In November, the King was
seized by the Army and taken to Hurst Castle and then to his trial and
execution in London.
In the nineteenth century
the Island was transformed by the coming of the railways. Queen Victoria
took advantage of the island's new accessibility by using Osborne as her
retreat. Affairs of the state soon followed her and the modestly
furnished family home had to be enhanced with apartments where she could
receive foreign heads of state. However, her children enjoyed many hours
and a great deal of freedom at Osborne as a visit to Swiss Cottage will
indicate. Queen Victoria's affection for Osborne added to the Island's
attractions of climate and scenery, and Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin &
Ventnor expanded from fishing villages to fashionable resorts.
Queen Victoria's youngest
daughter, Princess Beatrice, succeeded her husband, Prince Henry of
Battenburg as Governor of the Island in 1896, and regularly used
Carisbrooke Castle as her summer residence. After her death in 1944 the
office was left vacant until, at the request of the Island, a new
Governor was appointed in 1957 - the seventh Duke of Wellington. He was
succeeded in 1965 by Admiral of the Fleet, the Earl Mountbatten of
Burma, a great nephew of Princess Beatrice. When the Island gained full
County status under the Local Government Act in 1972, Earl Mountbatten
was appointed the Island's first Lord Lieutenant as well. Since his
death in Ireland in 1979, the Island has been without a governor.
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