CARISBROOKE CASTLE, ISLE OF WIGHT

Grid Ref: SZ 486 875
Date: 25 June 2014

 

Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight has an important place in the Civil War as it was beseiged by the Parliamentarians and later used as a prison for Charles I. It is in the care of English Heritage.

Carisbrook Castle
View over the main castle buildings from the keep
Carisbrook Castle
View over the St. Peter' chapel and Princess Beatrix gardens
Carisbrook Castle
The lodgings
The Keep
The Keep
Parish Church
St. Mary's at Carisbrooke village

The castle as seen today was begun in 1100 on the site of a former Saxon defence. The site may have been occupied before the Romans and evidence of Roman occupation has been found. The Saxons held the site and it became a stronghold in the 8th century. It was defended around the year 1000 with all wall against Viking raids.

The Isle of Wight had been granted after the Norman Conquest to the Redvers family. Stone keep was erected on the highest point. In the late 13th century the whole castle was extensively rebuilt by Countess Isabella de Redveres. In the 14th century a gatehouse with two towers was added. In 1377, during the Hundred Years War, the castle was beseiged by the French. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 the castle was strengthened with artillery and an outer earthwork. Charles I was incarcerated as Carisbrooke for 14 months after his capture by Parliament. An attempted escape was foiled solely because Charles was too large to get out of a narrow window. Later his two youngest children were imprisoned at Carisbrooke. Princess Elizabeth died there aged 14 on 8 September 1650. Her brother Henry Duke of Gloucester (1640-1660) lived to see the Restoration of his elder brother Charles II in May 1660 but died of smallpox on 13 September

Queen Victoria's youngest daughter Princess Beatrice was Goverenor of the Isle of Wight from 1896 to 1944 and used Carisbrooke Castle as her summer home from 1914. The current Princess Beatrice Garden was designed in her honour by Chris Beardshaw.

The chapel in the castle grounds is called the Church of St. Nicholas in Castro. In 1904 the chapel of St Nicholas was reopened and re-consecrated, having been rebuilt as a national memorial of Charles I.

St. Mary's in the village of Carisbrooke dates back to 1150 when it was founded as a Benedictine Priory. The priory was dissolved and during the 15th century the tower was added. Restoration took place in 1907. The bells are fairly modern - eight from 1921 and two more in 2002.

Sources

English Heritage Website
Wikipedia articles on Carisbrooke Castle, Princess Elizabeth and Henry Duke of Gloucester.
Webpage on St. Mary's by Rod Johnson

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