Isle of Wight History

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is rich in historical and archaeological sites. These range from prehistoric fossil beds which include dinosaur remains, to dwellings and artefacts of the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman period and beyond. In the year 534 Cerdic with his son Cynric invaded and conquered the island and states that the Island was given to Cerdic's nephews, who were Jutes-Stuf and Wihtgar.

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool".

The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293. Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

The famous boat building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the 19th and 20th centuries including Saunders-Roe, a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft.