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niece in marriage, had also bestowed on him the Earldoms of Huntingdon, Northampton, and Northumberland. Justly, therefore, provoked at his ingratitude and double treachery, he caused him to be beheaded at Winchester.
Earl Roger, who had assembled some forces, retired into his county of Hereford; but being taken and tried, was found guilty of treason, and sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, with the confiscation of his lands. His spirits seem to have remained unbroken by his sufferings; for, at a solemn celebration of the feast of Easter, the King sent him his robes; when he, to show his contempt of what was perhaps meant as a compliment, caused a fire to be made and burned them. This being told to the King, he swore by the glory of God, the Earl should spend the remainder of his life in prison; which oath he strictly kept, as Roger was never released, but died in confinement in 1086, and the Island, with his other lands, were escheated to the crown.
During the reign of Henry I. the Island again passed into the hands of a subject. This monarch gave it to Richard-de-Redvers, a Norman baron. From him it descended to his son Baldwin in 1135. At the time in which he held it, parties ran high, and Baldwin, having espoused the cause of the Empress Maud, armed the Island against Stephen; in consequence of which he was obliged to fly. Matters, however, being adjusted between the parties, the Earl was again reinstated in his possessions. Baldwin, the fifth of that name, obtained a charter of franchises for the town of Yarmouth; and the grant of a market and a fair to be held at Carisbrook. After having passed through several of the descendants of the Redvers family, the
* Worsley, p. 50.
Island was held in 1184, by William-de-Vernon, a collateral branch.
To this Island king John repaired, after having put his signature to Magna Charta. Here, by a strange eccentricity of conduct, he mingled with fishermen and sailors; and in the society of the unlettered, amidst the sequestered spot on which he had entered, sought that serenity of mind which he could not obtain among the mighty movements of political life.
In the twelfth year of Edward I. the Island descended to Isabella, a branch of the family of Williamde-Vernon. This lady married William-de-Fortibus, Earl of Albemarle, and having survived him, bore the title of Countess of Albemarle, and Lady of the Isle of Wight. The Countess Isabella, on the demise of her lord, resided in Carisbrook castle. Her style of living was magnificent. By her authority justice was administered, and by her pious zeal the wants of the priesthood were liberally supplied. She was prevailed on, a short time before her decease, to alienate this lordship to the crown, for the sum of six thousand marks, (about £4000 sterling.)*
*This occurred in the year 1293. The affair was made a matter of legal inquiry, and was brought before Parliament, when among other allegations, brother William-de-Gainsborough, confessor of the Countess, deposed that the Bishop of Durham asked her if she continued in the same mind with respect to selling the Island to the king? that she replied, she did. That the bishop then asked her if he should draw up a deed for that purpose? and, on answering in the affirmative, he immediately caused the deed to be prepared, and brought it to the Countess, when it was read to her in the presence of Gilbert de Knouill, Geoffry, her chaplain, her waiting woman, and himself, with many others of the family. That she made her waiting woman fetch her seal; when she sealed the deed and delivered seisin of the Island, and other lands conveyed to the king, by delivering the bishop's gloves, which she held in her hand. That the bishop then left her, and she composed herself: and about nine
Edward having purchased the Island, felt apprehensive for its safety. Philip, king of France, was meditating an attack on England: Edward, therefore, for the better security of his possessions, constituted the Bishop of Winchester, Adam de Gordon, and Sir Richard de Affeton, to act as guardians of the Island. There was not an attack upon it till the thirteenth year of Edward III. when France poured her troops in at the eastern extremity of the Island; they were warmly opposed and obliged to retreat to their shipping. The liability of the Island to invasions by an enemy excited fears in the minds of its inhabitants, so that many of them deserted it: in consequence of which, Edward, in order to enforce their residence, issued a decree to confiscate the lands of such as did not immediately return.
In the early part of the reign of Richard II. the French landed again: having a considerable force, they proceeded to the interior, and attacked Carisbrook Castle; here they met with a defeat. On the spot now designated Deadman's Lane, Richard had placed an ambuscade; by means of which the enemy was cut off, and the bodies of the slain were buried beneath the adjacent hill; from whence it was originally called, by way of sarcasm, Noddies, or Noddles Hill, but is now known by the name of Node Hill.
In the seventeenth year of Henry VI. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, succeeded to the Lordship of the
o'clock he asked her if she would not make her will? She answered, she was so much fatigued, that she feared speaking much would weaken her; but on a second solicitation, she complied; and signified by her fingers, that her executors should be the Abbot of Quarr, the Priors of Breamore and Christchurch, and Gilbert de Knouill. That she then lay down to rest; and after some time was shrived by him, the said 'Brother William,' and died between midnight and morning-Worsley. p. 62.
Island; he bore the title of the king of the Isle of Wight. This honour had been previously conferred on the Duke of Warwick, at whose coronation King Henry himself deigned to assist. It does not appear that the regal title had appended to it any special privileges: it was a piece of ephemeral glory: and at the death of Humphrey the royal honours expired, and the Island reverted to the crown. The lordship of the Island after this was held by Richard Plantagenet, Duke of York, and father of Edward IV. who was slain in the battle of Wakefield. This feudal dignity then passed successively through the hands of Edmund, Duke of Somerset, Henry, Duke of Somerset his son, Anthony, Earl Rivers, and Sir Edward Wydeville; who held it till 1488, when he was slain at the battle of St. Aubins, in Brittany. At his decease Henry the VII. resolved on checking the power of the barons, and never after granted to any one the Lordship of the Island. Since this period, it has remained in the possession of the crown; and its government changed into a mere military appointment, and the warden, captain, or governor, holds his post and the lands annexed to it jure officii only.
The Island was again attacked during the reign of Henry V. when the enemy was repulsed with great loss.*
There was another attack made in the thirty-sixth year of Henry VIII. The French equipped a fleet under the command of Admiral D'Annebaut, and landed 2000 men in different parts of the Island. These
Towards the latter end of the fifth of Henry V. a body of Frenchmen landed on the Island, and boasted they would keep their Christmas there; but as near a thousand of them were driving cattle towards their ships, they were suddenly attacked by the Islanders, and obliged to leave not only all their plunder, but also many of their men behind them. Worsley, p. 33.
were defeated by the gallant conduct of Richard Worsley, captain of the Island, who drove them to their ships in great confusion; having lost their admiral and a considerable body of men. After this the Island was more efficiently fortified; castles and forts were erected, to guard the most vulnerable parts of the coast.
The troubles which fell upon Britain in the seventeenth century shed their baneful influence on the Island. This beautiful spot fell into the hands of the Parliament, who converted its noble castle into a royal prison-house. One of the first acts of the new proprietors was to dismiss the Earl of Portland from his office as governor of the Island; after that, to expel his countess from the castle, and from having any residence in the Island. The Earl was dismissed, on the ground that he was secretly inclined to
They then invested the Earl of Pembroke with the office of governor; and after he vacated it, they consigned it to Colonel Hammond, to whom was committed the care of the unfortunate Charles I.
From this period the Island ceases to instruct by historic fact. This deeply interesting part of its history, which gives the ruins of Carisbrook a charm nearly equal to that which has been thrown over the mouldering walls of Kenilworth, by the magic sketches of the historic novelist, we have inserted in connexion with our description of the castle, as being more
*This circumstance produced such an impression, that the inhabitants, with whom he was a great favourite, presented a petition to the Commons on behalf of the Earl, stating at the same time, "We have not one professed papist in the Isle, or to our knowledge popishly affected, so rare a blessing in these times, as we suppose cannot be boasted in any tract of ground, of this extent, in all the kingdom of England." Worsley. p. 110.