Though the Victorians popularised the Isle of Wight as a holiday destination, the islanders have been here since the Stone Age. The Romans conquered the Isle of Wight in 43AD and seemed to have lived in relative harmony with the native inhabitants for around 400 years. Saxon times were less settled until the West Saxon King Caedwalla brought Christianity to the island in the late 7th century.
The Normans built a castle at Carisbrooke on the site of an old Roman fortification but being inland this not help defend the island during the 100 years war with France, as a result Henry VIII ordered defences be built at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown.
When England was under threat from the Spanish Armada Elizabeth I moved to Carisbrooke and oversaw the fortification of the castle’s defences. Despite the fact that Parliament had control of the Isle of Wight from the outset of the Civil War, Charles I made for here upon his escape from Hampton Court, only to be imprisoned once again.
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