Newport, Isle of Wight
St Thomas' Church, seen in July 2010.
Newport shown within the Isle of Wight
|OS grid reference|
|– London||90.26 miles|
|Unitary authority||Isle of Wight|
|Ceremonial county||Isle of Wight|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Fire||Isle of Wight|
|Ambulance||Isle of Wight|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
|UK Parliament||Isle of Wight|
Newport is a civil parish and the county town of the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England, in the United Kingdom. Newport had a population of 23,957 according to the 2001 census, increasing to 25,496 at the 2011 census. The town is situated slightly to the north of the centre of the Island, at the head of the navigable section of the River Medina, which flows northward to Cowes and the Solent, and on which the town has a quay.
There are signs of Roman settlement in the area, which was probably known as Medina, including two known Roman villas, one of which, Newport Roman Villa, has been excavated and is open to the public.
Information about the area resumes after the Norman Conquest. The first charter was granted in the late 12th century. In 1377 an invading French force burnt down much of the town while attempting to take Carisbrooke Castle, then under the command of Sir Hugh Tyrill. A group of Frenchmen were captured and killed, then buried in a tumulus later nicknamed Noddies Hill, a "noddy" being medieval slang for a body. This was later corrupted to Nodehill, the present-day name for a part of central Newport – a name confusing to many as the area is flat.
In 1648 Charles I and a group of Parliamentary Commissioners concluded the Treaty of Newport, an attempt at reaching a compromise in the Civil War, undermined by Charles's negotiations with the French and Scots to intervene on his behalf. The Treaty was repudiated by Oliver Cromwell upon returning from defeating the Scots at the Battle of Preston. This led to Charles's execution.
The town had been incorporated as a borough in 1608. The town's position as an area of trade accessible to the sea meant it rapidly took over from nearby Carisbrooke as the main central settlement, eventually absorbing the latter as a suburb. The borough ceased to exist in 1974 when it was incorporated into the larger Borough of Medina, which was itself superseded in 1995 by a single unitary authority covering the whole of the Isle of Wight.
Newport since the 1960s has acquired new shopping facilities, a pedestrianised central square, and through road traffic redirected off many of the narrow streets. Newport Quay has been redeveloped with art galleries such as the Quay Arts Centre and new flats converted from old warehouses.
Geographically located in the centre of the Island at 50.701°N, 1.2883°W, Newport is the principal town of the Isle of Wight. Transport connections link all major towns to Newport; it is the main shopping centre and location for public services on the Island. The main A3020 and A3054 roads converge as Medina Way between the busy roundabouts at Coppins Bridge and St Mary's Hospital.
The nearest city to the town is Portsmouth, about 13 miles (21 km) north-east on Portsea Island, adjoining the mainland. More locally, Ryde, the Island's largest town, is to the north-east; Sandown and Shanklin are to the east, and Cowes to the north.
The River Medina runs through Newport; north of its confluence with the Lukely Brook at the town's quay it becomes a navigable tidal estuary.
Distance from surrounding settlements
- Cowes – 4.5 miles, 7 km
- East Cowes – 5 miles, 8 km
- Ryde – 7 miles, 11 km
- Shanklin – 9 miles, 15 km
- Sandown – 10 miles, 16 km
- Ventnor – 11 miles, 18 km
- Yarmouth, Isle of Wight – 10 miles, 16 km
The town's suburb of Parkhurst is home to two prisons: the notorious Parkhurst Prison and Albany; together they make up HMP Isle of Wight, the largest prison in the UK. Parkhurst and Albany were once among the few top-security prisons in the United Kingdom. Camp Hill was another prison in the area but closed in 2013.
Seaclose Park in Newport, on the east bank of the River Medina, has since 2002 been the location for the revived Isle of Wight Music Festival, held annually.
Newport bus station is the town's central bus terminus, with all routes in the town serving it. Newport is the hub of the Southern Vectis network, with routes from across the Island terminating there. Wightbus also operate services.
St. George's Park is the home of Newport Football Club, the most successful of the Island's football teams, currently playing in the Wessex League. It has a capacity of 3,000. The town is also represented by Newport Cricket Club, who play at Victoria recreational ground, Newport CC have two teams which compete in Harwoods Renault Divisions 1 and 2. The Isle of Wight County Cricket Ground is located at Newclose, on the outskirts of the town.
The town of Newport and adjoining village of Carisbrooke together have seven primary schools, three secondary schools, a sixth form campus, a further education college and two special schools. The primary schools located close to the town centre are Newport C of E Primary and Nine Acres Community Primary. Barton Primary is located on Pan estate, whilst Summerfields Primary is nearby on the Staplers estate, both to the east of the town. Hunnyhill Primary is situated on Forest Road to the north of the town, and there are two primary schools in Carisbrooke - Carisbrooke C of E Primary on Wellington Road and St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary on the High Street in the village centre.
The three secondary schools are Carisbrooke College, Medina College and Christ the King College. Carisbrooke College is located on a large site on the outskirts of Carisbrooke village, whilst Christ the King is just down the road occupying two former middle school sites on opposite sides of Wellington Road. Medina College is situated to the east of the town just off of Fairlee Road, along with Medina Leisure Centre and Medina Theatre. The Island Innovation VI Form Campus is the joint sixth form for Carisbrooke and Medina Colleges and is located in the town centre, on the former Nodehill Middle School site.
The Isle of Wight College is located to the north of the town centre close to St Mary's Roundabout and the large industrial estate. Medina House School is located between Pan and Staplers and St Georges School is located to the south of the town in the suburban Watergate Road.
From the Middle Ages the Parliamentary Borough of Newport had two seats in the House of Commons. Between 1807 and 1811 they were held by two future Prime Ministers: Arthur Wellesley, later to become the Duke of Wellington (who was also elected to two other seats at the same time) and Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston. Palmerston was eligible as an MP because his late father did not convert his Irish peerage into a United Kingdom peerage. The local patron arranging the deal was Sir Leonard Holmes, who made it a condition that they never visited the borough.
The borough was also represented by two other future Prime Ministers in the 1820s. George Canning was MP for Newport when appointed Prime Minister in 1827; however, under the law as it then stood a minister accepting office automatically vacated his seat and had to stand for re-election to the Commons, and Canning chose to stand at Seaford, a government pocket borough in Sussex, rather than fight Newport again. But in the by-election that followed at Newport, the town elected The Hon. William Lamb, later 2nd Viscount Melbourne, whose father had also represented the borough in the 1790s. However, Lamb remained MP for Newport for only two weeks before also being elected for Bletchingley, which he preferred to represent.
Newport's representation in Parliament was cut to one seat in 1867, and it was abolished altogether as a separate constituency in 1885. It now forms part of the Isle of Wight constituency.
Newport has been under a variety of administrations.
- Until 1974 Newport had its own Newport Borough Council.
- From 1974–1995 Newport was part of Medina Borough Council.
- In 1995 this was abolished and the Isle of Wight Council took over responsibility. Newport remained unparished until 2008, when the Isle of Wight Council Unitary Authority was created.
- Newport Town Management Committee was established in April 2006 by the Isle of Wight Council as an interim body for the town until the Government gave approval for a parish or town council. The Management Committee had no formal powers and was technically no more than an advisory committee to the Isle of Wight Council. However it was treated as a transitional authority, which acted in many ways as a town or parish council.
- The first election for Newport Parish Council occurred on 1 May 2008.
- Princess Elizabeth of England, daughter of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, is buried at St. Thomas's Church.
- Charlotte Anley, novelist and song writer, lived in the town in the mid-1820s.
- Maxwell Gray (Mary Gleed Tuttiett), writer
- Westmore Family, prominent family in Hollywood make-up.
- Kelly Sotherton, heptathlete
- Darren Mew, breaststroke swimmer
- Geoffrey Hughes, actor
- Phill Jupitus, comedian
- Gary Silk, footballer
- Craig Douglas, pop singer of the late 1950s and early 1960s
- Danny Briggs, cricketer
- David Griffiths, cricketer
- Anthony Minghella, film director
- Chris Russell, cricketer
- Mick Poole, judo player and wrestler
- Edward Vernon Utterson, lawyer, one of Six Clerks in Chancery, antiquary and editor
- Lewis Buxton, footballer (Bolton Wanderers)
- "Town population 2011". Retrieved 18 October 2011.
- M. L. Shackley: A Contextual Study of the Mousterian Industry at Great Pan Farm..., Proceedings of the Isle of Wight Natural History and Archaeological Society, 6:8, pp. 524 ff.
- The villa on public display was found in 1926. Excavations at the site demonstrate that the villa was built around 280 CE. The villa featured underfloor heating, elaborate hot and cold baths, sauna and massage rooms and a large kitchen.
- BRANNON'S PICTURE OF THE ISLE OF WIGHT; Or The Expeditious Traveller's Index to Its Prominent Beauties & Objects of Interest. Compiled Especially with Reference to Those Numerous Visitors Who Can Spare but Two or Three Days to Make the Tour of the Island, Printed and Published by George Brannon, Wootton, Isle of Wight, 1843 (various sources give dates of 1844, 1848, 1849, etc, possibly of other editions)
- "Queen Victoria memorial". Memorials & Monuments on the Isle of Wight. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
- Postal Museum official website.
- Isle of Wight Postal Museum, WightCAM – photographically illustrated walks on the Isle of Wight.
- IW County Record Office local government records
- "Newport Parish Council Homepage". www.iwight.gov.uk. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
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