Newport, Isle of Wight

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St Thomas' Square, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK.jpg
St Thomas' Church, set within St Thomas's Square
Newport is located in Isle of Wight
Location within the Isle of Wight
Area54.4439 km2 (21.0209 sq mi) [1]
Population25,496 (2011)
• Density468/km2 (1,210/sq mi)
OS grid referenceSZ502893
• London90.26 miles
Civil parish
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Historic county
  • Hampshire
Post townNEWPORT
Postcode districtPO30
Dialling code01983
FireHampshire and Isle of Wight
AmbulanceIsle of Wight
UK Parliament
List of places
Isle of Wight
50°42′04″N 1°17′18″W / 50.7010°N 1.2883°W / 50.7010; -1.2883Coordinates: 50°42′04″N 1°17′18″W / 50.7010°N 1.2883°W / 50.7010; -1.2883

Newport is the county town of the Isle of Wight, an island county off the south coast of England. Newport forms a civil parish with Carisbrooke,[2][3] the parish having a population of 23,957 at the time of the 2001 census, rising to 25,496 at the 2011 census,[4] and estimated at 25,926 in 2018.[5] The town is slightly north of the centre of the island. It has a quay at the head of the navigable section of the River Medina, which flows northwards to Cowes and the Solent.


Newport High Street, circa 1910
New Redevelopment of the old bus station.

Mousterian remains, featuring tools made by Neanderthals at least 40,000 years ago, were found at Great Pan Farm in the 1970s.[6]

There are signs of Roman settlement in the area, which was probably known as Medina. They include two known Roman villas, one of which, Newport Roman Villa, has been excavated and opened to the public.[7]

Information on 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 name for a part of central Newport – a name that seems inappropriate, as the area is flat.[8]

In 1648 Charles I and a group of Parliamentary Commissioners concluded the Treaty of Newport, an attempt to reach a compromise in the Civil War that was 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.

The Drill hall in Newport opened as the headquarters of the Isle of Wight Rifle Volunteers in 1860.[9]

Newport since the 1960s has acquired new shopping facilities and a pedestrianised central square. Through road traffic has ceased in 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.

The Queen Victoria Memorial was designed by local architect Percy Stone (1856–1934).[10]


A map showing Newport.
An aerial photograph, showing Newport (bottom left).

Geographically located in the centre of the Isle of Wight, at 50.701°N, 1.2883°W, Newport is the principal town on the island. It has public transport connections with all the island's major towns. It serves as the island's main shopping centre and location for public services. The main A3020 and A3054 roads converge as Medina Way between the busy roundabouts at Coppins Bridge and St Mary's Hospital.

Newport railway station was the hub of the Island's rail network until the mid-20th century, but closed in 1966. The site is now occupied by the dual-carriageway A3020 Medina Way.

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


The town's suburb of Parkhurst houses two prisons: the notorious Parkhurst Prison and Albany. Together they make up HMP Isle of Wight, which is 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 it closed in 2013.


View of Newport from Mount Joy, looking north with the Medina estuary in the distance

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, which is held once a year. Newport is home to the Postal Museum, possibly the largest private collection of vintage postal equipment and post boxes in the world.[11][12]

Newport bus station is the town's central bus terminus. It acts as the hub of the Southern Vectis network, with routes from across the Island terminating there.


St George's Park is the home of Newport Football Club, the most successful of the Island's football teams, currently play in the Wessex League. The stadium has a capacity of 3,000. In 2018, an application was approved unanimously by the Isle of Wight council for a new stadium off the racecourse roundabout near Newport. This will be the new stadium for Newport (IW) F.C., so that St George's Park can be turned into an out-of-town retail area. The town is also represented by Newport Cricket Club, which plays at Victoria recreation ground. Its two teams 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 the 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 on Pan estate, while Summerfields Primary is nearby on the Staplers estate, both to the east of the town. Hunnyhill Primary is situated in Forest Road to the north of the town. There are two primary schools in Carisbrooke: Carisbrooke C of E Primary in Wellington Road and St Thomas of Canterbury Catholic Primary in 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 Fairlee Road, along with Medina Leisure Centre and Medina Theatre. The Island Innovation VI Form Campus is the joint sixth form for the Carisbrooke and Medina colleges. It is located in the town centre, on the site of the former Nodehill Middle School.

The Isle of Wight College stands 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 to the south of the town in the suburban Watergate Road.


Parliamentary representation[edit]

Isle of Wight Crown Court in Newport.
Newport High Street

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, which would have confined him to the House of Lords. 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. However, 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 abolished altogether as a separate constituency in 1885. It now belongs to the Isle of Wight constituency.

Local council[edit]

Newport has had a variety of local government administrations.

  • Until 1974 Newport had its own local authority, Newport Borough Council, which until 1967 was based at Newport Guildhall.[13]
  • In 1974–1995 Newport was under Medina Borough Council.[13]
  • In 1995 this was abolished and the Isle of Wight Council, based at County Hall, took over responsibility. Newport remained unparished until 2008, when the Isle of Wight Council Unitary Authority was created.[13]
  • 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.[14]
  • The first election to Newport Parish Council occurred on 1 May 2008.[14]

Notable people[edit]

In birth order:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Office of National Statistics: QS102EW - Population density retrieved 30 May 2017
  2. ^ "Newport and Carisbrooke". Mapit. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Name of meeting" (PDF). Isle of Wight Council. Retrieved 29 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Town population 2011". Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  5. ^ City Population site. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ The villa was found in 1926. Excavations show it was built about 280 CE. The villa featured underfloor heating, elaborate hot and cold baths, sauna and massage rooms and a large kitchen.
  8. ^ 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 for other editions).
  9. ^ "Newport". Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Queen Victoria memorial". Memorials & Monuments on the Isle of Wight. 24 July 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  11. ^ "Home".
  12. ^ Isle of Wight Postal Museum Archived 18 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, WightCAM – photographically illustrated walks on the Isle of Wight.
  13. ^ a b c "IW County Record Office local government records". Archived from the original on 29 August 2008.
  14. ^ a b "Newport Parish Council Homepage". Archived from the original on 19 October 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.

External links[edit]