NEWCHURCH, a parish in the hundred of East Medina, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 6 miles S.E. of Newport, its post town, and the same distance S.W. of Ryde. The parish, which is the most extensive in the isle, reaches from Ryde in the N. to Ventnor in the S. It is 9 miles by 1½ mile in extent, comprising the townships of Ryde, Ventnor, Wroxall, Winston, and Princelett. The two first are important towns, much frequented in the season for sea-bathing. The village of Christchurch is situated on the small river Brading, and is chiefly agricultural.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester, value £500, in the patronage of the Bishop of Gloucester and Bristol. The parish church, dedicated to All Saints, formerly belonged to Lyra Abbey. It is a small cruciform structure, situated on rising ground, and contains tombs of the Dillingtons. In addition to the parish church, there are the following district churches, viz: St. Thomas's (Ryde), Holy Trinity, St. Peter's (Haven-street), St. James's, and Ventnor, the livings of which are all perpetual curacies The churches are noticed under the several places where they are situated. The parochial charities produce about £16 per annum, of which £9 goes to Bowles's school. [See Ryde and Ventnor.]
KNIGHTON, a ruin in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 4 miles S.E. of Newport.
PRINCELETT, a village in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, county Hants.
SPRING VALE, a hamlet in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 2 miles S.E. of Ryde. It is close to the shore, and consists of about a dozen marine villas.
ST. CLARE, a hamlet in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, in the county of Hants, 1 mile E. of Ryde.
VENTNOR, a winter watering-place and rapidly rising town in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 9 miles S.E. of Newport, and 10 S. of Ryde, with which it is connected by the Isle of Wight railway, recently opened through Sandown and Shanklin. It is built on the estate of the Earl of Yarborough, and has grown up since 1820, when it was a mere hamlet. The town now contains more than 3,000 inhabitants. It is well provided with hotels, baths, assembly and reading-rooms, lodging-houses, and all the necessary appendages of a first-class watering-place. Its rapid rise is to be ascribed to its situation and salubrious air, which causes it to be sought as a winter residence by persons of consumptive and delicate constitutions, the climate being nearly three degrees in winter milder than that of the adjoining southern counties, and freer from rain and damp than any other place in England.
The older part of the village is situated close under the Undercliff, near the shore; but numerous roads have been carried up the sloping face of the cliff, and are now lined with villa residences, extending for nearly a mile along the Terrace-road. In the winter a comfortable warmth is secured by the shelter of the Undercliff on the N., and the lofty down of St. Boniface on the E., while in the summer the air is refreshed by the coolness of the sea-breezes from the W. and S. Here, when the temperature is 45° early in winter mornings, myrtles, fuchsias, and other delicate plants attain the size of shrubs. To the E. is the wild. scenery of Luccombe Chine, and to the W. is Ventnor Cove, where curious pebbles and small diamonds are occasionally found, while a steep pathway leads up the face of St. Boniface Down to the Wishing Well.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Winchester. The parish church, dedicated to St. Catherine, was erected at the expense of J. Hambrough, Esq., in 1837, by whom the parsonage and National schoolhouse were also built; this latter building, however, has recently been pulled down, and a schoolhouse for the education of both sexes, including infants, erected on the site, the expense being defrayed by a grant from the Committee of Council on Education and by voluntary contributions. A second church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity, was erected in 1861, by three ladies, the Misses Percy, and their sister Mrs. Thompson. The Wesleyans, Bible Christians, Plymouth Brethren, and Independents have each a chapel. Adjoining the Independents chapel is a British school. Steephill Castle stands about a mile on the road to St. Laurence, and was completed in 1835. A cave may be seen near the castle, a flagstaff marking its site.
WINSTON, a hamlet in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 6 miles S.E. of Newport.
WROXALL, a hamlet in the parish of Newchurch, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 7 miles S.E. of Newport, and 2 from Ventnor.
[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]