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National Gazetteer (1868) - East Cowes

EAST COWES, a district in the parish of Whippingham, Isle of Wight, in the county of Hants, 5 miles N. of Newport. It is situated at the mouth of, the river Medina, opposite the town of West Cowes. Since Osborne has become the property of her Majesty, and been made her marine residence, the village has greatly increased in size, and at the last census contained 2,000 inhabitants. The Trinity Board have a station here, which serves for a landing-place for the Queen when bad weather hinders her Majesty from landing under Osborne. There was formerly a custom-house establishment here, but having been removed to West Cowes, the building has been converted into a coastguard station.

The living is a perpetual curacy, value £150, in the patronage of the Rector of Whippingham. The church, which was erected at the cost of £3,000, is dedicated to St. James. It is a plain Norman structure, with square tower, designed by Nash. The first stone was laid by her present Majesty, then Princess Victoria, in 1831, and the church was finished in 1833. The Independents and Primitive Methodists have chapels, and there are spacious National schools for boys and girls. The neighbourhood contains some handsome residences, and the mild climate and picturesque scenery make it a most desirable place' of abode.

The following places are most conspicuous in the vicinity - Osborne House, the marine residence of her Majesty; and adjoining it, on the brow of a hill overlooking the village, is East Cowes Castle, a Gothic mansion, built by Nash, the architect of Buckingham Palace; its picturesque turret, rising boldly over the wooded screen which embosoms it, forms a pleasing addition to the scenery of the coast; Spring Hill, the house of George Shedden, Esq., stands on the brow of a hill, and commands an extensive and magnificent view. To the E. is Portsmouth, with its shipping, and the wooded shores of the Isle of Wight; to the W. is Chaloot Castle and the New Forest, with the Southampton river and the Solent Sea in the distance, flanked by the towers and spires of the busy town of Southampton. Near this lovely spot is Norris Castle, with its clustering towers, once the residence of her Majesty, when Princess Victoria, and of the late Duchess of Kent.

[Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]