Mason's Guide (1876) - East Cowes
East Cowes, to which there is a steam-ferry, is a place of some bustle and business. It is not in itself attractive, but from its nearness to the marine residence of the Queen, the number and beauty of the seats, as well as the features of the country, a large number of visitors resort hither. Close by is East Cowes Castle, built by, and for some years the residence of Mr. Nash, the architect. It is a large castellated mansion and when beheld from the sea, or the opposite banks of the Medina, with its towers and battlements rising above the luxuriant plantations around, has a fine and pleasing effect. Further on is Norris Castle, also castellated Gothic, built with stone so prepared as to imitate the stains of time, and, from the profusion of ivy which mantle over its lofty turrets, has a venerable and ancient appearance. Here the Queen (then Princess Victoria) and the Duchess of Kent resided in 1831. On the acclivity to the south of the town, a large park has been laid out, and an enormous sum expended in preparing the site for villa residences, of which there are many erected. Although the site is a most agreeable one, the enterprise of the proprietor has not yet been adequately rewarded. THE CHURCH dedicated to St. James, is the chapel-of-ease to the parish of Whippingham. The ceremony of laying the first stone was performed by Her Majesty (when Princess Victoria) in 1831. The church has recently been very extensively improved. CHAPELS.- The Congregationalists, Wesleyans, and the Primitive Methodists have each places of worship here. The Medina is the principal hotel, attached to which are assembly rooms. In its immediate vicinity are baths which afford the usual accommodation.
[Description(s) from Mason's Guide to the Isle of Wight (1876)]