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St Helens

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"ST. HELEN'S, a parish in the East Medina liberty, Isle of Wight, county Hants, 4 miles S.E. of Ryde, and 9 E. of Newport. The village of St. Helen's Green is finely situated on the bay called St. Helen's Road, near Brading Harbour. The parish includes the ecclesiastical district of Oakfield, or Seavil, and the hamlets of Sea-View, and Spring Vale, and Nettlestone. A Cluniac priory was founded here in 1115, which was subsequently given by Edward IV. to Eton College, Windsor. The remains of the ancient watch-tower belonging to the priory, now converted into a gentleman's seat, still crown the cliffs overlooking the sea, and command views of the Hampshire and Sussex coasts. In the Roads outside Spithead there is anchorage in three to five fathoms, with some dangerous rocks and sandbanks in the vicinity, but much used in time of war as a rendezvous of the royal navy. "

[From The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]

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