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Lüneburg Heath (German: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in the northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve. Northern Low Saxon is still widely spoken in the region.

 

Lüneburg Heath has extensive areas of heathland, typical of those that covered most of the North German countryside until about 1800, but which have almost completely disappeared in other areas. The heaths were formed after the Neolithic period by overgrazing of the once widespread forests on the poor sandy soils of the geest, as this slightly hilly and sandy terrain in northern Europe is called. The Lüneburg Heath is therefore a historic cultural landscape. The remaining areas of heath are kept clear mainly through grazing, especially by a North German breed of moorland sheep called the Heidschnucke. Due to its unique landscape, Lüneburg Heath is a popular tourist destination in North Germany.

 

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION

From a geographical point of view, Lüneburg Heath is a specific natural region, that is an area distinguished by a specific combination of abiotic factors (climate, relief, water resources, soil, geology) and biotic factors (flora and fauna). Lüneburg Heath is a sub-division of the North European Plain. In the list of the major natural regions of Germany issued by the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) it is region number D28.

 

Lüneburg Heath covers an area which includes the districts (Landkreise) of Celle, Gifhorn, Heidekreis, Uelzen, Lüneburg, Lüchow-Dannenberg, southeast Rotenburg (the town of Visselhövede, Fintel, part of the municipality of Scheeßel and the eastern half of Bothel) and the rural district of Harburg. The easternmost fringes of the Stade Geest belonging to Landkreis Verden are called the Linteln Geest (Lintelner Geest) or Verden Heath (Verdener Heide) and form part of the municipality of Kirchlinteln. This region has no sharply defined boundary with the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Lüneburg Heath lies between the rivers Elbe to the north, the Drawehn to the east, the Aller to the south and southwest, the middle course of the Wümme to the west and the Harburg Hills (Harburger Berge) to the northwest.

 

On the northwestern edge of Lüneburg Heath are the Harburg Hills and south of Schneverdingen there are bogs, such as the Pietzmoor. Also of note are other smaller bogs in sinkholes, like the Grundloses Moor ("bottomless bog") near Walsrode or the Bullenkuhle near Bokel (part of Sprakensehl). The eastern boundary to the Wendland is formed by the Göhrde-Drawehn Hills (the Ostheide natural region). Parts of Lüneburg Heath are in the Südheide Nature Park, others in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park.

 

HILLS

The highest elevation on Lüneburg Heath is the Wilseder Berg (169.2 metres) above NN). Other hills over 100 metres high are: Falkenberg (150 metres), near Bergen, Ahrberg (145 metres), Hakenberg (143 metres), Hoher Mechtin (142 metres), Pampower Berg (140 metres), Lüßberg (130 metres), Brunsberg, near Sprötze (129 metres), Goldbockenberg (129 metres), Hingstberg (126 metres), Staffelberg (126 metres), Hengstberg (121 metres), Höpenberg near Schneverdingen (120 metres), Haußelberg (119.1 metres), Breithorn (118 metres), Mützenberg (115 metres ), Tellmer Berg (113 metres), Wümmeberg (107.9 metres), Schiffberg (107 metres), Hummelsberg and Wulfsberg (each 106 metres), Drullberg and Thonhopsberg (each 104 metres), Kruckberg and Wietzer Berg (each 102 metres) and Höllenberg (101 metres).

 

Several of these hills - the Wilseder Berg, the Falkenberg, the Haußelberg and the Breithorn - were used by the mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, as triangulation stations in his topographical surveys of the Kingdom of Hanover from 1821–1825.

 

RIVERS AND STREAMS

Rivers in the area, beside the numerous small heathland streams, include the Wümme, which rises on the western slopes of the Wilseder Berg, in the south the Lachte with its tributary the Lutter, and the Aller, the Vissel, the Böhme, the Grindau, the Meiße and the Örtze. They all belong to the Weser river system. Those flowing into the Elbe are the Aue, the Ilmenau, the Luhe and the Seeve.

 

GEOLOGY

The immediate subsurface layers on Lüneburg Heath are almost exclusively made up of deposits from the quaternary ice age. The landscape consists of flat plains of ground moraines, ridges of hilly terminal moraines and also of sandar - glacial outwash plains deposited at the edge of the ice sheet.

 

During the Saalian Stage (230,000–130,000 years ago) the area of the present-day Lüneburg Heath was covered three times by a continental ice sheet. In the last glacial period (110,000–10,000 years ago) the ice sheet no longer covered the Lüneburg Heath area; it reached only as far as the River Elbe. Due to the lack of vegetation, the much more rugged terrain at that time was heavily eroded by water, wind and by soil fluction; this resulted in valleys like the Totengrund. The material displaced by erosion, referred to as sediment (Geschiebedecksand), has a depth of 0.4 to 0.8 metres (on slopes up to 1.5 metres).

 

The region is mostly covered by a heathland landscape consisting of big heather and juniper areas, forests and some smaller swamps. In contrast to the areas in the north of Lüneburg Heath, the landscape is very hilly, as it is placed on a terminal moraine.

 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

Lüneburg Heath is divided into the following natural sub-divisions:

 

HIGH HEATH

The Hohe Heide ("High Heath") consists of a series of end moraines from the glaciers of the Saalian glaciation (230,000–130,000 years ago) with the Wilseder Berg at its heart. Unlike the other natural divisions of Lüneburg Heath, the terrain is quite rugged. Characteristic of the area are dry hilltops, periglacial dry valleys and hollows like the Totengrund. Heathland dominates the landscape. They are part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park and of great importance for tourism. In addition there are also extensive pine forests.

 

SOUTH HEATH

The South Heath (Südheide) is dominated by expanses of gently undulating, hilly Sander plains, and sheets of ground moraine and the remains of end moraines from earlier ice ages. There are still large areas of heath on the military training areas near Bad Fallingbostel and Munster (Örtze); these are out-of-bounds to visitors however. The Osterheide near Schneverdingen also belongs to this natural subdivision. It is part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve. Near Schneverdingen and south of Soltau there are several bogs. A large area of the Südheide is covered by pine forests.

 

EAST HEATH

Numerous end moraines run through the Ostheide ("East Heath") which stretches on the eastern edge of Lüneburg Heath from Lüneburg to north of Wolfsburg. In parts of this region the land is intensively cultivated. The northern area, the so-called Göhrde and the Drawehn, are by contrast mostly wooded like the southern ridge of end moraine.

 

UELZEN BASIN AND ILLMENAU DEPRESSION

The ground moraine landscape of the Uelzen Basin is predominantly used for agriculture. On the surrounding ridges there are also a few pine forests however. There are still large areas of heath here as well, for example the Ellerndorfer Heide ("Ellerndorf Heath") in western Uelzen district or the Klein Bünstorfer Heide ("Klein Bünstorf Heath").

 

LUHEHEIDE

The ridges of end moraine on the Luheheide have clearly defined slopes that fall away sharply to the Elbe Valley. The heath is deeply incised by all the rivers that drain northwards to the Elbe; rivers such as the Seeve, Aue, Luhe (Ilmenau). The ridges between them are wooded and sparsely populated. Settlements are crowded together in the valleys. There is hardly any heathland left in this area, it has been largely reforested by pines.

 

CLIMATE

Lüneburg Heath lies in a temperate maritime climatic region moderated by the Atlantic, with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation all-year round. The Hohe Heide, however, has a "low mountain climate" with lower temperatures and higher precipitation than in the surrounding area.

 

NATURE

NATURE PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES

In the northwestern part of Lüneburg Heath is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park which covers an area of 1,130 square kilometres. At its heart, around the Wilseder Berg, is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve (Naturschutzgebiet or NSG) founded as long ago as 1921 with 234 square kilometres of land which is roughly 58% woods and 20% heathland. Other nature parks in the Lüneburg Heath region are the Südheide Nature Park and Elbufer-Drawehn Nature Park. Right in the north of the area is the Harburg Hills Nature Park. The Lüneburg Heath NSG, together with the open heathland of the huge Munster Nord and Süd training areas and the Bergen-Hohne Training Area, is the largest single area of heathland in Central Europe. And within the former province (Regierungsbezirk) of Lüneburg there are no less than 212 individual nature reserves (as at 31 December 2006).

 

FORMATION OF THE HEATH LANDSCAPE

After the end of the Weichselian Ice Age (115,000 to 10,000 years ago) the first woods appeared in the area that now forms Lüneburg Heath which, following the natural ecological succession and encouraged by a gradual improvement in the climate, progressed from birch and pine forest through hazel woods to light woods of sessile oaks.

 

The heath and its surrounding area belong to those regions of the North German Plain in which the hunter culture of the Mesolithic era was superseded quite early on by Neolithic farmers. By about 3000 BC, during the Neolithic, large open areas appeared on the lightly undulating, sandy stretches of geest on Lüneburg Heath. This was a result of the intensive grazing of the sessile oak woods and the associated destruction of successive new stands of trees. These open areas became dominated by the common heather (Calluna vulgaris), a largely grazing-resistant species of plant. Nevertheless, oak and beech woods succeeded time and again in establishing themselves wherever man left areas of heath untended. Over a long period of time the region of Lüneburg Heath alternated between periods when the heathlands spread and dominated the scene and times when it was largely covered with forest and only small areas of heath existed. Finally, after the migration period, the wooded areas of the region increased considerably.

 

Not until after 1000 AD does the pollen analysis show a continuous reduction in the woodlands and a considerable increase in heather. This was brought about by a change from nomadic farming to settled farming with permanent settlements. The typical heath farming economy emerged: due to the poor soils the few available nutrients from a large area were concentrated on relatively small fields, from which grain, in particular, could be produced. This was achieved by the regular removal of the turf (a method known as Plaggen), which was used as hay for the pens of the moorland sheep, the Heidschnucken. This was then enriched with the manure and urine of the sheep – and spread over the fields as fertiliser.

 

By cutting the turf the regenerative capacity of the soils was exhausted. The regular removal of the top layer of soil contributed to the spreading of heathland. As heather decomposes, the pH value of the soil falls drastically, as far as the iron buffer-region at pH 3, which initiates the process of podsolisation. Soil life is severely damaged, which results in a hard layer of earth underneath the root zone on the heath at a depth of about 40 centimetres. The iron and humus particles released by the topsoil precipitate onto this impervious hardpan. The subsoil thus separates itself from the topsoil. The nutrients are largely washed out of the topsoil which leads to leaching and causes the typical grey-white coloration of the paths on the heath.

 

The oft-expressed view in the literature that the heath arose in the Middle Ages as a result of the demand for wood by the Lüneburg salt pans is incorrect. The Lüneburg salt ponds certainly needed firewood for the production of salt, but they did not appear until around 1000 AD, by which time the heath had already been around for 4,000 years. The amount required, even in the heyday of production, could have been continuously supplied by an area of woodland about 50 km2 in area, yet the heath covers over 7000 km2. In any case the wood certainly did not come from the heath, but via the waterways, especially from Mecklenburg up the Elbe and from the area of the Schaalsee. Transportation overland would have been far too expensive (apart from the River Ilmenau which was navigable at the time, no rivers flow from the main areas of heathland to Lüneburg), as can be seen not only from some of the delivery notes which still survive, but also from the fact that there are still large woods around Lüneburg itself, such as the Göhrde. Finally heathland has frequentely developed in areas where there are no salt pans, such as the sheep-grazing regions on the coasts of Norway to Portugal and in Scotland and Ireland.

 

The heath is not therefore a natural landscape, but a cultural landscape created by the intervention of man. In order to prevent its semi-open heathland from being repopulated by trees, especially pines and, to a lesser extent, silver birches, which would cause the loss of this millennia-old environment and its many inhabitants, including often very rare animal and plant species, sheep are allowed to graze it regularly; these are almost exclusively the local German moorland sheep, the Heidschnucke.

 

PLANT POPULATION/PHYTOCENOSIS

In the 20th century, numerous conservation measures were implemented on Lüneburg Heath; as a result, it is one of the best researched regions of central Europe.

 

- Heathland

Sand heaths form about 20% of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and may be broken down into further sub-divisions, the most important being:

 

- Ordinary sand heath (Typische Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum)

In addition to the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) only a few taller plants occur here, none of which can be classed as characteristic species. Amongst them are the wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and common juniper (Juniperus communis). Ordinary sand heath is the most widespread of the heathland types. Its proportion has increased in recent decades at the expense of other heath habitats. This reduction in the variety of heathland types may be due to increasing nitrogen levels from the air, the increase in plant litter (Rohhumusauflagen) and the natural ageing of the heathland.

 

- Lichen-rich sand heath (Flechtenreiche Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum cladonietosum)

The lichen-rich sand heaths can be told apart from the other types of heathland by the presence of various cup lichens (Cladonia), ciliated fringewort (Ptilidium ciliare) and juniper haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum). They occur frequently on dry, south-facing slopes. This type of heath is found west of Niederhaverbeck and near Sundermühlen.

 

- Clay heath (Lehmheide, Genisto-callunetum danthonietusum)

This can be identified by the presence of heath grass (Danthonia decumbens), pill sedge (Carex pilulifera), mat grass (Nardus stricta), fine-leaved sheep's-fescue (Festuca filiformis), mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) and field wood-rush (Luzula campestris). Clay heaths have become very rare within the Lüneburg Heath. They are found on the Wilseder Berg and south of Niederhaverbeck.

 

- Blueberry sand heath (Heidelbeer-Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Vaccinium myrtillus Rasse)

Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are the signature species of this type of heath and, more rarely, cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Blueberry heath is the second most common type of vegetation on the heathlands and occurs especially on northern slopes, the edges of woods and thick juniper hedges. This type of heath is particularly characteristic of the northern slopes of the Wilseder Berg, as well as the Steingrund and Totengrund. In those places, cranberries have even ousted the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) in places.

 

- Wet sand heath (Feuchte Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Molinia-Variante)

Wet sand heath is the ideal habitat for purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) and scirpus (Scirpus cespitosus). It occurs in places close to the water table and in the transition zone around bogs. Its primary locations are areas north of Wilsede and near the Hörpel Ponds (Hörpeler Teichen).

 

WOODS

The greater part (about 58%) of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve consists of woods, primarily pine forests, which were planted in the second half of the 19th century on former heathland and drifting sand. In some cases the dunes simply became naturally overgrown, again with pines. There are only a very few old stands of sessile oaks, which stem from the logging industry during the time of the Kingdom of Hanover. In many parts of the nature reserve there are so-called Stühbüsche (a form of coppice), trees that were coppiced by repeatedly being cut short. In the meantime they have grown wild again and have a characteristic and unusual appearance with their multiple trunks. Near Wilsede there is the remnant of a Hutewald, a wood pasture with giant, multi-stemmed beech trees.

 

BOGS

The largest bog on Lüneburg Heath is the Pietzmoor, which lies east of Schneverdingen. It was drained however and peat was cut there until the 1960s. The Nature Park Association carried out work in the 1980s to try and turn it back to its natural waterlogged state. For example, some of the drainage ditches were filled which led to a considerable rise in the water levels of the former peat cuts. However typical bog vegetation has not yet re-established itself.[8]

 

ANIMALS

Many species of animal live on Lüneburg Heath, particularly birds that are at home in the wide, open landscape, some of which are seriously threatened by the intensive-farming techniques in other areas. These include the: black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), the nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the woodlark (Lullula arborea), the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), the wryneck (Jynx torquilla), the European green woodpecker (Picus viridis), the stonechat (Saxicola torquata), the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata), the common quail (Coturnix coturnix) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra). In the Lüneburg Heath the population of the very rare black grouse is rising continually. In 2007 78 were counted, 13 more than in the previous year. Since 2003 the number of grouse has doubled.

 

Wolves, although once extinct in the area, have returned to the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Numerous species including European bison, moose and brown bear which once inhabited the region may be seen in the Lüneburg Heath Wildlife Park alongside more exotic animals like snow leopards and Arctic wolves.

 

CULTURE AND HISTORY

EARLY HISTORY

Pollen analyses show that the dry geest soils of North Germany have been cultivated since about 3000 BC. Clearance by fire and the cultivation of crops on the Pleistocene sandy soils quickly led however to soil degradation. So the land cleared by fire could only be used for a short time. The settlements moved frequently and woods elsewhere were cleared. Even at that time the first Calluna (heather) heaths appeared (see above). Evidence of relatively dense settlement is found especially in Uelzen district. On Lüneburg Heath there are numerous Megalithic sites and tumuli from the Neolithic and the early Bronze Age. The most famous are the Oldendorfer Totenstatt (Oldendorf Gravesite) and the Sieben Steinhäuser (Seven Stone Houses). But even in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve there are more than a thousand tumuli, especially near Nieder- and Oberhaverbeck. The largest of these tumuli is the so-called Prince's Grave (Fürstengrab). Also near Wilsede there is the well-known stone and juniper group known as Hannibal's Grave (Hannibals Grab).

 

TRANSITION TO SETTLEMENT CULTURE

After the withdrawal of the Lombards in the migration period, from about 700 AD Lüneburg Heath belonged to the Duchy of Saxony, which was conquered by Charlemagne in the 9th century and became part of the Frankish Empire. The resulting close control of the population and the Christianization meant that the rural settlements had to stay in one place and could no longer move about freely. The land had to be farmed more intensively which led to the heathland spreading.

 

SETTLEMENTS

Lüneburg Heath was always relatively sparsely populated due to the poor soils in the area. The region was dominated by heath farming which was a less intensive form of land usage necessary for its large areas of barren terrain and heathland. An important economic sideline of past centuries was heathland beekeeping. The villages were usually encircled by small tracts of woodland, sometimes interrupted by fields or meadows, and merged without clear boundaries into the surrounding landscape. The farmsteads were arranged relatively arbitrarily, many stood very close to one another; others were spread out at some distance from each other. They were loose cluster villages (lockere Haufendörfer). In order to prevent cattle trampling flat the gardens attached to the houses, village roads were enclosed with wooden fences and, later, with characteristic stone walls. The typical design of farmhouse was the Fachhallenhaus, a large timber-framed single building, in which people and animals lived under a single roof. Each village had relatively few complete farms; in Wilsede there were only four, in the church village (Kirchdorf) of Undeloh there were eleven, but that was an exception. In addition there were Koten (small, single houses), sheep pens and shared bakehouses. The farms themselves, however, were very large. In Wilsede all the features of a heath village described here may still be seen. Wilsede Heath Museum (Heidemuseum Wilsede) was established in a Fachhallenhaus and it gives an insight into the working and living conditions of a heathland farm around 1850. Walsrode Heath Museum was one of the first German open air museums and also portrays the life of heathland folk. In rural parts of the region they still sometimes use today a Low German dialect called Heidjerisch. This word derives from the name given to inhabitants of the Lüneburg Heath – the Heidjer.

 

HEATH CONVENTS

In the Lüneburg Heath region, six nunneries from the Middle Ages survived, which became Protestant convents after the Reformation. These establishments are the abbeys of: Ebstorf, Isenhagen, Lüne, Medingen, Wienhausen and Walsrode.

 

THE END OF THE HEATHLAND FARMING IN THE 19TH CENTURY

From 1831 feudalism was abolished in the Kingdom of Hanover and those heathland areas that were common land for the villages were divided amongst the individual farmers. Heathland farming died out at the end of the 19th century. Many farmers sold their land to the Prussian treasury or the Hanover monastic chamber, who afforested the land with pines. As a result, the area of heath was drastically reduced.

 

In 1800, large parts of Northwest Germany had been covered with heaths and bog. Today, by contrast the only large, continuous areas of heath remaining are in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and on a few military training areas.

The changing perception of the heath

As late as the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, the barren and almost treeless heathlands were still perceived as hostile and threatening environments, as evinced by two travel logs of journeys between 1799 and 1804:

 

As I had traversed the Hanoverian dominions in so many directions, I did not expect to find nature clothed in charms, or a high degree of population, fertility, and cultivation. Next to Lauenburg, I think it is the worst tract of an equal extent that I ever met with. The soil is one vast sandy desert, which is either naturally bare, or covered with patches of heath or grass.

 

- Charles Gottlob Küttner: Travels through Denmark, Sweden, Austria and part of Italy, in 1798 & 1799. London 1805.

 

On leaving Zell we passed through a dark wood, of at least two leagues in extent; and from that city to Harburgh, in a line of nearly twenty German miles, we travelled over sandy plains and extensive heaths. At a great distance, geese, ducks and sheep of a very poor appearance, never failed to indicate the vicinity of some wretched hamlet. What habitations! Whole families, of the most wretched appearance, and covered with tattered garments, associate together, eat and sleep with their cattle. Near these real catacombs we observed growing a few stalks of rye and barley, and here and there a few tufu of buck-wheat. The straw is short and stunted, and the ears of a diminutive size. Population and agriculture must ever be dependant on each other.

 

- Michel Ange Mangourit: Travels in Hanover, during the years 1803 and 1804. London 1806.

 

The poem Der Heideknabe ("The Heath Lad") from the year 1844 by Friedrich Hebbel stresses the unearthly atmosphere and the bleak solitude of the heaths:

 

:(...) Out, out of the town! And there it stretches,

The heath, misty, ghostly,

The wind swishing over it,

Oh, every step here is like a thousand others!

 

And all so still, and all so quiet,

You look around for signs of life,

Only hungry birds dart by

Out of the clouds, to spear worms (...).

 

Towards the middle of the 19th century the first positive descriptions of the heath emerged, initially inspired by the romantic movement. With the Industrial Revolution in Germany, unspoilt nature became more important for people, providing a welcome contrast with the rapidly burgeoning cities. Because the heathlands of North Germany were being increasingly decimated by cultivation and reforestation, they now appeared to be worth protecting. Numerous writers and painters portrayed the beauty of the heath, particularly when it was in bloom in August and September. One important heathland artist was Eugen Bracht. The most famous heath poet was the local writer Hermann Löns (1866–1914), who spent some time living in a hunting lodge near Westenholz. He worked the heath countryside into his books and promoted the foundation of the first German nature reserve on Lüneburg Heath. His purported remains were buried in a juniper copse at Tietlingen near Walsrode in 1935. His works were a source for Heimatfilme that were shot on Lüneburg Heath, such as Grün ist die Heide ("The Heath Is Green") from 1932 and remade in 1951 and 1972, as well as Rot ist die Liebe ("Red is Love") from 1956.

 

HISTORY OF CONSERVATION ON LÜNEBURG HEATH

Around 1900, there were growing demands to save the heathland and bogs of northwest Germany, which were threatened by reforestation and drainage. On Lüneburg Heath, Wilhelm Bode, then the pastor at Egestorf, was particularly active in pressing for the preservation of the endangered countryside. He had learned in 1905 of plans for building weekend houses on the Totengrund. In order to prevent this, he persuaded Andreas Thomsen, a professor from Münster, to acquire the area as a nature reserve. In 1909, Pastor Bode and district administrator (Landrat) Fritz Ecker prevented the planned reforestation of the Wilseder Berg.

 

In the same year, an appeal by Curt Floerike appeared in Kosmos magazine, citing the establishment of national parks in the United States and calling for them in Germany. In order to realise this goal, the Nature Park Society or Verein Naturschutzpark (VNP) was founded in Munich on 23 October 1909. They planned to create national parks in the Alps, the Central Uplands and in the north German geest region. By 1913, the society had 13,000 members.

 

The area of Lüneburg Heath near Wilsede was selected as the location for the north German national park. Using the VNP's funds, more than 30 km² of heathland were purchased or rented by 1913. In 1921, a police ordinance placed more than 200 km² of Lüneburg Heath under protection, the first time this had been achieved in Germany. One problem that arose as early as the 1920s was the steadily increasing number of visitors. In 1924, in order to keep visitors away from sensitive areas of heathland, a volunteer Heath Guard (Heidewacht) was founded.

 

The Reich conservation law was passed in 1933 and Lüneburg Heath was designated as an official nature reserve. Although plans to build a motorway through the park and for the heath to be used as a military training area were stopped, in 1933 the Heidewacht was disbanded, mainly because it was made up of members of social democratic youth organisations. In 1939, a new law that granted the chairman of the VNP – now called Führer – wide-ranging powers. Jews could no longer be members of the society.

 

Between 1891 and the Second World War, large military training areas were established on Lüneburg Heath, including the largest one in Europe, the Bergen-Hohne Training Area on the Südheide. Here the heathland has largely been preserved, albeit no longer accessible to the general public.

 

A large area of the nature park belonging to the society near Schneverdingen was taken over by the British Army of the Rhine in 1945 for use as a tank training area. In the 1950s, during military exercises, British tanks even pushed forward as far as the Wilseder Berg. Not until the Soltau-Lüneburg Agreement, was signed in 1959 between the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, were the boundaries of the tank training area fixed. Continual exercising over the area by armoured vehicles completely destroyed the vegetation on the Osterheide near Schneverdingen, forming large areas of sand dunes. In 1994, the British returned the so-called "Red Areas" of the Soltau-Lüneburg Training Area to the Nature Park Society who, with the help of money from the federal government, set about the work of renaturation. Nowadays hardly any traces of the tank training area are left. The base camp for military exercises, Reinsehlen Camp, has been turned into a nature reserve.

 

FOREST FIRE

In August 1975, fire broke out on the Südheide which turned out to be the biggest forest fire in West Germany to that date. Serious forest fires broke out in the southern part of the area near Stüde, Neudorf-Platendorf, Meinersen and then by Eschede near Celle, with devastating effects and fatalities.

 

TOURISM

Today the area is a popular tourist destination. Contributing to this are the theme park, Heidepark Soltau, the Walsrode Bird Park, the Serengeti Safari Park at Hodenhagen, Snow Dome Bispingen, and a Center Parc as well as the many farms offering holiday stays, making the Lüneburg Heath especially popular for families. Another group of tourists are the elderly on free guided bus tours (Kaffeefahrten), stopping for coffee and wool plaids at a farm before touring Lüneburg for an hour.

 

Kunststätte Bossard in the Nordheide near Jesteburg is an expressionist Gesamtkunstwerk open to the public.

 

The memorial/exhibition at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near the town of Bergen is also located in the Lüneburg Heath.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Lüneburg Heath (German: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in the northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve. Northern Low Saxon is still widely spoken in the region.

 

Lüneburg Heath has extensive areas of heathland, typical of those that covered most of the North German countryside until about 1800, but which have almost completely disappeared in other areas. The heaths were formed after the Neolithic period by overgrazing of the once widespread forests on the poor sandy soils of the geest, as this slightly hilly and sandy terrain in northern Europe is called. The Lüneburg Heath is therefore a historic cultural landscape. The remaining areas of heath are kept clear mainly through grazing, especially by a North German breed of moorland sheep called the Heidschnucke. Due to its unique landscape, Lüneburg Heath is a popular tourist destination in North Germany.

 

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION

From a geographical point of view, Lüneburg Heath is a specific natural region, that is an area distinguished by a specific combination of abiotic factors (climate, relief, water resources, soil, geology) and biotic factors (flora and fauna). Lüneburg Heath is a sub-division of the North European Plain. In the list of the major natural regions of Germany issued by the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) it is region number D28.

 

Lüneburg Heath covers an area which includes the districts (Landkreise) of Celle, Gifhorn, Heidekreis, Uelzen, Lüneburg, Lüchow-Dannenberg, southeast Rotenburg (the town of Visselhövede, Fintel, part of the municipality of Scheeßel and the eastern half of Bothel) and the rural district of Harburg. The easternmost fringes of the Stade Geest belonging to Landkreis Verden are called the Linteln Geest (Lintelner Geest) or Verden Heath (Verdener Heide) and form part of the municipality of Kirchlinteln. This region has no sharply defined boundary with the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Lüneburg Heath lies between the rivers Elbe to the north, the Drawehn to the east, the Aller to the south and southwest, the middle course of the Wümme to the west and the Harburg Hills (Harburger Berge) to the northwest.

 

On the northwestern edge of Lüneburg Heath are the Harburg Hills and south of Schneverdingen there are bogs, such as the Pietzmoor. Also of note are other smaller bogs in sinkholes, like the Grundloses Moor ("bottomless bog") near Walsrode or the Bullenkuhle near Bokel (part of Sprakensehl). The eastern boundary to the Wendland is formed by the Göhrde-Drawehn Hills (the Ostheide natural region). Parts of Lüneburg Heath are in the Südheide Nature Park, others in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park.

 

HILLS

The highest elevation on Lüneburg Heath is the Wilseder Berg (169.2 metres) above NN). Other hills over 100 metres high are: Falkenberg (150 metres), near Bergen, Ahrberg (145 metres), Hakenberg (143 metres), Hoher Mechtin (142 metres), Pampower Berg (140 metres), Lüßberg (130 metres), Brunsberg, near Sprötze (129 metres), Goldbockenberg (129 metres), Hingstberg (126 metres), Staffelberg (126 metres), Hengstberg (121 metres), Höpenberg near Schneverdingen (120 metres), Haußelberg (119.1 metres), Breithorn (118 metres), Mützenberg (115 metres ), Tellmer Berg (113 metres), Wümmeberg (107.9 metres), Schiffberg (107 metres), Hummelsberg and Wulfsberg (each 106 metres), Drullberg and Thonhopsberg (each 104 metres), Kruckberg and Wietzer Berg (each 102 metres) and Höllenberg (101 metres).

 

Several of these hills - the Wilseder Berg, the Falkenberg, the Haußelberg and the Breithorn - were used by the mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, as triangulation stations in his topographical surveys of the Kingdom of Hanover from 1821–1825.

 

RIVERS AND STREAMS

Rivers in the area, beside the numerous small heathland streams, include the Wümme, which rises on the western slopes of the Wilseder Berg, in the south the Lachte with its tributary the Lutter, and the Aller, the Vissel, the Böhme, the Grindau, the Meiße and the Örtze. They all belong to the Weser river system. Those flowing into the Elbe are the Aue, the Ilmenau, the Luhe and the Seeve.

 

GEOLOGY

The immediate subsurface layers on Lüneburg Heath are almost exclusively made up of deposits from the quaternary ice age. The landscape consists of flat plains of ground moraines, ridges of hilly terminal moraines and also of sandar - glacial outwash plains deposited at the edge of the ice sheet.

 

During the Saalian Stage (230,000–130,000 years ago) the area of the present-day Lüneburg Heath was covered three times by a continental ice sheet. In the last glacial period (110,000–10,000 years ago) the ice sheet no longer covered the Lüneburg Heath area; it reached only as far as the River Elbe. Due to the lack of vegetation, the much more rugged terrain at that time was heavily eroded by water, wind and by soil fluction; this resulted in valleys like the Totengrund. The material displaced by erosion, referred to as sediment (Geschiebedecksand), has a depth of 0.4 to 0.8 metres (on slopes up to 1.5 metres).

 

The region is mostly covered by a heathland landscape consisting of big heather and juniper areas, forests and some smaller swamps. In contrast to the areas in the north of Lüneburg Heath, the landscape is very hilly, as it is placed on a terminal moraine.

 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

Lüneburg Heath is divided into the following natural sub-divisions:

 

HIGH HEATH

The Hohe Heide ("High Heath") consists of a series of end moraines from the glaciers of the Saalian glaciation (230,000–130,000 years ago) with the Wilseder Berg at its heart. Unlike the other natural divisions of Lüneburg Heath, the terrain is quite rugged. Characteristic of the area are dry hilltops, periglacial dry valleys and hollows like the Totengrund. Heathland dominates the landscape. They are part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park and of great importance for tourism. In addition there are also extensive pine forests.

 

SOUTH HEATH

The South Heath (Südheide) is dominated by expanses of gently undulating, hilly Sander plains, and sheets of ground moraine and the remains of end moraines from earlier ice ages. There are still large areas of heath on the military training areas near Bad Fallingbostel and Munster (Örtze); these are out-of-bounds to visitors however. The Osterheide near Schneverdingen also belongs to this natural subdivision. It is part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve. Near Schneverdingen and south of Soltau there are several bogs. A large area of the Südheide is covered by pine forests.

 

EAST HEATH

Numerous end moraines run through the Ostheide ("East Heath") which stretches on the eastern edge of Lüneburg Heath from Lüneburg to north of Wolfsburg. In parts of this region the land is intensively cultivated. The northern area, the so-called Göhrde and the Drawehn, are by contrast mostly wooded like the southern ridge of end moraine.

 

UELZEN BASIN AND ILLMENAU DEPRESSION

The ground moraine landscape of the Uelzen Basin is predominantly used for agriculture. On the surrounding ridges there are also a few pine forests however. There are still large areas of heath here as well, for example the Ellerndorfer Heide ("Ellerndorf Heath") in western Uelzen district or the Klein Bünstorfer Heide ("Klein Bünstorf Heath").

 

LUHEHEIDE

The ridges of end moraine on the Luheheide have clearly defined slopes that fall away sharply to the Elbe Valley. The heath is deeply incised by all the rivers that drain northwards to the Elbe; rivers such as the Seeve, Aue, Luhe (Ilmenau). The ridges between them are wooded and sparsely populated. Settlements are crowded together in the valleys. There is hardly any heathland left in this area, it has been largely reforested by pines.

 

CLIMATE

Lüneburg Heath lies in a temperate maritime climatic region moderated by the Atlantic, with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation all-year round. The Hohe Heide, however, has a "low mountain climate" with lower temperatures and higher precipitation than in the surrounding area.

 

NATURE

NATURE PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES

In the northwestern part of Lüneburg Heath is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park which covers an area of 1,130 square kilometres. At its heart, around the Wilseder Berg, is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve (Naturschutzgebiet or NSG) founded as long ago as 1921 with 234 square kilometres of land which is roughly 58% woods and 20% heathland. Other nature parks in the Lüneburg Heath region are the Südheide Nature Park and Elbufer-Drawehn Nature Park. Right in the north of the area is the Harburg Hills Nature Park. The Lüneburg Heath NSG, together with the open heathland of the huge Munster Nord and Süd training areas and the Bergen-Hohne Training Area, is the largest single area of heathland in Central Europe. And within the former province (Regierungsbezirk) of Lüneburg there are no less than 212 individual nature reserves (as at 31 December 2006).

 

FORMATION OF THE HEATH LANDSCAPE

After the end of the Weichselian Ice Age (115,000 to 10,000 years ago) the first woods appeared in the area that now forms Lüneburg Heath which, following the natural ecological succession and encouraged by a gradual improvement in the climate, progressed from birch and pine forest through hazel woods to light woods of sessile oaks.

 

The heath and its surrounding area belong to those regions of the North German Plain in which the hunter culture of the Mesolithic era was superseded quite early on by Neolithic farmers. By about 3000 BC, during the Neolithic, large open areas appeared on the lightly undulating, sandy stretches of geest on Lüneburg Heath. This was a result of the intensive grazing of the sessile oak woods and the associated destruction of successive new stands of trees. These open areas became dominated by the common heather (Calluna vulgaris), a largely grazing-resistant species of plant. Nevertheless, oak and beech woods succeeded time and again in establishing themselves wherever man left areas of heath untended. Over a long period of time the region of Lüneburg Heath alternated between periods when the heathlands spread and dominated the scene and times when it was largely covered with forest and only small areas of heath existed. Finally, after the migration period, the wooded areas of the region increased considerably.

 

Not until after 1000 AD does the pollen analysis show a continuous reduction in the woodlands and a considerable increase in heather. This was brought about by a change from nomadic farming to settled farming with permanent settlements. The typical heath farming economy emerged: due to the poor soils the few available nutrients from a large area were concentrated on relatively small fields, from which grain, in particular, could be produced. This was achieved by the regular removal of the turf (a method known as Plaggen), which was used as hay for the pens of the moorland sheep, the Heidschnucken. This was then enriched with the manure and urine of the sheep – and spread over the fields as fertiliser.

 

By cutting the turf the regenerative capacity of the soils was exhausted. The regular removal of the top layer of soil contributed to the spreading of heathland. As heather decomposes, the pH value of the soil falls drastically, as far as the iron buffer-region at pH 3, which initiates the process of podsolisation. Soil life is severely damaged, which results in a hard layer of earth underneath the root zone on the heath at a depth of about 40 centimetres. The iron and humus particles released by the topsoil precipitate onto this impervious hardpan. The subsoil thus separates itself from the topsoil. The nutrients are largely washed out of the topsoil which leads to leaching and causes the typical grey-white coloration of the paths on the heath.

 

The oft-expressed view in the literature that the heath arose in the Middle Ages as a result of the demand for wood by the Lüneburg salt pans is incorrect. The Lüneburg salt ponds certainly needed firewood for the production of salt, but they did not appear until around 1000 AD, by which time the heath had already been around for 4,000 years. The amount required, even in the heyday of production, could have been continuously supplied by an area of woodland about 50 km2 in area, yet the heath covers over 7000 km2. In any case the wood certainly did not come from the heath, but via the waterways, especially from Mecklenburg up the Elbe and from the area of the Schaalsee. Transportation overland would have been far too expensive (apart from the River Ilmenau which was navigable at the time, no rivers flow from the main areas of heathland to Lüneburg), as can be seen not only from some of the delivery notes which still survive, but also from the fact that there are still large woods around Lüneburg itself, such as the Göhrde. Finally heathland has frequentely developed in areas where there are no salt pans, such as the sheep-grazing regions on the coasts of Norway to Portugal and in Scotland and Ireland.

 

The heath is not therefore a natural landscape, but a cultural landscape created by the intervention of man. In order to prevent its semi-open heathland from being repopulated by trees, especially pines and, to a lesser extent, silver birches, which would cause the loss of this millennia-old environment and its many inhabitants, including often very rare animal and plant species, sheep are allowed to graze it regularly; these are almost exclusively the local German moorland sheep, the Heidschnucke.

 

PLANT POPULATION/PHYTOCENOSIS

In the 20th century, numerous conservation measures were implemented on Lüneburg Heath; as a result, it is one of the best researched regions of central Europe.

 

- Heathland

Sand heaths form about 20% of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and may be broken down into further sub-divisions, the most important being:

 

- Ordinary sand heath (Typische Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum)

In addition to the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) only a few taller plants occur here, none of which can be classed as characteristic species. Amongst them are the wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and common juniper (Juniperus communis). Ordinary sand heath is the most widespread of the heathland types. Its proportion has increased in recent decades at the expense of other heath habitats. This reduction in the variety of heathland types may be due to increasing nitrogen levels from the air, the increase in plant litter (Rohhumusauflagen) and the natural ageing of the heathland.

 

- Lichen-rich sand heath (Flechtenreiche Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum cladonietosum)

The lichen-rich sand heaths can be told apart from the other types of heathland by the presence of various cup lichens (Cladonia), ciliated fringewort (Ptilidium ciliare) and juniper haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum). They occur frequently on dry, south-facing slopes. This type of heath is found west of Niederhaverbeck and near Sundermühlen.

 

- Clay heath (Lehmheide, Genisto-callunetum danthonietusum)

This can be identified by the presence of heath grass (Danthonia decumbens), pill sedge (Carex pilulifera), mat grass (Nardus stricta), fine-leaved sheep's-fescue (Festuca filiformis), mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) and field wood-rush (Luzula campestris). Clay heaths have become very rare within the Lüneburg Heath. They are found on the Wilseder Berg and south of Niederhaverbeck.

 

- Blueberry sand heath (Heidelbeer-Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Vaccinium myrtillus Rasse)

Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are the signature species of this type of heath and, more rarely, cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Blueberry heath is the second most common type of vegetation on the heathlands and occurs especially on northern slopes, the edges of woods and thick juniper hedges. This type of heath is particularly characteristic of the northern slopes of the Wilseder Berg, as well as the Steingrund and Totengrund. In those places, cranberries have even ousted the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) in places.

 

- Wet sand heath (Feuchte Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Molinia-Variante)

Wet sand heath is the ideal habitat for purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) and scirpus (Scirpus cespitosus). It occurs in places close to the water table and in the transition zone around bogs. Its primary locations are areas north of Wilsede and near the Hörpel Ponds (Hörpeler Teichen).

 

WOODS

The greater part (about 58%) of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve consists of woods, primarily pine forests, which were planted in the second half of the 19th century on former heathland and drifting sand. In some cases the dunes simply became naturally overgrown, again with pines. There are only a very few old stands of sessile oaks, which stem from the logging industry during the time of the Kingdom of Hanover. In many parts of the nature reserve there are so-called Stühbüsche (a form of coppice), trees that were coppiced by repeatedly being cut short. In the meantime they have grown wild again and have a characteristic and unusual appearance with their multiple trunks. Near Wilsede there is the remnant of a Hutewald, a wood pasture with giant, multi-stemmed beech trees.

 

BOGS

The largest bog on Lüneburg Heath is the Pietzmoor, which lies east of Schneverdingen. It was drained however and peat was cut there until the 1960s. The Nature Park Association carried out work in the 1980s to try and turn it back to its natural waterlogged state. For example, some of the drainage ditches were filled which led to a considerable rise in the water levels of the former peat cuts. However typical bog vegetation has not yet re-established itself.[8]

 

ANIMALS

Many species of animal live on Lüneburg Heath, particularly birds that are at home in the wide, open landscape, some of which are seriously threatened by the intensive-farming techniques in other areas. These include the: black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), the nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the woodlark (Lullula arborea), the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), the wryneck (Jynx torquilla), the European green woodpecker (Picus viridis), the stonechat (Saxicola torquata), the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata), the common quail (Coturnix coturnix) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra). In the Lüneburg Heath the population of the very rare black grouse is rising continually. In 2007 78 were counted, 13 more than in the previous year. Since 2003 the number of grouse has doubled.

 

Wolves, although once extinct in the area, have returned to the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Numerous species including European bison, moose and brown bear which once inhabited the region may be seen in the Lüneburg Heath Wildlife Park alongside more exotic animals like snow leopards and Arctic wolves.

 

CULTURE AND HISTORY

EARLY HISTORY

Pollen analyses show that the dry geest soils of North Germany have been cultivated since about 3000 BC. Clearance by fire and the cultivation of crops on the Pleistocene sandy soils quickly led however to soil degradation. So the land cleared by fire could only be used for a short time. The settlements moved frequently and woods elsewhere were cleared. Even at that time the first Calluna (heather) heaths appeared (see above). Evidence of relatively dense settlement is found especially in Uelzen district. On Lüneburg Heath there are numerous Megalithic sites and tumuli from the Neolithic and the early Bronze Age. The most famous are the Oldendorfer Totenstatt (Oldendorf Gravesite) and the Sieben Steinhäuser (Seven Stone Houses). But even in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve there are more than a thousand tumuli, especially near Nieder- and Oberhaverbeck. The largest of these tumuli is the so-called Prince's Grave (Fürstengrab). Also near Wilsede there is the well-known stone and juniper group known as Hannibal's Grave (Hannibals Grab).

 

TRANSITION TO SETTLEMENT CULTURE

After the withdrawal of the Lombards in the migration period, from about 700 AD Lüneburg Heath belonged to the Duchy of Saxony, which was conquered by Charlemagne in the 9th century and became part of the Frankish Empire. The resulting close control of the population and the Christianization meant that the rural settlements had to stay in one place and could no longer move about freely. The land had to be farmed more intensively which led to the heathland spreading.

 

SETTLEMENTS

Lüneburg Heath was always relatively sparsely populated due to the poor soils in the area. The region was dominated by heath farming which was a less intensive form of land usage necessary for its large areas of barren terrain and heathland. An important economic sideline of past centuries was heathland beekeeping. The villages were usually encircled by small tracts of woodland, sometimes interrupted by fields or meadows, and merged without clear boundaries into the surrounding landscape. The farmsteads were arranged relatively arbitrarily, many stood very close to one another; others were spread out at some distance from each other. They were loose cluster villages (lockere Haufendörfer). In order to prevent cattle trampling flat the gardens attached to the houses, village roads were enclosed with wooden fences and, later, with characteristic stone walls. The typical design of farmhouse was the Fachhallenhaus, a large timber-framed single building, in which people and animals lived under a single roof. Each village had relatively few complete farms; in Wilsede there were only four, in the church village (Kirchdorf) of Undeloh there were eleven, but that was an exception. In addition there were Koten (small, single houses), sheep pens and shared bakehouses. The farms themselves, however, were very large. In Wilsede all the features of a heath village described here may still be seen. Wilsede Heath Museum (Heidemuseum Wilsede) was established in a Fachhallenhaus and it gives an insight into the working and living conditions of a heathland farm around 1850. Walsrode Heath Museum was one of the first German open air museums and also portrays the life of heathland folk. In rural parts of the region they still sometimes use today a Low German dialect called Heidjerisch. This word derives from the name given to inhabitants of the Lüneburg Heath – the Heidjer.

 

HEATH CONVENTS

In the Lüneburg Heath region, six nunneries from the Middle Ages survived, which became Protestant convents after the Reformation. These establishments are the abbeys of: Ebstorf, Isenhagen, Lüne, Medingen, Wienhausen and Walsrode.

 

THE END OF THE HEATHLAND FARMING IN THE 19TH CENTURY

From 1831 feudalism was abolished in the Kingdom of Hanover and those heathland areas that were common land for the villages were divided amongst the individual farmers. Heathland farming died out at the end of the 19th century. Many farmers sold their land to the Prussian treasury or the Hanover monastic chamber, who afforested the land with pines. As a result, the area of heath was drastically reduced.

 

In 1800, large parts of Northwest Germany had been covered with heaths and bog. Today, by contrast the only large, continuous areas of heath remaining are in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and on a few military training areas.

The changing perception of the heath

As late as the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, the barren and almost treeless heathlands were still perceived as hostile and threatening environments, as evinced by two travel logs of journeys between 1799 and 1804:

 

As I had traversed the Hanoverian dominions in so many directions, I did not expect to find nature clothed in charms, or a high degree of population, fertility, and cultivation. Next to Lauenburg, I think it is the worst tract of an equal extent that I ever met with. The soil is one vast sandy desert, which is either naturally bare, or covered with patches of heath or grass.

 

- Charles Gottlob Küttner: Travels through Denmark, Sweden, Austria and part of Italy, in 1798 & 1799. London 1805.

 

On leaving Zell we passed through a dark wood, of at least two leagues in extent; and from that city to Harburgh, in a line of nearly twenty German miles, we travelled over sandy plains and extensive heaths. At a great distance, geese, ducks and sheep of a very poor appearance, never failed to indicate the vicinity of some wretched hamlet. What habitations! Whole families, of the most wretched appearance, and covered with tattered garments, associate together, eat and sleep with their cattle. Near these real catacombs we observed growing a few stalks of rye and barley, and here and there a few tufu of buck-wheat. The straw is short and stunted, and the ears of a diminutive size. Population and agriculture must ever be dependant on each other.

 

- Michel Ange Mangourit: Travels in Hanover, during the years 1803 and 1804. London 1806.

 

The poem Der Heideknabe ("The Heath Lad") from the year 1844 by Friedrich Hebbel stresses the unearthly atmosphere and the bleak solitude of the heaths:

 

:(...) Out, out of the town! And there it stretches,

The heath, misty, ghostly,

The wind swishing over it,

Oh, every step here is like a thousand others!

 

And all so still, and all so quiet,

You look around for signs of life,

Only hungry birds dart by

Out of the clouds, to spear worms (...).

 

Towards the middle of the 19th century the first positive descriptions of the heath emerged, initially inspired by the romantic movement. With the Industrial Revolution in Germany, unspoilt nature became more important for people, providing a welcome contrast with the rapidly burgeoning cities. Because the heathlands of North Germany were being increasingly decimated by cultivation and reforestation, they now appeared to be worth protecting. Numerous writers and painters portrayed the beauty of the heath, particularly when it was in bloom in August and September. One important heathland artist was Eugen Bracht. The most famous heath poet was the local writer Hermann Löns (1866–1914), who spent some time living in a hunting lodge near Westenholz. He worked the heath countryside into his books and promoted the foundation of the first German nature reserve on Lüneburg Heath. His purported remains were buried in a juniper copse at Tietlingen near Walsrode in 1935. His works were a source for Heimatfilme that were shot on Lüneburg Heath, such as Grün ist die Heide ("The Heath Is Green") from 1932 and remade in 1951 and 1972, as well as Rot ist die Liebe ("Red is Love") from 1956.

 

HISTORY OF CONSERVATION ON LÜNEBURG HEATH

Around 1900, there were growing demands to save the heathland and bogs of northwest Germany, which were threatened by reforestation and drainage. On Lüneburg Heath, Wilhelm Bode, then the pastor at Egestorf, was particularly active in pressing for the preservation of the endangered countryside. He had learned in 1905 of plans for building weekend houses on the Totengrund. In order to prevent this, he persuaded Andreas Thomsen, a professor from Münster, to acquire the area as a nature reserve. In 1909, Pastor Bode and district administrator (Landrat) Fritz Ecker prevented the planned reforestation of the Wilseder Berg.

 

In the same year, an appeal by Curt Floerike appeared in Kosmos magazine, citing the establishment of national parks in the United States and calling for them in Germany. In order to realise this goal, the Nature Park Society or Verein Naturschutzpark (VNP) was founded in Munich on 23 October 1909. They planned to create national parks in the Alps, the Central Uplands and in the north German geest region. By 1913, the society had 13,000 members.

 

The area of Lüneburg Heath near Wilsede was selected as the location for the north German national park. Using the VNP's funds, more than 30 km² of heathland were purchased or rented by 1913. In 1921, a police ordinance placed more than 200 km² of Lüneburg Heath under protection, the first time this had been achieved in Germany. One problem that arose as early as the 1920s was the steadily increasing number of visitors. In 1924, in order to keep visitors away from sensitive areas of heathland, a volunteer Heath Guard (Heidewacht) was founded.

 

The Reich conservation law was passed in 1933 and Lüneburg Heath was designated as an official nature reserve. Although plans to build a motorway through the park and for the heath to be used as a military training area were stopped, in 1933 the Heidewacht was disbanded, mainly because it was made up of members of social democratic youth organisations. In 1939, a new law that granted the chairman of the VNP – now called Führer – wide-ranging powers. Jews could no longer be members of the society.

 

Between 1891 and the Second World War, large military training areas were established on Lüneburg Heath, including the largest one in Europe, the Bergen-Hohne Training Area on the Südheide. Here the heathland has largely been preserved, albeit no longer accessible to the general public.

 

A large area of the nature park belonging to the society near Schneverdingen was taken over by the British Army of the Rhine in 1945 for use as a tank training area. In the 1950s, during military exercises, British tanks even pushed forward as far as the Wilseder Berg. Not until the Soltau-Lüneburg Agreement, was signed in 1959 between the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, were the boundaries of the tank training area fixed. Continual exercising over the area by armoured vehicles completely destroyed the vegetation on the Osterheide near Schneverdingen, forming large areas of sand dunes. In 1994, the British returned the so-called "Red Areas" of the Soltau-Lüneburg Training Area to the Nature Park Society who, with the help of money from the federal government, set about the work of renaturation. Nowadays hardly any traces of the tank training area are left. The base camp for military exercises, Reinsehlen Camp, has been turned into a nature reserve.

 

FOREST FIRE

In August 1975, fire broke out on the Südheide which turned out to be the biggest forest fire in West Germany to that date. Serious forest fires broke out in the southern part of the area near Stüde, Neudorf-Platendorf, Meinersen and then by Eschede near Celle, with devastating effects and fatalities.

 

TOURISM

Today the area is a popular tourist destination. Contributing to this are the theme park, Heidepark Soltau, the Walsrode Bird Park, the Serengeti Safari Park at Hodenhagen, Snow Dome Bispingen, and a Center Parc as well as the many farms offering holiday stays, making the Lüneburg Heath especially popular for families. Another group of tourists are the elderly on free guided bus tours (Kaffeefahrten), stopping for coffee and wool plaids at a farm before touring Lüneburg for an hour.

 

Kunststätte Bossard in the Nordheide near Jesteburg is an expressionist Gesamtkunstwerk open to the public.

 

The memorial/exhibition at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near the town of Bergen is also located in the Lüneburg Heath.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Lüneburg Heath (German: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in the northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve. Northern Low Saxon is still widely spoken in the region.

 

Lüneburg Heath has extensive areas of heathland, typical of those that covered most of the North German countryside until about 1800, but which have almost completely disappeared in other areas. The heaths were formed after the Neolithic period by overgrazing of the once widespread forests on the poor sandy soils of the geest, as this slightly hilly and sandy terrain in northern Europe is called. The Lüneburg Heath is therefore a historic cultural landscape. The remaining areas of heath are kept clear mainly through grazing, especially by a North German breed of moorland sheep called the Heidschnucke. Due to its unique landscape, Lüneburg Heath is a popular tourist destination in North Germany.

 

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION

From a geographical point of view, Lüneburg Heath is a specific natural region, that is an area distinguished by a specific combination of abiotic factors (climate, relief, water resources, soil, geology) and biotic factors (flora and fauna). Lüneburg Heath is a sub-division of the North European Plain. In the list of the major natural regions of Germany issued by the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) it is region number D28.

 

Lüneburg Heath covers an area which includes the districts (Landkreise) of Celle, Gifhorn, Heidekreis, Uelzen, Lüneburg, Lüchow-Dannenberg, southeast Rotenburg (the town of Visselhövede, Fintel, part of the municipality of Scheeßel and the eastern half of Bothel) and the rural district of Harburg. The easternmost fringes of the Stade Geest belonging to Landkreis Verden are called the Linteln Geest (Lintelner Geest) or Verden Heath (Verdener Heide) and form part of the municipality of Kirchlinteln. This region has no sharply defined boundary with the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Lüneburg Heath lies between the rivers Elbe to the north, the Drawehn to the east, the Aller to the south and southwest, the middle course of the Wümme to the west and the Harburg Hills (Harburger Berge) to the northwest.

 

On the northwestern edge of Lüneburg Heath are the Harburg Hills and south of Schneverdingen there are bogs, such as the Pietzmoor. Also of note are other smaller bogs in sinkholes, like the Grundloses Moor ("bottomless bog") near Walsrode or the Bullenkuhle near Bokel (part of Sprakensehl). The eastern boundary to the Wendland is formed by the Göhrde-Drawehn Hills (the Ostheide natural region). Parts of Lüneburg Heath are in the Südheide Nature Park, others in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park.

 

HILLS

The highest elevation on Lüneburg Heath is the Wilseder Berg (169.2 metres) above NN). Other hills over 100 metres high are: Falkenberg (150 metres), near Bergen, Ahrberg (145 metres), Hakenberg (143 metres), Hoher Mechtin (142 metres), Pampower Berg (140 metres), Lüßberg (130 metres), Brunsberg, near Sprötze (129 metres), Goldbockenberg (129 metres), Hingstberg (126 metres), Staffelberg (126 metres), Hengstberg (121 metres), Höpenberg near Schneverdingen (120 metres), Haußelberg (119.1 metres), Breithorn (118 metres), Mützenberg (115 metres ), Tellmer Berg (113 metres), Wümmeberg (107.9 metres), Schiffberg (107 metres), Hummelsberg and Wulfsberg (each 106 metres), Drullberg and Thonhopsberg (each 104 metres), Kruckberg and Wietzer Berg (each 102 metres) and Höllenberg (101 metres).

 

Several of these hills - the Wilseder Berg, the Falkenberg, the Haußelberg and the Breithorn - were used by the mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, as triangulation stations in his topographical surveys of the Kingdom of Hanover from 1821–1825.

 

RIVERS AND STREAMS

Rivers in the area, beside the numerous small heathland streams, include the Wümme, which rises on the western slopes of the Wilseder Berg, in the south the Lachte with its tributary the Lutter, and the Aller, the Vissel, the Böhme, the Grindau, the Meiße and the Örtze. They all belong to the Weser river system. Those flowing into the Elbe are the Aue, the Ilmenau, the Luhe and the Seeve.

 

GEOLOGY

The immediate subsurface layers on Lüneburg Heath are almost exclusively made up of deposits from the quaternary ice age. The landscape consists of flat plains of ground moraines, ridges of hilly terminal moraines and also of sandar - glacial outwash plains deposited at the edge of the ice sheet.

 

During the Saalian Stage (230,000–130,000 years ago) the area of the present-day Lüneburg Heath was covered three times by a continental ice sheet. In the last glacial period (110,000–10,000 years ago) the ice sheet no longer covered the Lüneburg Heath area; it reached only as far as the River Elbe. Due to the lack of vegetation, the much more rugged terrain at that time was heavily eroded by water, wind and by soil fluction; this resulted in valleys like the Totengrund. The material displaced by erosion, referred to as sediment (Geschiebedecksand), has a depth of 0.4 to 0.8 metres (on slopes up to 1.5 metres).

 

The region is mostly covered by a heathland landscape consisting of big heather and juniper areas, forests and some smaller swamps. In contrast to the areas in the north of Lüneburg Heath, the landscape is very hilly, as it is placed on a terminal moraine.

 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

Lüneburg Heath is divided into the following natural sub-divisions:

 

HIGH HEATH

The Hohe Heide ("High Heath") consists of a series of end moraines from the glaciers of the Saalian glaciation (230,000–130,000 years ago) with the Wilseder Berg at its heart. Unlike the other natural divisions of Lüneburg Heath, the terrain is quite rugged. Characteristic of the area are dry hilltops, periglacial dry valleys and hollows like the Totengrund. Heathland dominates the landscape. They are part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park and of great importance for tourism. In addition there are also extensive pine forests.

 

SOUTH HEATH

The South Heath (Südheide) is dominated by expanses of gently undulating, hilly Sander plains, and sheets of ground moraine and the remains of end moraines from earlier ice ages. There are still large areas of heath on the military training areas near Bad Fallingbostel and Munster (Örtze); these are out-of-bounds to visitors however. The Osterheide near Schneverdingen also belongs to this natural subdivision. It is part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve. Near Schneverdingen and south of Soltau there are several bogs. A large area of the Südheide is covered by pine forests.

 

EAST HEATH

Numerous end moraines run through the Ostheide ("East Heath") which stretches on the eastern edge of Lüneburg Heath from Lüneburg to north of Wolfsburg. In parts of this region the land is intensively cultivated. The northern area, the so-called Göhrde and the Drawehn, are by contrast mostly wooded like the southern ridge of end moraine.

 

UELZEN BASIN AND ILLMENAU DEPRESSION

The ground moraine landscape of the Uelzen Basin is predominantly used for agriculture. On the surrounding ridges there are also a few pine forests however. There are still large areas of heath here as well, for example the Ellerndorfer Heide ("Ellerndorf Heath") in western Uelzen district or the Klein Bünstorfer Heide ("Klein Bünstorf Heath").

 

LUHEHEIDE

The ridges of end moraine on the Luheheide have clearly defined slopes that fall away sharply to the Elbe Valley. The heath is deeply incised by all the rivers that drain northwards to the Elbe; rivers such as the Seeve, Aue, Luhe (Ilmenau). The ridges between them are wooded and sparsely populated. Settlements are crowded together in the valleys. There is hardly any heathland left in this area, it has been largely reforested by pines.

 

CLIMATE

Lüneburg Heath lies in a temperate maritime climatic region moderated by the Atlantic, with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation all-year round. The Hohe Heide, however, has a "low mountain climate" with lower temperatures and higher precipitation than in the surrounding area.

 

NATURE

NATURE PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES

In the northwestern part of Lüneburg Heath is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park which covers an area of 1,130 square kilometres. At its heart, around the Wilseder Berg, is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve (Naturschutzgebiet or NSG) founded as long ago as 1921 with 234 square kilometres of land which is roughly 58% woods and 20% heathland. Other nature parks in the Lüneburg Heath region are the Südheide Nature Park and Elbufer-Drawehn Nature Park. Right in the north of the area is the Harburg Hills Nature Park. The Lüneburg Heath NSG, together with the open heathland of the huge Munster Nord and Süd training areas and the Bergen-Hohne Training Area, is the largest single area of heathland in Central Europe. And within the former province (Regierungsbezirk) of Lüneburg there are no less than 212 individual nature reserves (as at 31 December 2006).

 

FORMATION OF THE HEATH LANDSCAPE

After the end of the Weichselian Ice Age (115,000 to 10,000 years ago) the first woods appeared in the area that now forms Lüneburg Heath which, following the natural ecological succession and encouraged by a gradual improvement in the climate, progressed from birch and pine forest through hazel woods to light woods of sessile oaks.

 

The heath and its surrounding area belong to those regions of the North German Plain in which the hunter culture of the Mesolithic era was superseded quite early on by Neolithic farmers. By about 3000 BC, during the Neolithic, large open areas appeared on the lightly undulating, sandy stretches of geest on Lüneburg Heath. This was a result of the intensive grazing of the sessile oak woods and the associated destruction of successive new stands of trees. These open areas became dominated by the common heather (Calluna vulgaris), a largely grazing-resistant species of plant. Nevertheless, oak and beech woods succeeded time and again in establishing themselves wherever man left areas of heath untended. Over a long period of time the region of Lüneburg Heath alternated between periods when the heathlands spread and dominated the scene and times when it was largely covered with forest and only small areas of heath existed. Finally, after the migration period, the wooded areas of the region increased considerably.

 

Not until after 1000 AD does the pollen analysis show a continuous reduction in the woodlands and a considerable increase in heather. This was brought about by a change from nomadic farming to settled farming with permanent settlements. The typical heath farming economy emerged: due to the poor soils the few available nutrients from a large area were concentrated on relatively small fields, from which grain, in particular, could be produced. This was achieved by the regular removal of the turf (a method known as Plaggen), which was used as hay for the pens of the moorland sheep, the Heidschnucken. This was then enriched with the manure and urine of the sheep – and spread over the fields as fertiliser.

 

By cutting the turf the regenerative capacity of the soils was exhausted. The regular removal of the top layer of soil contributed to the spreading of heathland. As heather decomposes, the pH value of the soil falls drastically, as far as the iron buffer-region at pH 3, which initiates the process of podsolisation. Soil life is severely damaged, which results in a hard layer of earth underneath the root zone on the heath at a depth of about 40 centimetres. The iron and humus particles released by the topsoil precipitate onto this impervious hardpan. The subsoil thus separates itself from the topsoil. The nutrients are largely washed out of the topsoil which leads to leaching and causes the typical grey-white coloration of the paths on the heath.

 

The oft-expressed view in the literature that the heath arose in the Middle Ages as a result of the demand for wood by the Lüneburg salt pans is incorrect. The Lüneburg salt ponds certainly needed firewood for the production of salt, but they did not appear until around 1000 AD, by which time the heath had already been around for 4,000 years. The amount required, even in the heyday of production, could have been continuously supplied by an area of woodland about 50 km2 in area, yet the heath covers over 7000 km2. In any case the wood certainly did not come from the heath, but via the waterways, especially from Mecklenburg up the Elbe and from the area of the Schaalsee. Transportation overland would have been far too expensive (apart from the River Ilmenau which was navigable at the time, no rivers flow from the main areas of heathland to Lüneburg), as can be seen not only from some of the delivery notes which still survive, but also from the fact that there are still large woods around Lüneburg itself, such as the Göhrde. Finally heathland has frequentely developed in areas where there are no salt pans, such as the sheep-grazing regions on the coasts of Norway to Portugal and in Scotland and Ireland.

 

The heath is not therefore a natural landscape, but a cultural landscape created by the intervention of man. In order to prevent its semi-open heathland from being repopulated by trees, especially pines and, to a lesser extent, silver birches, which would cause the loss of this millennia-old environment and its many inhabitants, including often very rare animal and plant species, sheep are allowed to graze it regularly; these are almost exclusively the local German moorland sheep, the Heidschnucke.

 

PLANT POPULATION/PHYTOCENOSIS

In the 20th century, numerous conservation measures were implemented on Lüneburg Heath; as a result, it is one of the best researched regions of central Europe.

 

- Heathland

Sand heaths form about 20% of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and may be broken down into further sub-divisions, the most important being:

 

- Ordinary sand heath (Typische Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum)

In addition to the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) only a few taller plants occur here, none of which can be classed as characteristic species. Amongst them are the wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and common juniper (Juniperus communis). Ordinary sand heath is the most widespread of the heathland types. Its proportion has increased in recent decades at the expense of other heath habitats. This reduction in the variety of heathland types may be due to increasing nitrogen levels from the air, the increase in plant litter (Rohhumusauflagen) and the natural ageing of the heathland.

 

- Lichen-rich sand heath (Flechtenreiche Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum cladonietosum)

The lichen-rich sand heaths can be told apart from the other types of heathland by the presence of various cup lichens (Cladonia), ciliated fringewort (Ptilidium ciliare) and juniper haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum). They occur frequently on dry, south-facing slopes. This type of heath is found west of Niederhaverbeck and near Sundermühlen.

 

- Clay heath (Lehmheide, Genisto-callunetum danthonietusum)

This can be identified by the presence of heath grass (Danthonia decumbens), pill sedge (Carex pilulifera), mat grass (Nardus stricta), fine-leaved sheep's-fescue (Festuca filiformis), mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) and field wood-rush (Luzula campestris). Clay heaths have become very rare within the Lüneburg Heath. They are found on the Wilseder Berg and south of Niederhaverbeck.

 

- Blueberry sand heath (Heidelbeer-Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Vaccinium myrtillus Rasse)

Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are the signature species of this type of heath and, more rarely, cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Blueberry heath is the second most common type of vegetation on the heathlands and occurs especially on northern slopes, the edges of woods and thick juniper hedges. This type of heath is particularly characteristic of the northern slopes of the Wilseder Berg, as well as the Steingrund and Totengrund. In those places, cranberries have even ousted the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) in places.

 

- Wet sand heath (Feuchte Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Molinia-Variante)

Wet sand heath is the ideal habitat for purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) and scirpus (Scirpus cespitosus). It occurs in places close to the water table and in the transition zone around bogs. Its primary locations are areas north of Wilsede and near the Hörpel Ponds (Hörpeler Teichen).

 

WOODS

The greater part (about 58%) of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve consists of woods, primarily pine forests, which were planted in the second half of the 19th century on former heathland and drifting sand. In some cases the dunes simply became naturally overgrown, again with pines. There are only a very few old stands of sessile oaks, which stem from the logging industry during the time of the Kingdom of Hanover. In many parts of the nature reserve there are so-called Stühbüsche (a form of coppice), trees that were coppiced by repeatedly being cut short. In the meantime they have grown wild again and have a characteristic and unusual appearance with their multiple trunks. Near Wilsede there is the remnant of a Hutewald, a wood pasture with giant, multi-stemmed beech trees.

 

BOGS

The largest bog on Lüneburg Heath is the Pietzmoor, which lies east of Schneverdingen. It was drained however and peat was cut there until the 1960s. The Nature Park Association carried out work in the 1980s to try and turn it back to its natural waterlogged state. For example, some of the drainage ditches were filled which led to a considerable rise in the water levels of the former peat cuts. However typical bog vegetation has not yet re-established itself.[8]

 

ANIMALS

Many species of animal live on Lüneburg Heath, particularly birds that are at home in the wide, open landscape, some of which are seriously threatened by the intensive-farming techniques in other areas. These include the: black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), the nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the woodlark (Lullula arborea), the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), the wryneck (Jynx torquilla), the European green woodpecker (Picus viridis), the stonechat (Saxicola torquata), the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata), the common quail (Coturnix coturnix) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra). In the Lüneburg Heath the population of the very rare black grouse is rising continually. In 2007 78 were counted, 13 more than in the previous year. Since 2003 the number of grouse has doubled.

 

Wolves, although once extinct in the area, have returned to the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Numerous species including European bison, moose and brown bear which once inhabited the region may be seen in the Lüneburg Heath Wildlife Park alongside more exotic animals like snow leopards and Arctic wolves.

 

CULTURE AND HISTORY

EARLY HISTORY

Pollen analyses show that the dry geest soils of North Germany have been cultivated since about 3000 BC. Clearance by fire and the cultivation of crops on the Pleistocene sandy soils quickly led however to soil degradation. So the land cleared by fire could only be used for a short time. The settlements moved frequently and woods elsewhere were cleared. Even at that time the first Calluna (heather) heaths appeared (see above). Evidence of relatively dense settlement is found especially in Uelzen district. On Lüneburg Heath there are numerous Megalithic sites and tumuli from the Neolithic and the early Bronze Age. The most famous are the Oldendorfer Totenstatt (Oldendorf Gravesite) and the Sieben Steinhäuser (Seven Stone Houses). But even in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve there are more than a thousand tumuli, especially near Nieder- and Oberhaverbeck. The largest of these tumuli is the so-called Prince's Grave (Fürstengrab). Also near Wilsede there is the well-known stone and juniper group known as Hannibal's Grave (Hannibals Grab).

 

TRANSITION TO SETTLEMENT CULTURE

After the withdrawal of the Lombards in the migration period, from about 700 AD Lüneburg Heath belonged to the Duchy of Saxony, which was conquered by Charlemagne in the 9th century and became part of the Frankish Empire. The resulting close control of the population and the Christianization meant that the rural settlements had to stay in one place and could no longer move about freely. The land had to be farmed more intensively which led to the heathland spreading.

 

SETTLEMENTS

Lüneburg Heath was always relatively sparsely populated due to the poor soils in the area. The region was dominated by heath farming which was a less intensive form of land usage necessary for its large areas of barren terrain and heathland. An important economic sideline of past centuries was heathland beekeeping. The villages were usually encircled by small tracts of woodland, sometimes interrupted by fields or meadows, and merged without clear boundaries into the surrounding landscape. The farmsteads were arranged relatively arbitrarily, many stood very close to one another; others were spread out at some distance from each other. They were loose cluster villages (lockere Haufendörfer). In order to prevent cattle trampling flat the gardens attached to the houses, village roads were enclosed with wooden fences and, later, with characteristic stone walls. The typical design of farmhouse was the Fachhallenhaus, a large timber-framed single building, in which people and animals lived under a single roof. Each village had relatively few complete farms; in Wilsede there were only four, in the church village (Kirchdorf) of Undeloh there were eleven, but that was an exception. In addition there were Koten (small, single houses), sheep pens and shared bakehouses. The farms themselves, however, were very large. In Wilsede all the features of a heath village described here may still be seen. Wilsede Heath Museum (Heidemuseum Wilsede) was established in a Fachhallenhaus and it gives an insight into the working and living conditions of a heathland farm around 1850. Walsrode Heath Museum was one of the first German open air museums and also portrays the life of heathland folk. In rural parts of the region they still sometimes use today a Low German dialect called Heidjerisch. This word derives from the name given to inhabitants of the Lüneburg Heath – the Heidjer.

 

HEATH CONVENTS

In the Lüneburg Heath region, six nunneries from the Middle Ages survived, which became Protestant convents after the Reformation. These establishments are the abbeys of: Ebstorf, Isenhagen, Lüne, Medingen, Wienhausen and Walsrode.

 

THE END OF THE HEATHLAND FARMING IN THE 19TH CENTURY

From 1831 feudalism was abolished in the Kingdom of Hanover and those heathland areas that were common land for the villages were divided amongst the individual farmers. Heathland farming died out at the end of the 19th century. Many farmers sold their land to the Prussian treasury or the Hanover monastic chamber, who afforested the land with pines. As a result, the area of heath was drastically reduced.

 

In 1800, large parts of Northwest Germany had been covered with heaths and bog. Today, by contrast the only large, continuous areas of heath remaining are in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and on a few military training areas.

The changing perception of the heath

As late as the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, the barren and almost treeless heathlands were still perceived as hostile and threatening environments, as evinced by two travel logs of journeys between 1799 and 1804:

 

As I had traversed the Hanoverian dominions in so many directions, I did not expect to find nature clothed in charms, or a high degree of population, fertility, and cultivation. Next to Lauenburg, I think it is the worst tract of an equal extent that I ever met with. The soil is one vast sandy desert, which is either naturally bare, or covered with patches of heath or grass.

 

- Charles Gottlob Küttner: Travels through Denmark, Sweden, Austria and part of Italy, in 1798 & 1799. London 1805.

 

On leaving Zell we passed through a dark wood, of at least two leagues in extent; and from that city to Harburgh, in a line of nearly twenty German miles, we travelled over sandy plains and extensive heaths. At a great distance, geese, ducks and sheep of a very poor appearance, never failed to indicate the vicinity of some wretched hamlet. What habitations! Whole families, of the most wretched appearance, and covered with tattered garments, associate together, eat and sleep with their cattle. Near these real catacombs we observed growing a few stalks of rye and barley, and here and there a few tufu of buck-wheat. The straw is short and stunted, and the ears of a diminutive size. Population and agriculture must ever be dependant on each other.

 

- Michel Ange Mangourit: Travels in Hanover, during the years 1803 and 1804. London 1806.

 

The poem Der Heideknabe ("The Heath Lad") from the year 1844 by Friedrich Hebbel stresses the unearthly atmosphere and the bleak solitude of the heaths:

 

:(...) Out, out of the town! And there it stretches,

The heath, misty, ghostly,

The wind swishing over it,

Oh, every step here is like a thousand others!

 

And all so still, and all so quiet,

You look around for signs of life,

Only hungry birds dart by

Out of the clouds, to spear worms (...).

 

Towards the middle of the 19th century the first positive descriptions of the heath emerged, initially inspired by the romantic movement. With the Industrial Revolution in Germany, unspoilt nature became more important for people, providing a welcome contrast with the rapidly burgeoning cities. Because the heathlands of North Germany were being increasingly decimated by cultivation and reforestation, they now appeared to be worth protecting. Numerous writers and painters portrayed the beauty of the heath, particularly when it was in bloom in August and September. One important heathland artist was Eugen Bracht. The most famous heath poet was the local writer Hermann Löns (1866–1914), who spent some time living in a hunting lodge near Westenholz. He worked the heath countryside into his books and promoted the foundation of the first German nature reserve on Lüneburg Heath. His purported remains were buried in a juniper copse at Tietlingen near Walsrode in 1935. His works were a source for Heimatfilme that were shot on Lüneburg Heath, such as Grün ist die Heide ("The Heath Is Green") from 1932 and remade in 1951 and 1972, as well as Rot ist die Liebe ("Red is Love") from 1956.

 

HISTORY OF CONSERVATION ON LÜNEBURG HEATH

Around 1900, there were growing demands to save the heathland and bogs of northwest Germany, which were threatened by reforestation and drainage. On Lüneburg Heath, Wilhelm Bode, then the pastor at Egestorf, was particularly active in pressing for the preservation of the endangered countryside. He had learned in 1905 of plans for building weekend houses on the Totengrund. In order to prevent this, he persuaded Andreas Thomsen, a professor from Münster, to acquire the area as a nature reserve. In 1909, Pastor Bode and district administrator (Landrat) Fritz Ecker prevented the planned reforestation of the Wilseder Berg.

 

In the same year, an appeal by Curt Floerike appeared in Kosmos magazine, citing the establishment of national parks in the United States and calling for them in Germany. In order to realise this goal, the Nature Park Society or Verein Naturschutzpark (VNP) was founded in Munich on 23 October 1909. They planned to create national parks in the Alps, the Central Uplands and in the north German geest region. By 1913, the society had 13,000 members.

 

The area of Lüneburg Heath near Wilsede was selected as the location for the north German national park. Using the VNP's funds, more than 30 km² of heathland were purchased or rented by 1913. In 1921, a police ordinance placed more than 200 km² of Lüneburg Heath under protection, the first time this had been achieved in Germany. One problem that arose as early as the 1920s was the steadily increasing number of visitors. In 1924, in order to keep visitors away from sensitive areas of heathland, a volunteer Heath Guard (Heidewacht) was founded.

 

The Reich conservation law was passed in 1933 and Lüneburg Heath was designated as an official nature reserve. Although plans to build a motorway through the park and for the heath to be used as a military training area were stopped, in 1933 the Heidewacht was disbanded, mainly because it was made up of members of social democratic youth organisations. In 1939, a new law that granted the chairman of the VNP – now called Führer – wide-ranging powers. Jews could no longer be members of the society.

 

Between 1891 and the Second World War, large military training areas were established on Lüneburg Heath, including the largest one in Europe, the Bergen-Hohne Training Area on the Südheide. Here the heathland has largely been preserved, albeit no longer accessible to the general public.

 

A large area of the nature park belonging to the society near Schneverdingen was taken over by the British Army of the Rhine in 1945 for use as a tank training area. In the 1950s, during military exercises, British tanks even pushed forward as far as the Wilseder Berg. Not until the Soltau-Lüneburg Agreement, was signed in 1959 between the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, were the boundaries of the tank training area fixed. Continual exercising over the area by armoured vehicles completely destroyed the vegetation on the Osterheide near Schneverdingen, forming large areas of sand dunes. In 1994, the British returned the so-called "Red Areas" of the Soltau-Lüneburg Training Area to the Nature Park Society who, with the help of money from the federal government, set about the work of renaturation. Nowadays hardly any traces of the tank training area are left. The base camp for military exercises, Reinsehlen Camp, has been turned into a nature reserve.

 

FOREST FIRE

In August 1975, fire broke out on the Südheide which turned out to be the biggest forest fire in West Germany to that date. Serious forest fires broke out in the southern part of the area near Stüde, Neudorf-Platendorf, Meinersen and then by Eschede near Celle, with devastating effects and fatalities.

 

TOURISM

Today the area is a popular tourist destination. Contributing to this are the theme park, Heidepark Soltau, the Walsrode Bird Park, the Serengeti Safari Park at Hodenhagen, Snow Dome Bispingen, and a Center Parc as well as the many farms offering holiday stays, making the Lüneburg Heath especially popular for families. Another group of tourists are the elderly on free guided bus tours (Kaffeefahrten), stopping for coffee and wool plaids at a farm before touring Lüneburg for an hour.

 

Kunststätte Bossard in the Nordheide near Jesteburg is an expressionist Gesamtkunstwerk open to the public.

 

The memorial/exhibition at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near the town of Bergen is also located in the Lüneburg Heath.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Visible in this section of the brood chamber are the components needed to sustain a strong and healthy colony. Lower center is the queen, she's looking for an empty cell in which to lay an egg. To the left is capped brood, soon fully grown bees can be seen chewing their way out of these cells. On the right are open cells containing larvae and eggs, they are surrounded by nurse bees some with their heads down in the cells supplying food to the larvae. Shortly the feeding will cease and these cells will be capped while the larvae pupate. Last but not least the larger bees in this photo are drones (male bees) whose only purpose in life is to mate with virgin queens that emerge from the hive when a colony swarms or re-queens itself.

Three men and a boy standing outside a tent with a sign reading "Apiary." Beekeeping supplies, including hives and frames are displayed inside and outside of the tent. In the background is a large striped tent, a fence, and long wooden pavilions.

 

For more information about this image, click here:

 

www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=103993

 

To browse a featured gallery of Bees and Beekeepers Since 1872, click here:

 

www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/feature/beekeepers/

 

Did You Know?

 

The Wisconsin Historical Society produces giclée print reproductions made from high-resolution scans of original source material from its holdings. Custom orders are printed on matte or semigloss papers using large format printers and archival pigmented inks. All print sale proceeds directly benefit the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of the physical and online collections.

 

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This is the third dead Bee we have found in our garden this week. Rather worrying as this beautiful creature is in trouble all around the world. Our house backs onto fields and this week the farmer has been spraying his crops - is this why we have found these dead bees? My Daughter is giving this little one a royal burial today - a box made from pink cardboard, lots of beautiful flowers and is being burried in her fairy garden.

 

Thousands of scientific sleuths have been on this case for the last 15 years trying to determine why our honey bees are disappearing in such alarming numbers. “This is the biggest general threat to our food supply,” according to Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bee and pollination program.

 

Until recently, the evidence was inconclusive on the cause of the mysterious “colony collapse disorder” (CCD) that threatens the future of beekeeping worldwide. But three new studies point an accusing finger at a culprit that many have suspected all along, a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

Lüneburg Heath (German: Lüneburger Heide) is a large area of heath, geest and woodland in the northeastern part of the state of Lower Saxony in northern Germany. It forms part of the hinterland for the cities of Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen and is named after the town of Lüneburg. Most of the area is a nature reserve. Northern Low Saxon is still widely spoken in the region.

 

Lüneburg Heath has extensive areas of heathland, typical of those that covered most of the North German countryside until about 1800, but which have almost completely disappeared in other areas. The heaths were formed after the Neolithic period by overgrazing of the once widespread forests on the poor sandy soils of the geest, as this slightly hilly and sandy terrain in northern Europe is called. The Lüneburg Heath is therefore a historic cultural landscape. The remaining areas of heath are kept clear mainly through grazing, especially by a North German breed of moorland sheep called the Heidschnucke. Due to its unique landscape, Lüneburg Heath is a popular tourist destination in North Germany.

 

GEOGRAPHY

LOCATION

From a geographical point of view, Lüneburg Heath is a specific natural region, that is an area distinguished by a specific combination of abiotic factors (climate, relief, water resources, soil, geology) and biotic factors (flora and fauna). Lüneburg Heath is a sub-division of the North European Plain. In the list of the major natural regions of Germany issued by the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz) it is region number D28.

 

Lüneburg Heath covers an area which includes the districts (Landkreise) of Celle, Gifhorn, Heidekreis, Uelzen, Lüneburg, Lüchow-Dannenberg, southeast Rotenburg (the town of Visselhövede, Fintel, part of the municipality of Scheeßel and the eastern half of Bothel) and the rural district of Harburg. The easternmost fringes of the Stade Geest belonging to Landkreis Verden are called the Linteln Geest (Lintelner Geest) or Verden Heath (Verdener Heide) and form part of the municipality of Kirchlinteln. This region has no sharply defined boundary with the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Lüneburg Heath lies between the rivers Elbe to the north, the Drawehn to the east, the Aller to the south and southwest, the middle course of the Wümme to the west and the Harburg Hills (Harburger Berge) to the northwest.

 

On the northwestern edge of Lüneburg Heath are the Harburg Hills and south of Schneverdingen there are bogs, such as the Pietzmoor. Also of note are other smaller bogs in sinkholes, like the Grundloses Moor ("bottomless bog") near Walsrode or the Bullenkuhle near Bokel (part of Sprakensehl). The eastern boundary to the Wendland is formed by the Göhrde-Drawehn Hills (the Ostheide natural region). Parts of Lüneburg Heath are in the Südheide Nature Park, others in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park.

 

HILLS

The highest elevation on Lüneburg Heath is the Wilseder Berg (169.2 metres) above NN). Other hills over 100 metres high are: Falkenberg (150 metres), near Bergen, Ahrberg (145 metres), Hakenberg (143 metres), Hoher Mechtin (142 metres), Pampower Berg (140 metres), Lüßberg (130 metres), Brunsberg, near Sprötze (129 metres), Goldbockenberg (129 metres), Hingstberg (126 metres), Staffelberg (126 metres), Hengstberg (121 metres), Höpenberg near Schneverdingen (120 metres), Haußelberg (119.1 metres), Breithorn (118 metres), Mützenberg (115 metres ), Tellmer Berg (113 metres), Wümmeberg (107.9 metres), Schiffberg (107 metres), Hummelsberg and Wulfsberg (each 106 metres), Drullberg and Thonhopsberg (each 104 metres), Kruckberg and Wietzer Berg (each 102 metres) and Höllenberg (101 metres).

 

Several of these hills - the Wilseder Berg, the Falkenberg, the Haußelberg and the Breithorn - were used by the mathematician, Carl Friedrich Gauss, as triangulation stations in his topographical surveys of the Kingdom of Hanover from 1821–1825.

 

RIVERS AND STREAMS

Rivers in the area, beside the numerous small heathland streams, include the Wümme, which rises on the western slopes of the Wilseder Berg, in the south the Lachte with its tributary the Lutter, and the Aller, the Vissel, the Böhme, the Grindau, the Meiße and the Örtze. They all belong to the Weser river system. Those flowing into the Elbe are the Aue, the Ilmenau, the Luhe and the Seeve.

 

GEOLOGY

The immediate subsurface layers on Lüneburg Heath are almost exclusively made up of deposits from the quaternary ice age. The landscape consists of flat plains of ground moraines, ridges of hilly terminal moraines and also of sandar - glacial outwash plains deposited at the edge of the ice sheet.

 

During the Saalian Stage (230,000–130,000 years ago) the area of the present-day Lüneburg Heath was covered three times by a continental ice sheet. In the last glacial period (110,000–10,000 years ago) the ice sheet no longer covered the Lüneburg Heath area; it reached only as far as the River Elbe. Due to the lack of vegetation, the much more rugged terrain at that time was heavily eroded by water, wind and by soil fluction; this resulted in valleys like the Totengrund. The material displaced by erosion, referred to as sediment (Geschiebedecksand), has a depth of 0.4 to 0.8 metres (on slopes up to 1.5 metres).

 

The region is mostly covered by a heathland landscape consisting of big heather and juniper areas, forests and some smaller swamps. In contrast to the areas in the north of Lüneburg Heath, the landscape is very hilly, as it is placed on a terminal moraine.

 

NATURAL DIVISIONS

Lüneburg Heath is divided into the following natural sub-divisions:

 

HIGH HEATH

The Hohe Heide ("High Heath") consists of a series of end moraines from the glaciers of the Saalian glaciation (230,000–130,000 years ago) with the Wilseder Berg at its heart. Unlike the other natural divisions of Lüneburg Heath, the terrain is quite rugged. Characteristic of the area are dry hilltops, periglacial dry valleys and hollows like the Totengrund. Heathland dominates the landscape. They are part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park and of great importance for tourism. In addition there are also extensive pine forests.

 

SOUTH HEATH

The South Heath (Südheide) is dominated by expanses of gently undulating, hilly Sander plains, and sheets of ground moraine and the remains of end moraines from earlier ice ages. There are still large areas of heath on the military training areas near Bad Fallingbostel and Munster (Örtze); these are out-of-bounds to visitors however. The Osterheide near Schneverdingen also belongs to this natural subdivision. It is part of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve. Near Schneverdingen and south of Soltau there are several bogs. A large area of the Südheide is covered by pine forests.

 

EAST HEATH

Numerous end moraines run through the Ostheide ("East Heath") which stretches on the eastern edge of Lüneburg Heath from Lüneburg to north of Wolfsburg. In parts of this region the land is intensively cultivated. The northern area, the so-called Göhrde and the Drawehn, are by contrast mostly wooded like the southern ridge of end moraine.

 

UELZEN BASIN AND ILLMENAU DEPRESSION

The ground moraine landscape of the Uelzen Basin is predominantly used for agriculture. On the surrounding ridges there are also a few pine forests however. There are still large areas of heath here as well, for example the Ellerndorfer Heide ("Ellerndorf Heath") in western Uelzen district or the Klein Bünstorfer Heide ("Klein Bünstorf Heath").

 

LUHEHEIDE

The ridges of end moraine on the Luheheide have clearly defined slopes that fall away sharply to the Elbe Valley. The heath is deeply incised by all the rivers that drain northwards to the Elbe; rivers such as the Seeve, Aue, Luhe (Ilmenau). The ridges between them are wooded and sparsely populated. Settlements are crowded together in the valleys. There is hardly any heathland left in this area, it has been largely reforested by pines.

 

CLIMATE

Lüneburg Heath lies in a temperate maritime climatic region moderated by the Atlantic, with mild winters, cool summers and precipitation all-year round. The Hohe Heide, however, has a "low mountain climate" with lower temperatures and higher precipitation than in the surrounding area.

 

NATURE

NATURE PARKS AND NATURE RESERVES

In the northwestern part of Lüneburg Heath is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Park which covers an area of 1,130 square kilometres. At its heart, around the Wilseder Berg, is the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve (Naturschutzgebiet or NSG) founded as long ago as 1921 with 234 square kilometres of land which is roughly 58% woods and 20% heathland. Other nature parks in the Lüneburg Heath region are the Südheide Nature Park and Elbufer-Drawehn Nature Park. Right in the north of the area is the Harburg Hills Nature Park. The Lüneburg Heath NSG, together with the open heathland of the huge Munster Nord and Süd training areas and the Bergen-Hohne Training Area, is the largest single area of heathland in Central Europe. And within the former province (Regierungsbezirk) of Lüneburg there are no less than 212 individual nature reserves (as at 31 December 2006).

 

FORMATION OF THE HEATH LANDSCAPE

After the end of the Weichselian Ice Age (115,000 to 10,000 years ago) the first woods appeared in the area that now forms Lüneburg Heath which, following the natural ecological succession and encouraged by a gradual improvement in the climate, progressed from birch and pine forest through hazel woods to light woods of sessile oaks.

 

The heath and its surrounding area belong to those regions of the North German Plain in which the hunter culture of the Mesolithic era was superseded quite early on by Neolithic farmers. By about 3000 BC, during the Neolithic, large open areas appeared on the lightly undulating, sandy stretches of geest on Lüneburg Heath. This was a result of the intensive grazing of the sessile oak woods and the associated destruction of successive new stands of trees. These open areas became dominated by the common heather (Calluna vulgaris), a largely grazing-resistant species of plant. Nevertheless, oak and beech woods succeeded time and again in establishing themselves wherever man left areas of heath untended. Over a long period of time the region of Lüneburg Heath alternated between periods when the heathlands spread and dominated the scene and times when it was largely covered with forest and only small areas of heath existed. Finally, after the migration period, the wooded areas of the region increased considerably.

 

Not until after 1000 AD does the pollen analysis show a continuous reduction in the woodlands and a considerable increase in heather. This was brought about by a change from nomadic farming to settled farming with permanent settlements. The typical heath farming economy emerged: due to the poor soils the few available nutrients from a large area were concentrated on relatively small fields, from which grain, in particular, could be produced. This was achieved by the regular removal of the turf (a method known as Plaggen), which was used as hay for the pens of the moorland sheep, the Heidschnucken. This was then enriched with the manure and urine of the sheep – and spread over the fields as fertiliser.

 

By cutting the turf the regenerative capacity of the soils was exhausted. The regular removal of the top layer of soil contributed to the spreading of heathland. As heather decomposes, the pH value of the soil falls drastically, as far as the iron buffer-region at pH 3, which initiates the process of podsolisation. Soil life is severely damaged, which results in a hard layer of earth underneath the root zone on the heath at a depth of about 40 centimetres. The iron and humus particles released by the topsoil precipitate onto this impervious hardpan. The subsoil thus separates itself from the topsoil. The nutrients are largely washed out of the topsoil which leads to leaching and causes the typical grey-white coloration of the paths on the heath.

 

The oft-expressed view in the literature that the heath arose in the Middle Ages as a result of the demand for wood by the Lüneburg salt pans is incorrect. The Lüneburg salt ponds certainly needed firewood for the production of salt, but they did not appear until around 1000 AD, by which time the heath had already been around for 4,000 years. The amount required, even in the heyday of production, could have been continuously supplied by an area of woodland about 50 km2 in area, yet the heath covers over 7000 km2. In any case the wood certainly did not come from the heath, but via the waterways, especially from Mecklenburg up the Elbe and from the area of the Schaalsee. Transportation overland would have been far too expensive (apart from the River Ilmenau which was navigable at the time, no rivers flow from the main areas of heathland to Lüneburg), as can be seen not only from some of the delivery notes which still survive, but also from the fact that there are still large woods around Lüneburg itself, such as the Göhrde. Finally heathland has frequentely developed in areas where there are no salt pans, such as the sheep-grazing regions on the coasts of Norway to Portugal and in Scotland and Ireland.

 

The heath is not therefore a natural landscape, but a cultural landscape created by the intervention of man. In order to prevent its semi-open heathland from being repopulated by trees, especially pines and, to a lesser extent, silver birches, which would cause the loss of this millennia-old environment and its many inhabitants, including often very rare animal and plant species, sheep are allowed to graze it regularly; these are almost exclusively the local German moorland sheep, the Heidschnucke.

 

PLANT POPULATION/PHYTOCENOSIS

In the 20th century, numerous conservation measures were implemented on Lüneburg Heath; as a result, it is one of the best researched regions of central Europe.

 

- Heathland

Sand heaths form about 20% of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and may be broken down into further sub-divisions, the most important being:

 

- Ordinary sand heath (Typische Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum)

In addition to the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) only a few taller plants occur here, none of which can be classed as characteristic species. Amongst them are the wavy hair-grass (Deschampsia flexuosa) and common juniper (Juniperus communis). Ordinary sand heath is the most widespread of the heathland types. Its proportion has increased in recent decades at the expense of other heath habitats. This reduction in the variety of heathland types may be due to increasing nitrogen levels from the air, the increase in plant litter (Rohhumusauflagen) and the natural ageing of the heathland.

 

- Lichen-rich sand heath (Flechtenreiche Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum cladonietosum)

The lichen-rich sand heaths can be told apart from the other types of heathland by the presence of various cup lichens (Cladonia), ciliated fringewort (Ptilidium ciliare) and juniper haircap (Polytrichum juniperinum). They occur frequently on dry, south-facing slopes. This type of heath is found west of Niederhaverbeck and near Sundermühlen.

 

- Clay heath (Lehmheide, Genisto-callunetum danthonietusum)

This can be identified by the presence of heath grass (Danthonia decumbens), pill sedge (Carex pilulifera), mat grass (Nardus stricta), fine-leaved sheep's-fescue (Festuca filiformis), mouse-ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella) and field wood-rush (Luzula campestris). Clay heaths have become very rare within the Lüneburg Heath. They are found on the Wilseder Berg and south of Niederhaverbeck.

 

- Blueberry sand heath (Heidelbeer-Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Vaccinium myrtillus Rasse)

Blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) are the signature species of this type of heath and, more rarely, cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Blueberry heath is the second most common type of vegetation on the heathlands and occurs especially on northern slopes, the edges of woods and thick juniper hedges. This type of heath is particularly characteristic of the northern slopes of the Wilseder Berg, as well as the Steingrund and Totengrund. In those places, cranberries have even ousted the common heather (Calluna vulgaris) in places.

 

- Wet sand heath (Feuchte Sandheide, Genisto-Callunetum, Molinia-Variante)

Wet sand heath is the ideal habitat for purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea), cross-leaved heath (Erica tetralix) and scirpus (Scirpus cespitosus). It occurs in places close to the water table and in the transition zone around bogs. Its primary locations are areas north of Wilsede and near the Hörpel Ponds (Hörpeler Teichen).

 

WOODS

The greater part (about 58%) of the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve consists of woods, primarily pine forests, which were planted in the second half of the 19th century on former heathland and drifting sand. In some cases the dunes simply became naturally overgrown, again with pines. There are only a very few old stands of sessile oaks, which stem from the logging industry during the time of the Kingdom of Hanover. In many parts of the nature reserve there are so-called Stühbüsche (a form of coppice), trees that were coppiced by repeatedly being cut short. In the meantime they have grown wild again and have a characteristic and unusual appearance with their multiple trunks. Near Wilsede there is the remnant of a Hutewald, a wood pasture with giant, multi-stemmed beech trees.

 

BOGS

The largest bog on Lüneburg Heath is the Pietzmoor, which lies east of Schneverdingen. It was drained however and peat was cut there until the 1960s. The Nature Park Association carried out work in the 1980s to try and turn it back to its natural waterlogged state. For example, some of the drainage ditches were filled which led to a considerable rise in the water levels of the former peat cuts. However typical bog vegetation has not yet re-established itself.[8]

 

ANIMALS

Many species of animal live on Lüneburg Heath, particularly birds that are at home in the wide, open landscape, some of which are seriously threatened by the intensive-farming techniques in other areas. These include the: black grouse (Tetrao tetrix), the nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the woodlark (Lullula arborea), the great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor), the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), the northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), the wryneck (Jynx torquilla), the European green woodpecker (Picus viridis), the stonechat (Saxicola torquata), the Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata), the common quail (Coturnix coturnix) and the black stork (Ciconia nigra). In the Lüneburg Heath the population of the very rare black grouse is rising continually. In 2007 78 were counted, 13 more than in the previous year. Since 2003 the number of grouse has doubled.

 

Wolves, although once extinct in the area, have returned to the Lüneburg Heath.

 

Numerous species including European bison, moose and brown bear which once inhabited the region may be seen in the Lüneburg Heath Wildlife Park alongside more exotic animals like snow leopards and Arctic wolves.

 

CULTURE AND HISTORY

EARLY HISTORY

Pollen analyses show that the dry geest soils of North Germany have been cultivated since about 3000 BC. Clearance by fire and the cultivation of crops on the Pleistocene sandy soils quickly led however to soil degradation. So the land cleared by fire could only be used for a short time. The settlements moved frequently and woods elsewhere were cleared. Even at that time the first Calluna (heather) heaths appeared (see above). Evidence of relatively dense settlement is found especially in Uelzen district. On Lüneburg Heath there are numerous Megalithic sites and tumuli from the Neolithic and the early Bronze Age. The most famous are the Oldendorfer Totenstatt (Oldendorf Gravesite) and the Sieben Steinhäuser (Seven Stone Houses). But even in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve there are more than a thousand tumuli, especially near Nieder- and Oberhaverbeck. The largest of these tumuli is the so-called Prince's Grave (Fürstengrab). Also near Wilsede there is the well-known stone and juniper group known as Hannibal's Grave (Hannibals Grab).

 

TRANSITION TO SETTLEMENT CULTURE

After the withdrawal of the Lombards in the migration period, from about 700 AD Lüneburg Heath belonged to the Duchy of Saxony, which was conquered by Charlemagne in the 9th century and became part of the Frankish Empire. The resulting close control of the population and the Christianization meant that the rural settlements had to stay in one place and could no longer move about freely. The land had to be farmed more intensively which led to the heathland spreading.

 

SETTLEMENTS

Lüneburg Heath was always relatively sparsely populated due to the poor soils in the area. The region was dominated by heath farming which was a less intensive form of land usage necessary for its large areas of barren terrain and heathland. An important economic sideline of past centuries was heathland beekeeping. The villages were usually encircled by small tracts of woodland, sometimes interrupted by fields or meadows, and merged without clear boundaries into the surrounding landscape. The farmsteads were arranged relatively arbitrarily, many stood very close to one another; others were spread out at some distance from each other. They were loose cluster villages (lockere Haufendörfer). In order to prevent cattle trampling flat the gardens attached to the houses, village roads were enclosed with wooden fences and, later, with characteristic stone walls. The typical design of farmhouse was the Fachhallenhaus, a large timber-framed single building, in which people and animals lived under a single roof. Each village had relatively few complete farms; in Wilsede there were only four, in the church village (Kirchdorf) of Undeloh there were eleven, but that was an exception. In addition there were Koten (small, single houses), sheep pens and shared bakehouses. The farms themselves, however, were very large. In Wilsede all the features of a heath village described here may still be seen. Wilsede Heath Museum (Heidemuseum Wilsede) was established in a Fachhallenhaus and it gives an insight into the working and living conditions of a heathland farm around 1850. Walsrode Heath Museum was one of the first German open air museums and also portrays the life of heathland folk. In rural parts of the region they still sometimes use today a Low German dialect called Heidjerisch. This word derives from the name given to inhabitants of the Lüneburg Heath – the Heidjer.

 

HEATH CONVENTS

In the Lüneburg Heath region, six nunneries from the Middle Ages survived, which became Protestant convents after the Reformation. These establishments are the abbeys of: Ebstorf, Isenhagen, Lüne, Medingen, Wienhausen and Walsrode.

 

THE END OF THE HEATHLAND FARMING IN THE 19TH CENTURY

From 1831 feudalism was abolished in the Kingdom of Hanover and those heathland areas that were common land for the villages were divided amongst the individual farmers. Heathland farming died out at the end of the 19th century. Many farmers sold their land to the Prussian treasury or the Hanover monastic chamber, who afforested the land with pines. As a result, the area of heath was drastically reduced.

 

In 1800, large parts of Northwest Germany had been covered with heaths and bog. Today, by contrast the only large, continuous areas of heath remaining are in the Lüneburg Heath Nature Reserve and on a few military training areas.

The changing perception of the heath

As late as the turn of the 18th to the 19th century, the barren and almost treeless heathlands were still perceived as hostile and threatening environments, as evinced by two travel logs of journeys between 1799 and 1804:

 

As I had traversed the Hanoverian dominions in so many directions, I did not expect to find nature clothed in charms, or a high degree of population, fertility, and cultivation. Next to Lauenburg, I think it is the worst tract of an equal extent that I ever met with. The soil is one vast sandy desert, which is either naturally bare, or covered with patches of heath or grass.

 

- Charles Gottlob Küttner: Travels through Denmark, Sweden, Austria and part of Italy, in 1798 & 1799. London 1805.

 

On leaving Zell we passed through a dark wood, of at least two leagues in extent; and from that city to Harburgh, in a line of nearly twenty German miles, we travelled over sandy plains and extensive heaths. At a great distance, geese, ducks and sheep of a very poor appearance, never failed to indicate the vicinity of some wretched hamlet. What habitations! Whole families, of the most wretched appearance, and covered with tattered garments, associate together, eat and sleep with their cattle. Near these real catacombs we observed growing a few stalks of rye and barley, and here and there a few tufu of buck-wheat. The straw is short and stunted, and the ears of a diminutive size. Population and agriculture must ever be dependant on each other.

 

- Michel Ange Mangourit: Travels in Hanover, during the years 1803 and 1804. London 1806.

 

The poem Der Heideknabe ("The Heath Lad") from the year 1844 by Friedrich Hebbel stresses the unearthly atmosphere and the bleak solitude of the heaths:

 

:(...) Out, out of the town! And there it stretches,

The heath, misty, ghostly,

The wind swishing over it,

Oh, every step here is like a thousand others!

 

And all so still, and all so quiet,

You look around for signs of life,

Only hungry birds dart by

Out of the clouds, to spear worms (...).

 

Towards the middle of the 19th century the first positive descriptions of the heath emerged, initially inspired by the romantic movement. With the Industrial Revolution in Germany, unspoilt nature became more important for people, providing a welcome contrast with the rapidly burgeoning cities. Because the heathlands of North Germany were being increasingly decimated by cultivation and reforestation, they now appeared to be worth protecting. Numerous writers and painters portrayed the beauty of the heath, particularly when it was in bloom in August and September. One important heathland artist was Eugen Bracht. The most famous heath poet was the local writer Hermann Löns (1866–1914), who spent some time living in a hunting lodge near Westenholz. He worked the heath countryside into his books and promoted the foundation of the first German nature reserve on Lüneburg Heath. His purported remains were buried in a juniper copse at Tietlingen near Walsrode in 1935. His works were a source for Heimatfilme that were shot on Lüneburg Heath, such as Grün ist die Heide ("The Heath Is Green") from 1932 and remade in 1951 and 1972, as well as Rot ist die Liebe ("Red is Love") from 1956.

 

HISTORY OF CONSERVATION ON LÜNEBURG HEATH

Around 1900, there were growing demands to save the heathland and bogs of northwest Germany, which were threatened by reforestation and drainage. On Lüneburg Heath, Wilhelm Bode, then the pastor at Egestorf, was particularly active in pressing for the preservation of the endangered countryside. He had learned in 1905 of plans for building weekend houses on the Totengrund. In order to prevent this, he persuaded Andreas Thomsen, a professor from Münster, to acquire the area as a nature reserve. In 1909, Pastor Bode and district administrator (Landrat) Fritz Ecker prevented the planned reforestation of the Wilseder Berg.

 

In the same year, an appeal by Curt Floerike appeared in Kosmos magazine, citing the establishment of national parks in the United States and calling for them in Germany. In order to realise this goal, the Nature Park Society or Verein Naturschutzpark (VNP) was founded in Munich on 23 October 1909. They planned to create national parks in the Alps, the Central Uplands and in the north German geest region. By 1913, the society had 13,000 members.

 

The area of Lüneburg Heath near Wilsede was selected as the location for the north German national park. Using the VNP's funds, more than 30 km² of heathland were purchased or rented by 1913. In 1921, a police ordinance placed more than 200 km² of Lüneburg Heath under protection, the first time this had been achieved in Germany. One problem that arose as early as the 1920s was the steadily increasing number of visitors. In 1924, in order to keep visitors away from sensitive areas of heathland, a volunteer Heath Guard (Heidewacht) was founded.

 

The Reich conservation law was passed in 1933 and Lüneburg Heath was designated as an official nature reserve. Although plans to build a motorway through the park and for the heath to be used as a military training area were stopped, in 1933 the Heidewacht was disbanded, mainly because it was made up of members of social democratic youth organisations. In 1939, a new law that granted the chairman of the VNP – now called Führer – wide-ranging powers. Jews could no longer be members of the society.

 

Between 1891 and the Second World War, large military training areas were established on Lüneburg Heath, including the largest one in Europe, the Bergen-Hohne Training Area on the Südheide. Here the heathland has largely been preserved, albeit no longer accessible to the general public.

 

A large area of the nature park belonging to the society near Schneverdingen was taken over by the British Army of the Rhine in 1945 for use as a tank training area. In the 1950s, during military exercises, British tanks even pushed forward as far as the Wilseder Berg. Not until the Soltau-Lüneburg Agreement, was signed in 1959 between the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada, were the boundaries of the tank training area fixed. Continual exercising over the area by armoured vehicles completely destroyed the vegetation on the Osterheide near Schneverdingen, forming large areas of sand dunes. In 1994, the British returned the so-called "Red Areas" of the Soltau-Lüneburg Training Area to the Nature Park Society who, with the help of money from the federal government, set about the work of renaturation. Nowadays hardly any traces of the tank training area are left. The base camp for military exercises, Reinsehlen Camp, has been turned into a nature reserve.

 

FOREST FIRE

In August 1975, fire broke out on the Südheide which turned out to be the biggest forest fire in West Germany to that date. Serious forest fires broke out in the southern part of the area near Stüde, Neudorf-Platendorf, Meinersen and then by Eschede near Celle, with devastating effects and fatalities.

 

TOURISM

Today the area is a popular tourist destination. Contributing to this are the theme park, Heidepark Soltau, the Walsrode Bird Park, the Serengeti Safari Park at Hodenhagen, Snow Dome Bispingen, and a Center Parc as well as the many farms offering holiday stays, making the Lüneburg Heath especially popular for families. Another group of tourists are the elderly on free guided bus tours (Kaffeefahrten), stopping for coffee and wool plaids at a farm before touring Lüneburg for an hour.

 

Kunststätte Bossard in the Nordheide near Jesteburg is an expressionist Gesamtkunstwerk open to the public.

 

The memorial/exhibition at the former Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near the town of Bergen is also located in the Lüneburg Heath.

 

WIKIPEDIA

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

 

The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

 

The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

 

Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cycle paths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

 

Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onward, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

 

Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

 

The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event, with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island, which expanded to two days in 2003, then three days by 2004.

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Commonly called a banana spider it is one of the largest in North America. It has been suggested that one of the uses of its yellow web is to attract bees, which makes sense because this spider has built its web at a beekeeping supply house that has honeybee colonies.

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Johanny Sawadogo, Head of the Provincial Forest Service, is training beekeepers to maintain hives and collect honey, Yalka village, Burkina Faso.

 

Photo by Ollivier Girard/CIFOR

 

cifor.org

 

blog.cifor.org

 

If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: cifor-mediainfo@cgiar.org and m.edliadi@cgiar.org

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Going to Rhul Bee Supplies to get our bees, a Nuke.

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

Caedwalla of Wessex

 

In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla of Wessex. The Jutish king of the Isle of Wight, Arwald, died in action and his nephews were betrayed to Caedwalla, who subsequently died of wounds received in the battle. The two boys were converted to Christianity and immediately executed. Their names are unknown, but are called collectively "St.Arwald"- after their pagan uncle (who died fighting Christianity).

 

The West Saxon invasion was by all accounts prolonged and bloody.

 

St.Bede states that "...After Caedwalla had obtained possession of the kingdom of the Gewissae, he took also the Isle of Wight, which till then was entirely given over to idolatry, and by merciless slaughter, endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place their stead people from his own province; binding himself by a vow, though it is said that he was not yet regenerated in Christ, to give the fourth part of the land and of the spoil to the Lord, if he took the Island. He fulfilled this vow by giving the same for the service of the Lord to Bishop Wilfrid..."

 

It is reported in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle that during Caedwalla's attempts to subdue the population he was gravely wounded - wounds from which he would die within a couple of years. Before final subjugation most of the Jutish population of the island were killed and the remnant forced to accept Christianity as their religion and the West Saxon dialect as their language. Bede states that Caedwalla endeavoured to "mercilessly" destroy the population, but that 300 "hides" were given to the Church in the person of St Wilfrid. A "hide" was the amount of land required to support a family, and the Island was rated at 1200 hides. Caedwalla was a Christian sympathiser under the tutelage of St Wilfrid and St Aldhelm and had promised Wilfrid a quarter of the land in return for his assistance in claiming the Wessex throne. Unfortunately for them, the Jutish Islanders were not only heathens, but apostates, and the mass conversion of the Island probably did not occur as smoothly as had been planned.

 

From 685 therefore the island can be considered to have become part of Wessex and following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England then part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

[edit] The Saxons

 

The Anglo Saxon Chronicle tells how Wiht-land suffered particularly from Viking predations. Alfred the Great's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight". During the second wave of Viking attacks in the reign of Ethelred the Unready (975-1014) the Isle of Wight was taken over by the Danes as a base to harry Southern England, referred to as their "frith-stool". The inlet on the west of the River Medina at Werrar Copse seems to have been their main base. In 1002 Ethelred ordered the killing of all the Danes in England in the St. Brice's Day Massacre but the Danish Army remained intact, based on the Isle of Wight. In 1012 Sweyn Forkbeard revenged the Danish defeat. Ethelred was forced to flee England: he spent Christmas on the Isle of Wight en route to refuge in Normandy.

 

The Island again played a critical role in English history as the base for Harold Godwinson and his brothers in their revolt against Edward the Confessor and yet again in 1066, when Tostig Godwinson arrived to collect supplies - but very little other support - en route to his defeat by Harold at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. Both men had manors on the Isle of Wight - Harold at Kern and Tostig at Nunwell.

[edit] The Norman Conquest

 

In the Domesday book (1086) the Island's name is Wit. The Norman Conquest of 1066 transferred the overall manorial rights of the Island to William FitzOsbern as Lord of the Isle of Wight. Carisbrooke Priory and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle were founded. The Island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus, to Edward I in 1293.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him.

[edit] Medieval

 

After the Norman Conquest, the title of Lord of the Isle of Wight was created and William Fitz-Osborne who subsequently founded Carisbrooke Priory and the fortifications on what was to become Carisbrooke Castle became the first to hold the title. (It is possible that the site of Carisbrooke Castle had previously been fortified originally by Romans and subsequently by Jutes or Saxons; there still remains a late Saxon burgh, or defensive wall, built to defend the site from Viking raiders.) The Island did not come under the full control of the crown until the Countess Isabella De Fortibus sold it to Edward I in 1293 for six thousand marks.

 

The Lordship thereafter became a Royal appointment with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick, was crowned King of the Isle of Wight, King Henry VI assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. He died in 1445, aged 22. With no male heir, his regal title expired with him. The title of Lord of the Isle of Wight expired in the reign of Henry VII with the title of Governor or Captain being used for sometime thereafter. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and incarcerated the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles was later tried and executed in London.

 

Henry VIII who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouth, fortifications at Yarmouth, East & West Cowes and Sandown, sometimes re-using stone from dissolved monasteries as building material. Sir Richard Worsley, Captain of the Island at this time, successfully commanded the resistance to the last of the French attacks in 1545. In July 1545; French troops had landed on the southern coast of the Isle of Wight. Their aim was to seize important areas of the island; allowing the French to gain overall control of the Isle of Wight; giving the French a valuable jumping-off point for further operations against the mainland. However, the French advance was decisively defeated, when the local Isle of Wight militia defeated the French troops in the Battle of Bonchurch. Much later on after the Spanish Armada in 1588 the threat of Spanish attacks remained, and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

 

In 1587 two Roman Catholic missionaries Anderton and Marsden, originally from Lancashire, but trained in France, were returned to England in disguise on the ferry to Dover, but due to a severe gale landed in Cowes in the Isle of Wight. Unfortunately for them, such was the danger they were in that they loudly prayed to God to "save the first of your seminarians to returm=n to England" which was overheard by fellow passengers who reported them to Governor Carey. They were taken to London for trial, but executed by hanging, drawing and quartering in Cowes, although the exact site is unknown. They were declared "Venerable" by Pope Pius XI.

[edit] Early Modern and Modern

 

Charles I evaded custody under the Army at Hampton Court by riding to Southampton in order to escape to Jersey. However,he and his companion became lost in the New Forest and missed their intended ship, and fled to the Isle of Wight instead. The Governor Colonel Robert Hammond had declared for Parliament and Charles was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle. Since an extensive bowling green was built for his use this was initially in some comfort, but this was made closer after an abortive escape attempt, when he failed to get through the window to where Royalist sympathisers under John Oglander were waiting with a horse.

 

Charles was approached by the Presbyterian faction of Parliament and concluded the Treaty of Newport, offering him a constitutional monarchy. However Charles had no intention of accepting its restrictions upon Royal power and also concluded the Engagement with the Scots to invade on his behalf. As a result of his perceived faithlessness, the moderate faction at Parliament were discredited and Charles was moved to more prison-like conditions at Hurst Castle and thence to execution on 30 January 1649.

 

Later Cromwell was to use Carisbrooke Castle as a place of imprisonment for Fifth Monarchists opposed to his Protectorate including Thomas Harrison and Christopher Feake.

 

Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, and as a result it become a major holiday resort for members of European royalty, whose many houses could later claim descent from her through the widely flung marriages of her offspring. During her reign in 1897 the World's first radio station was set up by Marconi at the Needles battery at the western tip of the Island.

 

The famous boat-building firm of J. Samuel White was established on the Island in 1802. Other noteworthy marine manufacturers followed over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including Saunders-Roe a key manufacturer of the Flying-boats and the world's first hovercraft. The tradition of maritime industry continues on the Island today.

 

In the mid- to late-nineteenth century, a sizeable network of railways was built on the island, notable for its punishing gradients and numerous tunnels, particularly to reach the town of Ventnor. Since the early twentieth century, these lines were often linked to plans for a tunnel under the Solent, an idea still talked of today. Most of the rail network closed between 1956 and 1966, and is now a series of cyclepaths.

 

The first Governor to hold the crown representative title used now of Lord-Lieutenant was Lord Mountbatten of Burma until his murder in 1979. Lord Mottistone was the last Lord Lieutenant to also hold the title Governor (from 1992 to 1995). Since 1995 there has been no Governor appointed and Mr Christopher Bland has been the Lord Lieutenant.

[edit] Caulkheads and other Island terms

 

Historically, inhabitants of the Isle of Wight have been known as Vectensians or Vectians (pronounced Vec-tee-ans). These terms derive from the Latin name for the Island, Vectis. Vectian is a word used more formally to describe certain geological features which are typical of the Island. As with many other small island communities the term Islander has long been used, and is commonly heard today. The term Overner is used for people originating from mainland Great Britain. This is an abbreviated form of Overlander; which is an archaic English term for an outsider still found in a few other places such as parts of Australia.[5]

 

People born on the island are colloquially known as Caulkheads (sometimes erroneously written as it is spoken, Corkheads), a word comparable with the name Cockney for those born in the East End of London. Some argue that the term should only apply those who can also claim they are of established Isle of Wight stock either by proven historical roots or, for example, being third generation inhabitants from both parents' lineage.[6]

 

One theory about the term 'caulkhead' is that it comes from the once prevalent local industry of caulking boats; a process of sealing the seams of wooden boats with oakum. It is said that the shipyard at Bucklers Hard in the New Forest employed labourers from the Isle of Wight , mainly as caulkers, in the building of early warships. Islanders may have been called "Caulkheads" during this time either because they were indeed so employed, or merely as a derisory term for perceived unintelligent labourers from another place. Another more fanciful story is that a group of armoured Island horsemen were chased into the sea by the marauding French, and took refuge on a sandbank when the tide came in, thus appearing to float in the sea despite their heavy armour, hence the name Cork- i.e. Caulk-, -heads When this supposed event happened is not clear, since the Island was frequently attacked in the Middle Ages, however in the last instance in 1546 Sandown Castle was under construction some way offshore and a battle was fought on site, resulting in the French being driven off and this could fit this particular tale.[7] In local folklore it is said that a test can be conducted on a baby by throwing it into the sea from the end of Ryde Pier whereupon a true caulkhead baby will float unharmed. Thankfully there is no record of the test ever being carried out.

[edit] Political History

 

The island's most ancient borough was Newtown on the large natural harbour on the island's north-western coast. A French raid in 1377, that destroyed much of the town as well as other Island settlements, sealed its permanent decline. By the middle of the sixteenth century it was a small settlement long eclipsed by the more easily defended town of Newport. Elizabeth I breathed some life into the town by awarding two parliamentary seats but this ultimately made it one of the most notorious of the Rotten Boroughs. By the time of the Great Reform Act that abolished the seats, it had just fourteen houses and twenty-three voters. The Act also disenfranchised the borough of Yarmouth and replaced the four lost seats with the first MP for the whole Isle of Wight; Newport also retained its two MPs, though these were reduced to one in 1868 and eventually abolished completely in 1885.

 

Often thought of as part of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight was briefly included in that county when the first county councils were created in 1888. However, a "Home Rule" campaign led to a separate county council being established for the Isle of Wight in 1890, and it has remained separate ever since. Like inhabitants of many islands, Islanders are fiercely jealous of their real (or perceived) independence, and confusion over the Island's separate status is a perennial source of friction.

 

It was planned to merge the county back into Hampshire as a district in the 1974 local government reform, but a last minute change led to it retaining its county council. However, since there was no provision made in the Local Government Act 1972 for unitary authorities, the Island had to retain a two-tier structure, with a county council and two boroughs, Medina and South Wight.

 

The borough councils were merged with the county council on April 1, 1995, to form a single unitary authority, the Isle of Wight Council. The only significant present-day administrative link with Hampshire is the police service, the Hampshire Constabulary, which is joint between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

 

From the closing decades of the 20th century onwards, there has been considerable debate on the Island over whether or not a bridge or tunnel should connect the island with mainland England. The Isle of Wight Party campaigned from a positive position, although extensive public debate on the subject revealed a strong body of opinion amongst islanders against such a proposal. In 2002 the Isle of Wight Council debated the issue and made a policy statement against the proposal.

[edit] Autonomy and Political Recognition

 

A number of discussions about the status of the island have taken place over many years, with standpoints from the extreme of wanting full sovereignty for the Isle of Wight, to perhaps the opposite extreme of merging with Hampshire. The pro-independence lobby had a formal voice in the early 1970s with the Vectis National Party. Their main claim was that the sale of the island to the Crown in 1293 was unconstitutional. However, this movement now has little serious support. Since the 1990s the debate has largely taken the form of a campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognized as a distinct region by organizations such as the EU, due to its relative poverty within the south-east of England. One argument in favour of special treatment is that this poverty is not acknowledged by such organizations as it is distorted statistically by retired and wealthy (but less economically active) immigrants from the mainland.

 

In more recent times, the regionalist movement has been represented by the Isle of Wight Party.

[edit] Isle of Wight Disease

 

In 1904 a mysterious illness began to kill honeybee colonies on the island, and had nearly wiped out all hives by 1907 when the disease jumped to the mainland, and decimated beekeeping in the British Isles. Called the Isle of Wight Disease, the cause of the mystery ailment was not identified until 1921 when a tiny parasitic mite, Acarapis woodi was first described by J. Rennie. The mite inhabited the tracheae of individual bees, and greatly shortened their lifespan, causing eventual death of the colony. The disease (now called Acarine Disease) frightened many other nations because of the importance of bees in pollination. Laws against importation of honeybees were passed, but this merely delayed the eventual spread of the parasite to the rest of the world.

[edit] The Isle of Wight Festival

Main article: Isle of Wight Festival

 

A large rock festival took place near Tennyson Down, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable for being the last public performance by Jimi Hendrix before his death. The festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event,[8] with other, smaller musical events of many different genres across the Island becoming associated with it.

 

The first of the modern festivals was a one day affair termed Rock Island,[9] which expanded to two days in 2003,[9] then three days by 2004.[10]

SHANGHAI, CHINA (SEPTEMBER 2012) –The Marriott Hotels of Shanghai, namely JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at Tomorrow Square, Shanghai Marriott Hotel City Centre, Renaissance Courtyard by Marriott Shanghai Puxi, Shanghai Yu Garden Hotel, Renaissance Shanghai Putuo Hotel, courtyard by Marriott Shanghai Pudong, Courtyard by Marriott Shanghai Xujiahui, Renaissance Shanghai Zhongshan Park Hotel, Shanghai Marriott Hotel Luwan, Renaissance Shanghai Yangtze Hotel, Renaissance Shanghai Pudong Hotel, Shanghai Marriott Hotel Changfeng Park, Shanghai Marriott Hotel Hongqiao, Renaissance Shanghai Caohejing Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Shanghai Jiading support The One Million Dumplings Project.

 

The cluster’s latest F&B campaign, launched in July, was created to benefit the lives and education of migrant children citywide, while offering its guests a traditional taste of Shanghai – the steamed meat dumpling or Xiao Long Bao.

 

Reasonably priced at RMB 12 for a set of six, a wide selection of traditional xiao long bao will be on offer at each property’s outlet featuring local cuisine, with a RMB 1 donation per order in support of Compassion for Migrant Children. It is the Marriott Hotels of Greater Shanghai’s goal to reach a purchase of one million dumplings within the next 6 month. For more information or reservations, contact your individual property directly.

 

Partnered with the Yanbian Livestock Development Group Co. Ltd. and via cooperation with the National Commission for Ethnic Minority Affairs, Marriott Hotels of Greater Shanghai is proud to now supply “Benfu Yanbian Yellow Cattle Beef” to all its hotel outlets citywide.

 

Yanbian Yellow Cattle, product of the Yanbian Livestock Development Group Co. Ltd., is one of the five main beef brands in China boasting over 150 years in cultivation and breeding experience. Raised in the Changai Mountains of the northern Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, this high-grade beef is suitable for both Chinese and Western dishes.

 

For those sweet tooths keen on green, Marriott shanghai is featuring organic honey harvested by the Guanba Bee Farming Cooperative, the very first grant recipient of Marriott’s Nobility of Nature program.

 

Introduced by Marriott International in early 2012, the Nobility of Nature program provides grants to rural Sichuan province communities that adopt sustainable economic activities like honey and mushroom farming, instead of destructive practices like deforestation for farming or grazing. By promising to adopt these livelihoods, locals are helping to protect the Yangtze River watershed, which supports approximately 400 million people and is the largest source of fresh water on the planet. All sales proceeds will go toward additional cooperative support, including beekeeping equipment and training.

 

Contacts

 

For more information on “Benfu” beef dishes, or to pre-order organic honey, contact your individual property directly.

 

More information on Benfu Yanbian beef can also be found at a262990246.oinsite.yh.mynet.cn

 

To see Nobility in Nature in action, click here www.marriott.com/marriott/nobility-of-nature.mi

 

ABOUT MARRIOTT HOTELS

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. (NYSE:MAR) is a leading lodging company with more than 3,400 lodging properties in 68 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels under the Marriott, JW Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, SpringHill Suites and Bulgari brand names; develops and operates vacation ownership resorts under the Marriott Vacation Club, The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, and Grand Residences by Marriott brands; licenses and manages whole-ownership residential brands, including The Ritz-Carlton Residences, JW Marriott Residences and Marriott Residences; operates Marriott Executive Apartments; provides furnished corporate housing through its Marriott ExecuStay division; and operates conference centers. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and had approximately 137,000 employees at 2009 year-end. It is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the best companies to wo