Whitwell Origins

The Manor of Whitwell was anciently included in the manor of Gatcombe, which, in Domesday Book, is said to have been possessed by three brothers, in the time of Edward the Confessor. Each of these brothers had his hall or capital messuage. The first mention of Whitwell is found in the roll of tenants, under the Countess Isabella Fortibus, where de Estur, Lord of Gatcombe, is said to hold the manor of Whitwell in demesne.

Whitwell, together with Gatcombe, came to the Lisle family by the marriage of Walter Lisle with Maud, the daughter and heiress of de Estur, who built and endowed the chapel of St. Rhadegund. It next came to John Bramshot, who married Lisle’s daughter, who left the property to two daughters, Elizabeth who married John Dudley, who was attained for high treason by Henry VIII, and his son John Dudley, made Duke of Northumberland, was beheaded by Queen Mary, and Margaret who married John Pakenham, whose son Edmund left two daughters, one married Richard Earnley, and the other married Sir Geoffrey Pole, the brother of Cardinal Pole.

From a decree of John Dowman, Vicar-general and Chancellor of Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester, it appears that what is now called the church, consisted of two chapels, The Chapel of St. Mary and the Chapel of St. Rhadegund, the former supported by the parishioners of Godshill and the latter by the Vicar of Gatcombe.

Whitwell later came, by purchase, into the hands of the Worsley family until it was split up by the sales of 1809 and 1853

The soil is strong loam, with chalk subsoil and good freestone for building. The chief crops were wheat, barley and oats. The area is 1907 acres, rateable value £4715, the population in 1881 was 706.

The map below shows the 7 Parishes.

Chale  |  NitonWhitwell  |  St.Lawrence  |  GodshillNewchurchBonchurch

Image: A Military Map by James Clarke 1812

Sale of part of the Worsley Estate 1809

At the time John Harvey was the tenant at Old Park Farm until his death in 1818.

Worsley Rents 1763

During the latter half of the 18th. Century Mr William Clarke was responsible for collecting the rents for Thomas Worsley.


Whitwell Parish properties

Land Tax charges of 3 shillings on the pound for the year 1774

Some of the purchasers of the 1809 sale. Note that Michael Hoy bought several properties.

The Undercliff in the 19th Century

Undercliff Drive viewed from “Windy Corner” looking east towards St. Lawrence

The Undercliff area of Whitwell consisted on three properties


Old Park Farm

Wrongs or Rans Farm

Pilgrims Progress

Image: From the Parish Records

The Rev. S. Haytor, Rector of Niton 1859-1884, related that he heard from a very old woman living in Niton, that she had been told by her grandmother, that there was a famous cross at Whitwell Church, and that the Pilgrims used to make their pilgrimage to the Lady of Whitwell via the Cripples Path from the Undercliff.

An octagonal crucifix shaft was found when taking down the chancel wall during the restoration of 1868.

Although a recent rock fall has blocked the pathway, it is hoped that the walk will be re-opened in 2006. The Pilgrims Way to the church has been signposted and explanatory boards erected along the route.

A welcome pause to admire the view to the west whilst climbing Cripple Path

Woody Bay Cottages, St Lawrence

Woody Bay cottages, old coastguard cottages, with tea garden

The Carfax Hotel and St. Lawrence Inn.

In 1911 No. 1 Woody Bay Cottage was occupied by Henry and Jane Young, Retired Naval Pensioner, Coast Guard.

No. 2 Emily Trowbridge, widow and her two sons Frank and William.

No. 3 Albert Monk and wife Estell May.

No. 4 John Wheeler and wife Catherine and family

Coastguard cottages showing Wolverton Manor to right and the Carfax and St.Lawrence Inn.

Coastguard Station & Woody Bay

The first recorded reference to the station is in 1836 when the child of Coastguard Daniel French was baptised.

1861 census Woody Bay Coastguard cottage 1 Family Hosking. Cottage 2 Family Callaway. Cottage 3 Family Oliver. Cottage 4 Family Knight.

1871 census Woody Bay Coast Guard Station. Cottage 1 Family Wade. Cottage 2 Family Martin. Cottage 3 Family Janes. Cottage 4 Family Tubbs.

1881 census Coastguard Station cottage 1 Family French. Cottage 2 Family Warner Cottage 3 Family Plent, Cottage 4 Family Hurrell.

1901 census Woody Bay Cottages 1 Family Child Coastguard Chief Boatman. Cottage 2 Family Murphy. Cottage 3 Shanahan Cottage 4 Family Kelly.

In 1874, General Sir John Cheape of Old Park, granted a lease to the Admiralty, a plot of land containing two roods, together with a right of way, for the purpose of erecting a Coastguard Station, and supplying it thereafter, plus the right to remove goods seized from smugglers. The lease was for 99 years at the yearly rent of £7. 10. 0.

Woody Bay

St Rhadagund

Patron Saint of the De Estur Family of Gatcombe.

St. Rhadagunds Christian Holiday Centre

Established in the 1930’s

1891 William E Kilburn age 72, died 11 December, retired merchant, East India, wife Louisa age 62, daughter Marie age 35, son Burleigh, age 30 Barrister, Ella age 26.

Servants Elizabeth Jupe, (31) cook, Minnie Plumbley, (20) housemaid, Caroline Bailey, (19) housemaid, Frank Worth, (18) groom.

In 1871 William Kilburn and family were living at Shute Cottage, (whilst St. Rhadagunds was built?).

In 1911 the house was occupied by James MacDougall, Corn Miller

View of St Lawrence

The view of St. Lawrence was taken from the upper cliff showing the Carfax Hotel and the Post Office with Woody Bay Coastguard cottages in the background.

And a similar view with the addition of “Kitty Gell’s” house below. In 1911 the Post Office was occupied by George Henry White and family.

Queen Mary Hedge

The Queen Mary Hedge viewed from Old Park Road, St Lawrence.

A German Princess

A German Princess, daughter of Bortaire, King of Thuringia Unwillingly, married at 18, to Clotaire, King of Soissons. Took the veil, A.D.594, at Poitiers. Spent large amounts building a Nunnery and looking after lepers. She lived nearly 70 years and is buried near the great monastery of the Holy Cross at Poitiers of which she had been Superior for 30 years.

Whitwell Church

Image: Drawing by Percy Stone

The Church originally consisted of two separate chapels. The earlier foundation was the Manorial Chapel, on the North side, built for the convenience of tenants of the Manor of Whitwell, whilst the south chapel was added in the reign of Henry III by the Lords of Stenbury in Godshill for the outlying tenants of St. Lawrence and Godshill. A 12th Century pier was brought to light during the 1868 restoration as were the hands displayed in the cabinet.

On the south wall, there is a mason’s mark R.M.N. 1589.

St. Rhadagund and St. Mary Church Whitwell. C.1906

Viewed from the Southeast

The Rood Screen

Erected by Rev. J. C. Orr (vicar 1906-1931) and Friends as a memorial to those who fell in the 1914-18 war, and was made from the timber of H.M.S. Thunderer.

In December 1914, she was refitted. She was present with her squadron at the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, firing 37 13.5″ shells.

She suffered no damage. In November 1926 Thunderer was sold for scrap.

Architectural Detail

Image: Drawing by Percy Stone

The Interior

Image: Before the Rood Screen showing St. Rhadagunds on the left-hand side and St. Mary’s on the right-hand side of the photograph.

Medieval Painting

During the restoration of 1868, a wall painting was discovered under numerous coatings of whitewash. On removing the last coat, which was transparent, the colours appeared as bright as the day they were applied. Unfortunately, its discovery was its downfall, as on being exposed to air it literally crumbled away. Luckily, a Mr. Barraud, who was working on the glasswork at the time, took a tracing from which the following drawing was made by Mr. Percy Stone in 1891 Whitwell Parish was separated from Niton 3rd. August 1867 when the Rev. Haytor was Rector of Niton, Vicar of Whitwell and Vicar of Godshill. Whitwell Church was reopened after complete restoration 8th Sept 1868. The sermon was preached by Dr. Jenner, Bishop of Dunedin, New Zealand.

Discovery During Restoration

During the restoration work of 1868, a carving of wooden hands was found in the roof.

Modern Artistry

One of the original wells is situated in Well Lane just east of the church and a blessing takes place each year with members of the church making a tableau out of flowers

Out and About

Tithe Barn

A tithe barn was a type of barn used in much of northern Europe in the middle ages for storing the tithes.

That was a tenth of the farm’s produce which had to be given to the church. Tithe barns would usually have been barns often associated with the village church or rectory, to which independent farmers took their tithes.

The village priests wouldn’t have to pay tithes. They had their own farms.

Situated at the corner of the High Street and Kemans (Kemming) Road.

The pipes were stacked ready for the new sewerage system.

A group of foxhound followers standing in front of the tithe barn from Whitwell High Street

Tithe barn, rush pond, Church before restoration in 1868, Cottage of Betty Woodnut.

Drawing taken from Whitehead.

Whitwell Parish Church

Whitwell Parish Church

Showing the tithe barn in

Kemming Road and the cottage to the right of the church occupied in 1836 by Betty Woodnut, also in the foreground appears to be the village pond although this is not shown on the Worsley survey of 1774. According to Whihtehead, there was a plot of ground, now with cottages standing on it, called “Rush Butt” and formally held by the tenure of supplying rushes for church purposes. In 1912 this was still in the possession of the Vicar.

Until late in the 15th. century church floors had no pews and were covered with rushes. Pews were introduced for the women folk, but “once introduced, the churchwardens soon found out the advantages of being able to derive income from the seat or pew rents”

Benediction of the New Bells

A newspaper cutting of the installation of the new church bells at the Whitwell Parish Church.


Restoration of the Clock

The clock of the church was in need of restoration, thus being restored in 2005.

Photograph of after the restored clock face in 2005.

The ‘New Vicarage’

View of the “New vicarage” taken from the church tower.

An Ancient Well

Water for washing and drinking purposes had to be drawn from nearby wells. The picture shows one of four cottages along Southford Lane that shared one well. The picture shows Mrs. Newington, the daughter of Jacob Saunders after pulling up two pails full using the 20 feet long rope.

Frederick Patsy Orchard, 1907-1989, lived at Jolliffe’s Farm in Nettlecombe, in his memoirs he tells us that the farm had a well just inside the gate from which they pumped water for the house and into tanks in the yard for the cattle. Like most houses, the toilet was outside, with the bucket emptied every few days. (Known as the bucket and chuck it method) It was too far for him to go home from school for lunch, so sandwiches were provided, and a drink of water was taken from the ‘Red Lion’ outside the school. (See picture of school)

Village Water


A German industrial chemist Theodor Julius William Spindler decided to come to the Island for the benefit of his health in 1873 and purchased an estate of 144 acres known as Old Park in the Undercliff in 1882.

Mr. William Spindler (see below) was a most generous subscriber to a fund required to lay on a supply of pure drinking water for the inhabitants who had suffered in health through drinking contaminated water from the local wells and springs. Mr. Granville Ward made a free gift of land for the reservoir and granted also the water from springs on his estate at Bierley. Theodor Saunders carried out the work, and the cost, of over £600, was half paid by Spindler, half by the villagers.

The scheme covered the whole village and included the nearby hamlet of Nettlecombe, with about 16 cast iron outlets known as ‘lions’ or ‘red boys’.
I suppose that ‘going down to the Red Lion’ for a drink was not quite the same?

They are of cast iron, with a lion’s head, a platform for the bucket, a handle at the side turned on the water, which flowed from the lion’s mouth. There was also a metal cup on a chain.

Extracts from the Parish Minute Book No. 11

Transcribed by Janette Gregson May June 2007

The minute book is hand written in a hard back, lined book, kept in the reception of Southern Water’s Offices in Newport, Isle of Wight.

A Committee Meeting was held at the School room, Whitwell, on Tuesday 2 November 1886, at 6.30 p.m.

Members present.

Rev.d Robert G. Oliver

Theodor R. Saunders

William Spindler

Albert Attrill

D. Morgan


Colonel Currie

A. Hunt

S. Pain

W. Colenut

A. Hunt

S.Beeden (Hon. Sec.)

Mr. T.R.Saunders read [out] the agreement

Proposed by Mr. W.H.C.Clarke, and seconded by Colonel Currie, that the Agreement be forwarded to the Rural Sanitary Authority to be signed and sealed on Thursday next 4 November 1886.

Opening of the Jubilee Whitwell Water Works

The Opening of the Jubilee Whitwell Water Works was celebrated on the 13th July 1887, amidst great rejoicing.

The members of the Parochial Committee present were;

The Revd. R B Oliver

William Spindler Esq.

W H C Clark  Esq.

Theodor Saunders (Engineer)

J Harvey (Contractor)

Daniel Morgan.

A Hunt

W Colenut

Albert Attrill

F Harvey

T Pain

D Moses

S Beeden (Hon. Sec.)

The Vicar (Revd R B Oliver), Presented the following Address to

Mr. Spindler.

To William Spindler, esq, Old Park.

We the undersigned residents in the village of Whitwell, beg to convey our gratitude for the liberality in contributing so largely to the Whitwell Water Works, and our appreciation of his public spirit and efforts to the benefit of his poorer neighbours.

We trust we shall, for many years, retain him as a resident amongst us, and wish him Health, Happiness and Prosperity.


Revd R B Oliver (vicar)

William Reynolds (Churchwarden

S Beeden (Churchwarden

Albert Attrill (Churchwarden

Daniel Morgan (Overseer

Edward Beeden (Assistant Overseer

And quite 170 others.

After replying Mr Spindler asked to be allowed to extend the supply of water, at his own expense, so as to include the Schools and Nettlecombe.

A ‘Reaper and Binder’ Machine at Southford Farm, Whitwell


It’s thirsty work haymaking.

Shoeing a Horse at the Forge

Blacksmith Ted Atkey of the Forge, High Street, Whitwell, shoeing horse of Farmer Lowe of Southford.

Southford Farm Transport

From One to Fifty…

From one horsepower to fifty horsepower.

1933 Village Fete

1933 Village fete in the Old Vicarage garden outside the library.

Photographed are Margaret Russell and Brenda Denyer.

1933 Whitwell village fete younger children gathered on the vicarage lawn

1933 Whitwell village fete older children gathered on the vicarage lawn

Whitwell Football Club(?) 

1933 Whitwell Football Club?

Coronation Day 1937

Coronation Day Carnival 1937

Darby and Joan

By Legg and A. Plumbley

Coronation Day 1937

Harvey Family of Whitwell

Birth of William Harvey

7 Sep. birth of Francis Harvey , son of William and Mary

William Harvey age 60, High Street Whitwell, Independent Head of family

William Harvey death

10 May Francis Harvey married Anna Singleton

9 May, birth of Francis Simeon Harvey

Francis Simeon Harvey married Emma Harriet


Francis and Anna Harvey grocers shop High Street., Whitwell

Francis Simeon Harvey age 4 grocers shop, High Street, Whitwell

Francis and Anna Harvey, grocers shop, High Street, Whitwell

Walter Harvey, baker, Whitwell High Street

Frank Harvey married Emma Harriet

Frank? And Anna Harvey, grocer, High Street, Whitwell.

Francis Simeon married Emma Harriett, St. Georges, Hanover Square, London

Frank Harvey age 34 Commercial traveller

Francis Simeon Harvey age 44, Commercial traveller, born 1856 Whitwell, Isle of Wight

Emma Harriet Harvey (Watts) age 37, dressmaker born 1864 Exeter, Devon

Frank Harvey, son of Francis Simeon Harvey

Frank Harvey with his wife Muriel married 22 June 1918

Frank James Harvey served in the Great War

Whitwell Farm

An early drawing of the original Whitwell Farm.

Whitwell Farm viewed from church tower showing railway track and Nettlecombe in the background.

Whitwell Farm from above.

1853, A capital new homestead (on the “Scotch plan”) , built of stone and slated, comprising yard with a raised paved path around, and cistern, nag stable with loose box, carthorse stable, chaff house, barn and granary, 2 fatting houses, carpenter’s shed, gig house, cart lodge and piggery and nearly 276 acres of land.

Sheep shearing at Whitwell Farm

Sheepwash at Whitwell Farm

Peter Gatrill, Edward Simmonds, Fred Warne.

Geoff Russell standing on the wall.

A tributary of the River Yar runs through the farm.

A dam with a sluice gate enabled an area to be flooded for sheep dipping.


Boundary Stone

Whitwell & Godshill Boundary stone found on Whitwell Farm land.

Post-medieval Lead Weight

Post-medieval lead weight of 5.5 oz

found on the path going through Whitwell Farm to sheep dip.

Photograph by Mr. Alan Crone

Ivy Cottage, Nettlecombe

Occupied by the Orchard family in 1918 after retiring from Jolliffs Farm, next door. Frederick Orchard lived there until he got married in 1936

Whitwell Parish North Boundary Census 1891

Whitwell Parish North Boundary 1891 as returned by Edward Beeden of Kemming Road.


Whitwell Parish South Boundary Census 1891

Reuben Russell

Reuben Russell

Standing outside Whitwell Farm opposite Kemming Road


Blake & Orchard Family

Edward Blake, age 15, born 1896 Ventnor, apprentice shipwright living at High Street, Whitwell.

Edward Louis Blake married Daisey May Orchard 19 October 1922 at Whitwell. Died March 1986

Frederick senior born 1872 Chale, Platelayer

Mary Rose   born 1873, Netherbury, Dorset

Daisy May b. 1901 m. Edward Louis Blake 1922

Frederick Junior

Mary Rose Orchard m Frederick Orchard

Daisy May Blake nee Orchard born 1901 m 1922 d 1936

Alan Walter Blake b Dec1923 d Aug 1996

Ronald Desmond Blake

Alan Walter Blake

Born 10 December 1923

Died 27 August 1996

George Lewis


Born at St. Lawrence, the son of Henry and Elizabeth Lewis of Ibeck Cottages, Godshill.

He started work, aged 9, and became a good ploughman and thatcher.

Retiring at the age of 75 he was given rent-free use of a house in Whitwell.


William Theodor Julius Spindler

William Spindler

A German industrial chemist from Berlin, Germany, came to Ventnor in 1873 for personal health reasons. He stayed at Medina Cottage in Ventnor until he negotiated the purchase of Old Park in 1881. Among the many projects he created was the sea wall at Binnel and the installation of ‘Red Boys’ water stands in Whitwell village.

He also instigated, with others, the building of the road between St. Lawrence Shute and Pine Point, Ventnor, and the road between Kemming Road and Niton.

Spindler wall

Image: Building the sea wall at Binnel Bay, employed a lot of locals during the 1880’s.

Mr. & Mrs. Spindler presented to the church a handsome turret clock and a peal of eight bells. Almost the first peal was for the marriage of his daughter followed a few months later for his funeral.

Mr. Spindler’s health gave way 1889 and is buried in the south corner of the church.

Binnel Bay showing the remains of the Spindler sea wall.

Circa 1960.

Benediction of New Bells at Whitwell Church

Clara Willimena (Schladebach) Spindler
born 1837 lived at Old Park 1882-1906

County Press, 1 October 1889

On Tuesday afternoon, last, the [six] new bells presented to the parish church of St.Mary and St.Radagund, by the estimable lady of Old Park, Mrs. Spindler, rang out a joyous peal calling the parishioners to take part in the benediction service.

It may not be out of place to mention that the new clock presented to the church by Mr. Spindler is being rapidly fixed in position in the tower in company with the bells.

Mr. And Mrs. Spindler, who are on the continent, were represented by their daughter Mrs. T. R. Saunders.

Mr. W. Spindler died two months later on
3 December 1889.


The Spindler Memorial in Whitwell Churchyard.


Strathwell House

strathwell house

The name was derived from ‘Strattle’ when occupied by the Oliver Family.

1809 The tithes of Strattle Farm paid by Mr. James Westmore.

1841 occupied by Charles Simmonds and family.

1881 occupied by the Willett family.

In 1866, Lady Rachel Oliver of Millfield, Ryde, bought from the Rev. Phillip Hawkins the house (Strattle) and ¾ acre of land and gave it to the living of Whitwell for a parsonage house. This Benefaction was met by a grant of £50 per year to augment the living of Whitwell. In 1868 the Rev. Robert Oliver exchanged the house formally called Strathwell for the new vicarage house, which was valued at £3000. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners met the increased Benefaction with an annual grant of an addition £43.

Lady Rachel Oliver

Lady Rachel Oliver

The land belonging to Sir Robert and Lady Rachel Oliver extended from ‘Strathwell’, south, as far as Ashknowle Lane and a portion were donated to the church for a new burial ground. She ended her days at ‘Strathwell’ Pellhurst Road, Ryde.

We know from the memoirs of Frederick Orchard that he was born 12 September 1907 in the largest of terrace cottage, Kemming Road, which was rented for 1/6 per week (9p). The two smaller cottages were 1/- per week, one occupied by Mr. & Mrs. Coleman, the other by Mr. Moses.

The whole terrace owned by the Olivers.

The image shown above is a memorial to Lady Rachel within the cemetery.

Whitwell Map 1860

Ebenezer Methodist Chapel

Nettlecombe Lane


Ancient Church House

Old Post Office

White Horse Inn

Village Pound now Whitwell Garage

Tor Bank

Whitwell Farm

Hill Cross

Myrtle Cottage off Kemming Road

St. Rhadagund and St. Mary’s Church

Village Well

Lower Ash Farm now Old Rectory

Upper Ash Farm


The ‘New’ Vicarage

old rectory

The new Vicarage was built in 1868 on the site of the old Ash Farm.

The architect is unknown, but the style is that of John Ruskin. It is built of local green sandstone with red clay tiles for the roof.

Built by the Rev. Robert Oliver, who remained in residence until he retired in the year 1907.

Vicarage foundation stone laid by Lady Agnes Cheape of Old Park in 1868


Reverend R. B. Oliver

Born 1838 at Dover, Kent the son of Sir Robert and Rachel Oliver

Formerly a curate of Whitwell from February 1863 – 1865. Curate of Newchurch 15th.

October 1865 – 5th. May 1867

Instituted to the Living of Whitwell 8th. September 1867.

On 7th. April 1875 he married Agnes Elizabeth Baillie, born 23rd. April 1846,the daughter of William Hunter Baillie and  Henrietta. Died 22nd February 1925

On retirement in 1907, he lived at Strathwell, until he died 21/10/1912. M.I. Whitwell Churchyard.

Rev. J. C. Orr succeeded him.

Reverend J.C.Orr

He became Vicar of Whitwell (1907-1931) at the end of an era, Oliver having been the incumbent for 39 years.  He was educated at Clifton College and Trinity College Cambridge, where he gained a ‘rugby blue’. He started a Parish Magazine and a team of bell ringers. He is probably remembered for bringing High Church practices to the church with the use of incense and place candles on both

He was educated at Clifton College and Trinity College Cambridge, where he gained a ‘rugby blue’. He started a Parish Magazine and a team of bell ringers. He is probably remembered for bringing High Church practices to the church with the use of incense and place candles on both

He started a Parish Magazine and a team of bell ringers. He is probably remembered for bringing High Church practices to the church with the use of incense and place candles on both

He is probably remembered for bringing High Church practices to the church with the use of incense and place candles on both alters and created a team of servers. Keen on sport, he encouraged football and taught the boys boxing, and played bowls on the vicarage lawn with many local notables. His wife was responsible for the erection of a village hall on the north lawn where dances and socials were held. This was later removed and became Spray-

Keen on sport, he encouraged football and taught the boys boxing, and played bowls on the vicarage lawn with many local notables. His wife was responsible for the erection of a village hall on the north lawn where dances and socials were held. This was later removed and became Spray-

His wife was responsible for the erection of a village hall on the north lawn where dances and socials were held. This was later removed and became Spray-

This was later removed and became Spray-vec Garage. Keen also on education he, together with Mr. Opie, the headmaster and later Miss Pedley they raised the standards at the school.

However, after serving 24 years as vicar he made a sudden departure.

Whitwell School

In 1862 a parcel of land was conveyed from John Braithwaite of St. Edmund Hall in the University of Oxford for a school to be built for the “poorer classes” A National School was built by the Church of England and was one large room measuring 33 feet by 17 feet.

At a later date, a second room was added principally for infants.

Later between 1930 and 1933, a porch and lavatory was added.

The official maximum accommodation was for 99 children, but at the beginning of the 20th Century, there were 118 pupils, although 30 years later there remained only 60.

It is recorded that in 1935 the sum of £40 was allocated for renovation, and after completion, Whitwell was one of the finest schools on the Island.

Past Head teachers have been Messrs. Barrow, Lloyd Lidall, Allan Harrison, Hollingshead, Petchie and Opie.

Note the Spindler drinking “Red Boy” outside the entrance.

Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving

Harvest Thanksgiving 6 October 1935 Procession from the Vicarage to the Church

St. Mary’s House

St Marys House

Situated at the end of the village, on the Niton Road, stood a row of three cottages, faced in about 1840 in an attractive chequered design of red and grey brick. Miss Gertrude Mallet, who had them knocked into one, purchased these cottages, together with an acre of land. The house was blessed and dedicated on 22nd July 1915, the Feast of Mary Magdalene. Miss Mallet resided in the house until she died, aged 86, on 15th August 1953.

The heart of the house was the Oratory, which contained a beautiful old Italian crucifix, thought to date back to the time of Catherine of Siena, where prayers were said every day, and in the garden, a ‘Walk of Silence’ led to a rustic crucifix. There was also a Shrine of Our Lady Star of the Sea, with a statue of Our Lady set under the prow of an upturned boat.

In 1915 two remarkable women came to Whitwell, Mother Ivy and Sister Rosanna, both having been blessed as anchoresses by the Bishop of London, Dr. Winnington Ingram. Both ladies worked at first in a home for inebriates at Droxford. In 1915, for reasons of health the two anchoresses took up residence in a little dwelling called St. Michaels, a red-brick, semi-detached house in the High Street. They lived there under a strict rule of silence and prayer. They both wore a black habit, with a white cap indoors, and a black hood for outdoors. They both gave confirmation instruction to the village children.

In 1926, Mother Teresa, whose spiritual development owed much to Mother Ivy’s teachings, founded the Community of Franciscan Servants of Jesus and Mary, in a house in Kemming Road called St. Francis. After four years the community moved to Posbury in Devon, wherein 1945 the two anchoresses were taken to end their days. Mother Ivy died in April 1945 and Sister Rosanna in June 1946.

Kingsmead, Kemming Road

In 1841 the house was occupied by George and Maria Wilkie with Harriet Cotterel living next door

In 1861 the house was occupied by Hariet Cottrell with George and Maria Cottrell next door. Martha Birkett schoolmistress from Keswick.

Although not mentioned in the deeds, which extend back before 1868, there is every reason to believe that this was the school of Dame Birkett, and was later used as a hall for meetings. The building on the left has clearly got sash windows extending to both floors, and that it has a separate porch entrance. It is believed that it became a private residence in about 1922. Further proof for it being a school was the discovery, in 1885, of a book hidden behind a panel bearing a message by a Captain John Smith. The book came from Knight;s Library and has the words “Kemming School” inside the front cover. The left-hand chimney on the central stack was removed when the staircase was built to make the hall two stories.

From the deeds, we see that on 2 November 1868 Harriet Cottrell left the cottage to George and Marie Wilkie who died 4 March 1876. The premises then went to Ellen Smith, wife of Captain John Smith, a retired master mariner. The headmistress of the school was Thomasine James.


The House of St. Francis

The House of St Francis

In 1926, Mother Teresa, whose spiritual development owed much to Mother Ivy’s teachings, founded the Community of Franciscan Servants of Jesus and Mary, in a house in Kemming Road called St.Francis. After four years the community moved to Posbury in Devon,

After four years the community moved to Posbury in Devon, wherein 1945 the two anchoresses were taken to end their days. Mother Ivy died in April 1945 and Sister Rosanna in June 1946.

The Methodist Church

Methodist Church

Image: Ebenezer Chapel and War Memorial

When Methodism first came to the village in 1825, they first met in an old barn. The first Chapel was built in 1840 on land donated by Earl Yarborough, (Charles Pelham).

Many years before Bible Christians met in the loft of Redhill Farm Indenture of lease dated 1789 between Richard Worsley, Bart. and George King, deceased, his daughter Sarah King, hereditaments demised for a term of 99 years from 10th August 1793 between Richard Worsley and Fanny King, widow, now deceased and her daughters Hannah King and Sarah King for a yearly payment of 10 shillings and 6 pence.

Indenture of 24th June 1841 between Ralph Stone of Whitwell, stonemason, and The Rt. Hon. Charles, Earl of Yarborough and The Hon. Charles Anderson Worsley Pelham. Henry Hayden, of Brading, baker. William Taylor of Arreton, yeoman. Robert Moses of Whitwell, mason. James Moorman of Carisbrooke, labourer. Levi Morris of Carisbrooke, labourer. Jonathan Punch of Carisbrooke, cordwainer.

And whereas several persons being desirous of erecting and building a chapel for the use of people called Bible Christians leased for the rent of ONE PEPPERCORN for 300 years. Persons appointed by the annual conference of Bible Christians specified by name in a deed enrolled in Her Majesty’s High Court of Chancery under the seals of James Thorne Read, the younger, bearing the date 8th. August 1831.

Indenture made 25th March 1885 between Jonathan Punch and James Chiverton, gardener. Walter Deakin Caws, carpenter. George Chick. Henry Corney. Joseph Stallard. Roger Hayward. Leonard Warne. Henry Hendy labourers all of Whitwell. Thomas Reynolds, Martin Reynolds, Frank Reynolds, dairymen, John George labourer of Godshill, and Robert Harvey, fisherman of Ventnor, and Samuel Allin of Sandown, Pastor.

Methodist Church Outing

From the top left: Eva Dunning, <name unknown>, Minnie Dunning, Maud Allen, Mollie Draper, Bertha Sheath,

From the bottom left: Rose Widger, Florence Srallard, Harriet Mew, Fanny Reynolds, Rose Sheath.

War Memorial Unveiling

War Memorial Unveiling Programme

War Memorial 1

Dedication of the War Memorial, Whitwell. 11th. December 1920

War Memorial 3

Gentlemen of Whitwell gather in honour of those who made the sacrifice during the war.

December 11th. 1920

Harry Morris, Herbert Lewis, Joe Orchard, <name unknown>, Capt. Henry Linington, <name unknown>, Albert Sheath, Kenneth Allen, Harry Russell, <name unknown>,Austin Chick.

Can anyone name the three missing names and advise on any errors?


Ancient Church House

Ancient Church House

Every parish had a house of this kind, where meetings could be held, equipped with cooking facilities and crockery. It was owned by the churchwardens and kept for parishioners to hold their feasts. Before tea and coffee were introduced into Britain, a home brewed beer was a necessity

Often when a Bishop paid a visit to the parish, “a gallon of beer for the Bishop” was provided, but whether he drank it on the spot or took it home was up to the Bishop, but no doubt it helped the inspection.

At one time 1574, the house was leased to John Brode with the following proviso “that always, if a quarter shall need at any time to make a quarter-ale or church-ale, for the maintenance of the chapel, then it will be lawful for them to have the use of the said house, with all the rooms, both above and beneath, during their ale”.

1851 occupied by  Daniel Callaway, age 32 farm labourer

The church festivals, Patron Saints’ days and village merry-makings brought many holidays when the whole parish met and had good cheer, whilst the proceeds went to the common chest to brighten the church, or repair the church fabric or to the relief of the poor.

Before the day when the White Horse Inn was opened, the beer brewed was strong enough to loosen the purse strings.

White Horse Inn

The origins of ‘our pub’ are not yet known, but we know that in 1763 James Coleman returning home on horseback, to Wrongs Farm in the Undercliff, took a wrong route towards the cliff.

The horse stopped, but James fell from the saddle and over the edge.

He died of his wounds a few days later.

Robert Harvey age 55, Publican and Elizabeth, age 50, his wife and family.

Moses Hibberd, age 32 Inn Keeper and wife Sarah

Charles Morris age 58 Inn Keeper and wife Louisa age 64 and family

Louisa Morris, widow, age 75, born St. Lawrence.

Ephraim Morris age 40, Inn Keeper and Eliza age 33 and family

Ephraim Morris age 50 Inn Keeper, born Whitwell

Elizabeth Morris age 53, widow, Inn Keeper and family

High Street South

The High Street, looking south, showing the Village Shop and Post Office on the right.

The canopy on the first building on the left is the Baker’s shop.

Note that Allinson’s bread is still available


Also showing the High Street, looking south, with the Village Shop and Post Office on the right.

Occupied by Hannah Joliffe, age 60, postmistress.

This was occupied by George Phillips who later moved to Kemming Road.

You can just about see the thatched roof of the White Horse Inn next door to the Post Office.

High Street North

high street north

Looking north with the Post Office now on your left and the Methodist Chapel in the background.

Baker’s transport now modernised.

Quintons, Southford

Situated at the junction of Southford Lane and Main Road to Godshill, the property is now called Quintons.

In 1911, it was called Quint Cottage and was occupied by Robert Coller, a retired policeman.

Dyers Grocers Shop

Dyers grocers shop

Situated opposite the White Horse

Occupied 1871 by Francis and Anna Harvey

Also their son Walter Harvey baker.

Thorn Place

thorn place

The lowest part was known as Thorn Place and was occupied in 1841 by David Russell, stonemason, his wife Hannah and family.

Next door was William King, an agricultural worker.

Madeira Cottage

Thorne Place west side, in the 1930’s with the main road running through, and Slay (Sleigh) Lane leading off to the left.

The building in the centre of the image is Madeira Cottage, which has retained is the name today.

Ariel view of Slay Lane, showing Madeira Cottage and allotment in 1986. The road is now called Bannock

The road is now called Bannock Road which is now a through road that leads through the housing estate onto Kemming Road.

Whitwell Landowner Farm Acreage 1809

Major Theodor Saunders

Major Theodor Saunders should be known as Mr. Ventnor, as, during his 45 years as an architect, he was responsible for;
Ventnor Town Hall, changed to Coconut Grove, which has since closed,
Esplanade Pavilion, changed the Amusement Arcade, which has since closed,
St.Lawrence Hall, the home of Dr. John Whitehead,
Craigie Lodge, Pearl’s refuge,
St. John’s Church, Wroxall,
St. Margaret’s Church, Ventnor,
The Royal Spithead Hotel, Bembridge,
The Battenburg Block of the Royal National Hospital,
Capital and Counties Bank, Ventnor,
Artillery and Drill Hall,
Steephill Castle Stables,
The whole of Alexandra Gardens, Ventnor,
the main roads, Ventnor to Whitwell, Whitwell to Niton, and
the Public Water Supply to Whitwell, Brighstone, Wroxall, Niton, Godshill and St.Lawrence.

Seen here with his wife, Marie Clara Spindler and son Julius. Taken at their home Rugens, Park Avenue, Ventnor.

Taken at their home Rugens, Park Avenue, Ventnor.


Ashknowle House

Built for the Curator, Oliver’s son in law, Campbell Locke it has many features similar to the vicarage and has the addition of a stable block, now known as Cinxia.


In 1926 Ashknowle was purchased by the Bagwell family, who converted it into a guest house, specialising in German visitors. This fact, together with Mr. Bagwell being a Conscientious Objector, led him to be imprisoned during the Second World War. After the war, he ran a newsagents shop situated in Ventnor High Street.

Mrs Wakeley of Knowle Farm, Niton

Haymaking at Southford Farm

Collecting bracken at Old Park, Whitwell

Note the cliffs in background.

Unknown lady and boy hay stacking


Funeral at Whitwell Church

More information required, this was probably the funeral of Robert Oliver.

Procession Leaving the Church

Procession leaving the church with Ted Blake, left and Fred Orchard on the right.

Fred Orchard and procession passing the graveyard.

Leading men not known.


Church procession passing Whitwell Farm and churchyard.

Fred Orchard 1907-1989 on right second row with Ted Blake carrying the cross.

The Woman’s Institute Hall, Kemming Road

The W.I. in Whitwell was formed on 15 March 1932 by Mrs White of Medham House Cowes.

Seventeen people attended the meeting and Mrs Raymond was elected President.

She was followed by Mrs K. Allen who remained President for 24 years, retiring in 1956.

In 1987 due to high costs of maintenance the building was sold.

Group of ladies and one (lucky?) man outside the Institute Hall, Kemming Road.

Berta Phillips, Audry Hunt, <unknown male>, Violet Morris ,Mary Allen, C.E.Lander

Hilda Hayles, Mabel Colenut, <unknown> Whittington, Annie Brading, Hilda Evans.


Yarborough Arms Hotel, Nettlecombe Lane

Yarborough Arms Hotel, Nettlecombe Lane, Whitwell

Sometimes called Station Hotel, note signal box right background.

RWT knew this hotel when occupied by Ted and Margaret Andrews.

Meeting of the Isle of Wight Foxhounds at the Yarborough Arms Hotel, Nettlecombe Lane. 1908

Haymaking at Nettlecombe with the “Yarborough Arms” in the background.

Land Sale of the ‘Vetch Barn’

Plan of land sold 31 March 1930

Showing the site of the “Vetch Barn”

Plan for the ‘New’ Post Office

Plan of land area sold for the “New” Post Office situated in Kemming Road opposite Pope’s Lane.

Mortgage to Build the ‘New’ Post Office

A copy of the mortgage of a sum of £500 to enable the “New Post Office” to be built.

Whitwell Post Office and Stores

In 1894 upon the death of William Reynolds, his house, garden and premises, known as Kenmans, and the tithe barn were left to his relatives until 1930, when it was sold to Mr William Sheath of Alban cottage, who then constructed the present buildings. Part of the land was sold for the Parish Room (W.I. Hall?)

Note the white telephone box with the coronet on top.

The male in the photograph is Mr. “Butch” Thomson with the dog.

Whitwell Village store and Post Office History

By the will of William Reynolds, his house, garden and premises called Kenmans or Bromans and field No. 294 on the tithe map and a vetch Barn, lying at the side of Myrtle Cottage

2 September 1935
W. Sheath of Alban Cottage sold out to  George Frederick Philips

29 April 1944
G.F.Philips sold out to Arthur William Jackson

9 July 1949
Arthur William Jackson sold out to Leslie Brind

7 November 1968
Leslie Brind and his wife Gertrude sold out to Roy Fletcher and his wife Myra

Entrance to the “New Vicarage”

Ashknowle Lane on the left led from Ash Farm, Whitwell to Knowle Farm, Niton.

Before Rectory Road was made the alternative to Niton was via Kingates Lane.

Built on the site of Lower Ash Farm in 1868, which in 1809 was purchased from the Worsley Estate by Michael Hoy of the Hermitage.

His nephew Robert Barlow sold it to Henry Morris in 1848 who remained there until 1859, when it was transferred to Mark Attrill.

In July 1867 it was purchased by the Reverend Robert Oliver who built the present house and sold the whole to the Governors of the Queen Anne Bounty in 1872.

The Reverend John Ford sold the property to the Youth Hostels Trust who operated it as a Youth Hostel until 1992.

1911 occupied by John Cecil Orr and his wife Marion Porthouse Thompson. And Mary Ann Thompson M in Law.

Village fetes and carnivals are usually held at the vicarage.

Coronation procession moves off from the old vicarage.

1937 Coronation outside the Old Vicarage.

1937 Coronation Procession passing the old post office.

Coronation 1937 a more modern form of transport passing the old post office


More History is on its way!

Please sit back and wait as we add more content to the website.

We will be doing a village talk at the Whitwell Village Hall at some point this summer (2017) raising funds for the Church.

Find us on Facebook so you can be informed when we get allocated a date for the talk.





If you have any more or other information that I may have missed off then please do not hesitate and drop me an email – info@fordfarmhouse.com or give me a call on 01983 840048.

Also if you have any photos related to the history of Whitwell, we would love to see them!

Robin Thornton

Ford Farm House, Whitwell, Isle of Wight PO38 2NZ

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