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There is a brass portrait of a knight in armour, his feet resting on a dog, his hands folded in prayer, who may be William Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, a 14th century Governor of the island. A pathetic story has come down to us about his death. He was killed while jousting with his father, who, broken-hearted, set up an altar tomb with a brass portrait of his son in the church of every village where he held lands or houses. A tablet on one of the houses in Calbourne marks it as the birthplace of William Long, author of a work on the Isle of Wight dialect and editor of the Memoirs of the Oglanders, an ancient family of the island.
Through the trees on the road to Carisbrooke we catch sight of a beautiful house called Swainstone, mainly 18th century as we see it, but the successor of a palace founded for the Bishops of Winchester 800 years ago and still with a 13th century hall intact. It is suggested that Warwick the Kingmaker feasted in the hall, and his brave granddaughter Margaret Pole, last of the Plantagenets, whose execution is the foulest blot on the memory of Henry VIII.
Picture a great wagon rumbling its way along the chalk road past Swainston towards Calbourne. Hear the clump, clump of the huge horses hooves " the tinkling of their brasses - and the gruff country brogue of the carter urging his horses up the slope.
If you like painting mental pictures of a past age. read Maxwell Grey's novel, 'The Silence of Dean Maitland". The first volume, in particular, is full of such descriptive matter and you'll recognize many places from fictional names.
Calbourne is still primarily a farming community and is redolent of a past way of life. It is a good way of life and the village is a very happy place in which to live. The name Calbourne is derived from the little stream which rises from the chalk and is the Caul Bourne. One of the oldest Island Parishes, it once included both Brighstone and Newtown. These all became parishes in their own right but Newtown has again, in the middle of the nineteenth century, been united with Calbourne.
The original Deed for the land. dated 826, calls the place Cawelbourne. The original is in the British Museum Library, MSS 15.350 Fol. 62. The 30 hides of land was the whole of the original parish including Brighstone and Newtown.
The village settled at the crossroads with an Inn, the Sun, and a blacksmith and wagon builder on the north east corner where the garage is now. The village centre tended to group round the Church in Lynch Lane, leading to Brighstone. Many of the existing houses can claim a fair antiquity but Winkle Street, originally known as Barrington Row. is now much visited as an example of old village houses. The name. Barrington Row, derived from the Barringtons who lived at Swainston until 1832.
Many possibilities have been thought of as the origin of the name 'Winkle Street'. One idea is that it derives from the old English word meaning angle or corner, another from an old verb to 'winkle' meaning to sparkle or twinkle. Yet another is that it is in some way connected with John Winkle. Rector of Shalfleet between 1339 and 1347.
Whatever the origin of the name, Winkle Street with the Caul Bourne running parallel is a delightful piece of old England. Many coach loads of people walk its length and. perhaps, imbibe something of its old world serenity.
To the south of Winkle Street lies the Westover Estate, dating back to the time of Edward the Confessor, but now very much reduced in size. Westover House, square, of the later classical restoration period, stands in beautiful gardens. Its main drive and lodge is at the junction of Winkle Street and .Lynch Lane. It was once owned by Col. Moulton-Barrett. relative of Elizabeth Barrett the poet who later married another poet, Browning.