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Calbourne

The island has few more attractive villages. It has a green and a group of great elms, delightful cottages, an old stone house in a wooded park, an ancient church, and Winklestreet, a row of small houses watching the busy stream tumbling over its tiny falls on its way to the meadows.

Most of the church is as the builders left it 700 years ago when they refashioned the work of the Normans, but the tower was heightened in the i8th century, when the builders left on the wall an old tablet saying "I am risen from ye ruins of near 70 year." On an outer wall is an ancient mass dial and on one of the inner walls of the tower is a doorway nine feet from the ground, and near it is a deeply splayed window which once enabled the schoolmaster to keep an eye on the children sitting in what was the choir gallery. The font is 13th century. The east windows are lovely and unusual, two slender lancets wide apart with a trefoil in a ring between them. On the chancel walls is a brass to Daniel Evance who was rector here in Cromwell's day. It has a verse, the figure of Time with a scythe and hourglass, a skeleton armed with an arrow, and an anagram on his name, I can deal even.

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 i4th 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 local 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 i3th 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.