A postcard from Carisbrooke Castle
Take to the skies with us on a short flight over Carisbrooke Castle, in this video from our Postcard series. Sitting at the heart of the Isle of Wight, visit Carisbrooke to enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from the keep and castle wall walk.
Get Hands on with History at Carisbrooke CastleSat 15 - Sun 23 Feb 2020
C 1000Early Days
The hilltop site becomes the site of a rectangular fortification, probably built as a refuge from Viking raids.
William FitzOsbern is granted the Isle of Wight. He probably builds the first castle to secure the Isle of Wight for the Normans.
Find out more about the history of Carisbrooke Castle
Henry I seizes Carisbrooke and grants it to Richard de Redvers, who builds the motte-and-bailey castle.
1136Taken by the Crown
Richard's son Baldwin is forced to surrender Carisbrooke to King Stephen having supported Henry I's daughter, Matilda, in her claim to the throne.
1263-1293A Powerful Countess
The last of Baldwin's descendants, Isabella de Fortibus, one of the greatest landowners of the day, inherits the castle. She sells it to Edward I on her deathbed.
1335-early 1500sDefence Against the French
New defences are built to counter French raids on the island.
Elizabeth I makes her cousin Sir George Carey captain of the Isle of Wight. He builds a 13-room mansion to reflect his status.
1587-1602Defence Against the Spanish
To counter Spanish threats Carey turns Carisbrooke into an artillery fort. Italian engineer Federigo Gianibelli designs new defences, including five bastions.
1647-50A Royal Prison
During the Civil War Charles I is imprisoned here and unsuccessfully attempts to escape twice before his execution. His daughter Elizabeth dies at Carisbrooke, aged 14.
Isle of Wight governors Lord Cutts and Lord Cadogan spend large amounts on repairs. Viscount Lymington demolishes St Nicholas's Chapel and rebuilds it in Georgian style.
Mid-19th CenturyMilitary Use
Carisbrooke ceases to be the residence of the island's governor and becomes the base of the Isle of Wight Militia as well as a tourist attraction.
1856Saving Decaying Splendour
The Office of Works takes over maintenance for the increasingly ruinous castle, carrying out restoration work under Philip Hardwick.
Princess Beatrice, Victoria's youngest child, becomes Isle of Wight governor and employs Percy Stone to restore Carisbrooke.
Beatrice modernises the castle and makes Carisbrooke the governor's residence again.
After Beatrice's death, the hall and Constable's Lodging become the Carisbrooke Castle Museum. The castle remains a centre for island ceremonies.
Learn more about the history of Carisbrooke Castle