The borough of Yarmouth

A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.

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'The borough of Yarmouth', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, (London, 1912), pp. 286-292. British History Online [accessed 16 June 2024].

. "The borough of Yarmouth", in A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, (London, 1912) 286-292. British History Online, accessed June 16, 2024,

. "The borough of Yarmouth", A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5, (London, 1912). 286-292. British History Online. Web. 16 June 2024,

In this section


Ermud (xi cent.); Eremuthe (xii cent.); Heremud, Ermue, Eremuham, Horemue, Ernemue (xiii cent.); Yaremuth, Yaremuth-under-Wyght, Heremuth, Iremuth (xiv cent.); Yernemouth (xvi cent.).

Yarmouth, the smallest parish in the Isle of Wight, containing only 58 acres of land, is chiefly noted as possessing one of the oldest boroughs in the Island. It is the first port inside the Needles, and lies at the mouth of the Western Yar, being connected by a bridge (fn. 1) with Freshwater parish, and has a harbour and quay. It is one of the ports for the mainland, a line of steamers running from it to Lymington, and has a station on the Isle of Wight Central railway. The pier, built by the corporation in 1876 (fn. 2) at a cost of £4,000, has three landing-stages and is 700 ft. in length. The town is well lighted and supplied with water from Afton.

There is a town hall with an undercroft on the west side of the square bearing the inscription 'A.D. 1764 the fourth year of the reign of his present Majesty King George III, this hall was rebuilt by Thomas, Lord Holmes, Governor of the Isle of Wight. Benjamin Lee Esq. Mayor.' (fn. 3) The market-house or town hall is described in 1849 as 'a neat building with a hall over it in which the several courts are held, and the public business of the corporation transacted.' (fn. 4) It was formerly known as the Guildhall. (fn. 5)

At the time of the building of the castle the town possessed four gates—the Quay Gate (fn. 6) towards the sea, the outer and inner (fn. 7) Town Gates (fn. 8) towards the east, and the Hither Gate, (fn. 9) probably to the south.

Stone Cross and Draffehaven are place-names (xvii cent.).


The borough of Yarmouth, which is co-extensive with the parish, received its first charter from Baldwin de Redvers third Earl of Devon, (fn. 10) who granted his men of Yarmouth all liberties and customs belonging to free burgesses, and quittance from tolls and other customs throughout all his lands in fairs and markets. (fn. 11)

In 1334 the burgesses of Yarmouth obtained from Edward III a confirmation of their charter, (fn. 12) but the borough still remained a mesne borough (fn. 13) until 1440, when Henry VI confirmed their charter (fn. 14) and granted the burgesses their town at a fee-farm rent of 20s., payable yearly at Michaelmas. (fn. 15) A confirmation of the charter was granted in 1466 by Edward IV, and by Queen Elizabeth in 1560. (fn. 16) The last and most important charter to Yarmouth was granted in 1609 by James I at the petition of the mayor and burgesses. (fn. 17) The town was to remain for ever a free borough, and was to be incorporate under the style of the 'Mayor and Burgesses of the borough of Yarmouth,' with the right to acquire land to the value of £20 a year, and to have a common seal. (fn. 18) The common council was to consist of the mayor and eleven chief burgesses, and was to hold the view of frankpledge and the assize of bread and ale in the gild hall.

In 1693 Lord Cutts reported that the Corporation of Yarmouth consisted of a mayor and twelve aldermen, (fn. 19) who had power to add to the corporation as many free men as they pleased, all of whom had a voice in the election of members to Parliament. (fn. 20) These free men or free burgesses, who were elected by a majority of the common council, were very numerous in the 18th century, but the Commissioners upon the Municipal Corporations of England reported in 1835 that only those were chosen who would support the interest of the patron within the borough.

Under the Municipal Corporations Act of 1883 (fn. 21) the corporation ceased to exist in March 1886, and the town is now governed by a town trust of eleven members, five of whom are elected by the parish council of Yarmouth, two by the parish council of Freshwater, three are co-optative, and one is appointed by the London and South-Western Railway Company.

The governing officer of the early borough was a bailiff who was probably an officer of the lord of the town for the time being, and was elected by him, as his stipend was paid from the issues of the town. (fn. 22) Between 1378 and 1385 the vill of Yarmouth was farmed by the bailiff at a rent of 40s., paid at Easter and Michaelmas in equal portions, (fn. 23) but from Easter 1380 to Christmas of that year no rent was paid for the town, because it had been burnt by the French, and neither the bailiff nor the townsfolk had any goods on which the rent could be distrained.

The right to elect a mayor was apparently granted to the burgesses in 1440 with the right to have the borough at fee farm, for in 1449 the fee farm was paid by the mayor, bailiff and burgesses of the borough. (fn. 24) The charter of 1609 ordered that the election of the mayor by the common council from among the chief burgesses (fn. 25) should take place yearly at the feast of St. Matthew the Apostle in the gild hall of the borough. (fn. 26) If a mayor died in office another was elected for the remainder of the year. One of the mayoral duties was to preside as returning officer at the election of members of Parliament. (fn. 27)

Originally the possession of a burgage tenement was probably a necessary qualification for a burgess, but all burgage tenures had ceased before 1835. (fn. 28) The capital burgesses (fn. 29) were chosen from among the free burgesses, but the latter never seem to have taken any part in the administration of the borough and were only present at the meetings for the election of members of Parliament. In 1835 there had been no recent elections of free burgesses except of such as were intended for chief burgesses immediately. The corporation had by this means been reduced to the smallest possible limits, possibly owing to a desire to prevent any risk of opposition at parliamentary elections. (fn. 30)

The function of the common clerk who under the charter of 1609 was elected by the common council and held office during pleasure was to attend at meetings of the common council and enter the proceedings in a book and to keep the accounts and serve as steward of the court leet. His salary was £6 6s. a year with a fee of a guinea on the election of a free or chief burgess. The serjeant-at-mace held office under the charter of 1609 during pleasure and by the election of the common council. (fn. 31) His salary was a guinea and his duty was to attend all meetings of the corporation and serve all notices and summonses of the mayor.

The market of Yarmouth was held on Mondays and a fair lasting three days took place at the feast of St. James. The right to both market and fair was successfully claimed by Isabel de Fortibus in 1279–80, (fn. 32) and belonged to the borough after 1440. By the charter of 1609 the market day was changed to Wednesday, (fn. 33) and in 1778 the market was held on Fridays, but was unfrequented. (fn. 34) In 1849 it was held on Wednesdays (fn. 35) and in 1863 and subsequently on Fridays, (fn. 36) but the market had died out before 1875. The date of the fair remained unchanged until 1863, (fn. 37) but it was merely a pleasure fair in 1792, (fn. 38) and ceased before 1875.

The revenues of the corporation in 1835 arose from tolls of the markets and fairs, wharfage dues, a rent of £4 12s. 6d. derived from 2½ acres of land, fee-farm rents from old burgage tenements called town rents, amounting to £3 17s. 6d., and rent arising from the lease of an oyster fishery. The wharfage dues were imposed upon all goods imported or exported by water, but no toll was levied upon fish. In addition to this a toll was imposed on each vessel of 12 or 15 tons and upwards. Burgesses were exempt from all these dues. (fn. 39) In 1835 the tolls of the market had diminished to 10s. a year, paid by a butcher, the only person who sold in the market-house, for his standing there. (fn. 40) Fair tolls were taken from persons setting up stalls at the fairs, but the receipts at each fair seldom exceeded 2s. 6d. (fn. 41) In the 13th and 14th centuries the market and fair tolls had varied between 16s. and 22s. (fn. 42)

By the charter of 1609 the mayor and burgesses were entitled to hold a court of pie powder, but this court, if it was ever held, was quite obsolete in 1835 (fn. 43); in fact, the borough of Yarmouth never seems to have had a borough court as distinct from the court leet, any by-laws or orders for the payment of money being made at the meetings of the common council. (fn. 44) The only case which has been found in which the court leet is called the court of the mayor and burgesses is in 1625. (fn. 45)

During the 17th century the court leet was apparently held twice a year, in April and September or October, (fn. 46) but in 1835 the commissioners found that it was held only once a year on 18 October. The jury was composed of the small tradespeople of the town, and the same persons generally attended year by year as a matter of course without a summons, providing substitutes when they were unable themselves to be present. An allowance was made to the jury for a dinner on the court day. (fn. 47) They presented two high constables, (fn. 48) two petty constables (fn. 49) and a hayward annually, and also presented encroachments, nuisances and improper weights and measures. (fn. 50)

Yarmouth and Newport together returned two members to Parliament in 1295, (fn. 51) but Yarmouth was not again represented until 1584, (fn. 52) from which date it regularly returned two members until disfranchised in 1832.

Yarmouth was visited by King John in May 1206, (fn. 53) and it was probably at this time that he entertained the Earl of Salisbury there. (fn. 54) He again visited the town in February 1213–14, making a stay of a week, (fn. 55) so that there must have been at that time a mansion of some importance at Yarmouth.

A survey of the town taken in 1559 showed that its size and importance had greatly diminished, since there were not many more than a dozen houses. (fn. 56) The commissioners of 1835 stated that there was scarcely any trade in the town and very little export or import. (fn. 57)

Yarmouth, which was a member of the port of Southampton, (fn. 58) was called upon at various times to provide ships for the defence of the realm. (fn. 59)

In the survey of Yarmouth taken in 1559 a list is given of all the boats belonging to the port. (fn. 60) At a court leet held in 1602 the inhabitants were bidden to repair the quay with all speed, (fn. 61) and in 1603 the common council ordered that every ship belonging to the port of the burden of forty tons and upwards should pay yearly at Michaelmas towards the maintenance of the quay 5s.; boats between forty and twenty tons, 2s. 6d.; and those between ten and twenty tons, 1s. 6d.; all barques of four tons and upwards using the passage should pay 1s. and 'every pynnys keeping passage' 6d. (fn. 62) In 1618 the quay was again in decay, and the duty of repairing it fell upon the mayor and constables, (fn. 63) while in 1625 a levy for that purpose was made upon all the inhabitants of the town. (fn. 64)

In 1628 Charles I granted the port of Yarmouth to Mary Wandisford, widow, and to William Wandisford, her sister's husband, (fn. 65) who proposed to include it in a scheme for cutting off the parishes of Freshwater and Totland from the main island. The mayor and burgesses petitioned against this scheme, on the ground that it would ruin their harbour by diminishing the current of the river, which was already only just sufficient to keep the harbour clear. (fn. 66) About 1662, however, the Governor of the Island cut a passage round the eastern side of the town, thus making it an island, with a view to rendering it more capable of being fortified, as a French invasion was feared. (fn. 67) Two years later the marshes were embanked and the town was connected with the main island by a drawbridge. (fn. 68) In 1825 £44 12s. 9d. was spent in repairs to the quay and sea wall, which had been injured by a storm, (fn. 69) and in 1829, the wharfs having been found insufficient, an application was made to the Board of Ordnance for a lease of some ground belonging to the castle and adjoining the old wharf, which was granted to the corporation at a rent of £1, and a quit-rent paid to the Board of Ordnance. The corporation also had to pay the government £30 for the old material standing upon the ground. In the following year the corporation built a new wharf on this land and the site of the old wharf. (fn. 70)

The trade of the port is at the present day very limited, the imports consisting chiefly of coal and iron, but not more than is required for use in the immediate neighbourhood. A small quantity of corn is exported.


The manor of YARMOUTH, consisting of a hide and 2½ virgates of land, was held in the time of King Edward the Confessor by Alvric and Wislac in parage of the king, and they retained it after the Conquest. It formed one of the three holdings in Hemreswel Hundred. (fn. 71) The manor was evidently granted by Henry I to Richard de Redvers, and subsequently followed the same descent as the lordship of the Isle (fn. 72) and Carisbrooke Castle (q.v.) until about 1440, when the men of Yarmouth began to farm their own borough. The interest of the lord of the manor was from then until about 1886 represented by a fee-farm rent of 20s. annually, which was apparently granted by the Crown to Sir Robert Holmes. He died in 1692, leaving an illegitimate daughter Mary, and left the chief part of his estate to his nephew Henry Holmes on condition that he should marry Mary Holmes. (fn. 73) This Henry did and the fee-farm rent of Yarmouth passed on his death in 1738 to his son Thomas, who was created Lord Holmes of Killmallock in 1760. (fn. 74) He died in 1764 without surviving issue, and was succeeded in the property by his nephew the Rev. Leonard Holmes, formerly Troughear, who was created Baron Holmes in 1798. (fn. 75) He died in 1804 and the rent passed to his daughter Elizabeth wife of Sir Henry Worsley Holmes, bart. On her death in 1832 it passed to her granddaughter Elizabeth, wife of William Henry Ashe A'Court, who assumed the name Holmes in 1833 and succeeded his father as Lord Heytesbury in 1860. (fn. 76) He died in 1891 and was succeeded by his grandson William Frederick third Lord Heytesbury, whose widow, Margaret Lady Heytesbury, is now lady of the manor.

Sir Robert Holmes, Governor of the Isle of Wight from 1669 until 1692, (fn. 77) built at Yarmouth a large mansion, said to be the present Pier Hotel (fn. 78) (formerly, until 1897, the George Inn), where in 1671, 1675 and 1677 he entertained the king with great magnificence. (fn. 79) The room where Charles II slept is still shown at the inn. This house was apparently built on the site of an old mansion, probably to be identified with 'the king's house' at Yarmouth mentioned in 1638. (fn. 80)

Holmes. Barrywavy or and azure a quarter gules with a leopard or thereon.

A'Court. Paly erminois and azure a chief or with an eagle sable therein having on his breast two cheverons argent.

In 1301–2 a payment of 3s. was made for a new pillory at Yarmouth. (fn. 81)


The castle of Yarmouth was built towards the end of the reign of Henry VIII (fn. 82) in consequence of a raid by the French upon the Island about 1543, (fn. 83) and formed part of the south coast defence scheme which included Calshot, Hurst, and Sandown. It was built under the superintendence of Richard Worsley, then Captain of the Island, (fn. 84) and consisted of a tower and platform towards the sea, mounted with cannon of various calibre, (fn. 85) backed with the usual residence and storehouse. It had a fine gateway towards the east with the royal arms above it, (fn. 86) and seems to have been a more ambitious building than either Cowes or Sandown. The building was probably finished about 1547, for in that year £1,000 was paid to George Mill for the works at Yarmouth and for the discharge of the soldiers there. (fn. 87) The castle has always belonged to the Crown, and was exempted by a special clause in the charter of 1609 from the jurisdiction of the borough. (fn. 88) Repairs were required there in 1565, and were carried out under the direction of Richard Worsley. (fn. 89)

Owing to troubles with Spain the fortifications of the coast towns were inquired into in 1586, and the defences of Yarmouth Castle were found to be very insufficient. (fn. 90) Between March and November in the following year works costing in all £50 7s. 7d. were carried out at Yarmouth under the supervision of Thomas Worsley and John Dingley. The chief item seems to have been the erection of a fortification of earth and turf. (fn. 91) After the Armada scare it was again repaired, and a new building was erected on the platform. (fn. 92) In 1599 Sir Edmund Uvedale estimated at £300 the cost of putting Yarmouth Castle into a proper state of defence, and stated that the sum would be well spent, as Yarmouth was strongly situated, and was a necessary fort for holding up any ships which might get past Hurst Castle and Carey's Sconce. (fn. 93) Repairs were undertaken at about this time, and were reported in 1603 as being almost completed. (fn. 94) In 1609, however, the Earl of Southampton, then Governor of the Isle of Wight, spent £300 on the repairs of Sandown and Yarmouth Castles. (fn. 95) In 1623, when John Burley was Captain and the garrison consisted of four men, a survey of the castle was taken. The surveyors reported that the parapet of the middle tower was quite decayed, and that lodging was wanted for four gunners. The three rooms in the square tower were in a ruinous state and required roofing. The moat and the sluice regulating the supply of water in it were both useless. The moat was 17 rods in circumference and 2 rods wide, and was to be made 5 ft. deeper, and a counter-scarp of brick or earth was to be constructed.

Repairs were again urgently required in 1625. (fn. 96)

On the outbreak of the Civil War in 1642 the Parliamentarians took steps to secure all the castles of the Isle of Wight. Captain Barnaby Burley, who was then in command at Yarmouth, made active preparations to defend the castle for the king, but finally surrendered on condition that he might remain in the castle, the Parliamentarians leaving with him a sufficient guard. (fn. 97)

In 1650 the garrison at Yarmouth was found to be very insufficient, and it was proposed that the existing force of a captain and thirty men should be increased by thirty men and a lieutenant. (fn. 98) Thus in 1654 the garrison comprised seventy soldiers, (fn. 99) and in 1655 the cost of the upkeep of the garrison was £78 3s. 4d., and steps were taken to reduce it. (fn. 100) On the accession of Charles II the dismantling of castles and fortresses, begun under the Long Parliament as a precaution against rebellion, was carried further, and in 1661 the entire garrison of Yarmouth Castle was disbanded at four days' notice, and the removal of the guns to Cowes was ordered unless the men of Yarmouth would undertake to defend their own castle. (fn. 101) Apparently the burgesses did not do this, for in 1666 the king wrote to Lord Colepeper, then Governor of the Island, suggesting that the inhabitants of Yarmouth and other places in the Isle of Wight might contribute to the safety of the Island by fortifying their castles. (fn. 102) Some steps may have been taken in this direction, for Sir Robert Holmes, when he surveyed the fortifications in 1669, found that, though Yarmouth Castle was totally out of repair and had no officer, there were four men acting as a garrison. (fn. 103) In the following year orders were issued by the king for the proper fortification of the town of Yarmouth, fresh ground to be bought if necessary for the extension of existing fortifications, and such guns and ordnance as could be spared from Cowes to be placed at Yarmouth. (fn. 104)

In 1688, when William of Orange was preparing to land in England, Sir Robert Holmes wrote in despair to Lord Preston that he could never secure the Island without speedy help. He could only attempt to retain the two forts of Yarmouth and Hurst, the militia being already mutinous and the townspeople ready to declare in favour of the prince. (fn. 105) In the following year things were in the same bad state. (fn. 106) The military establishment in 1781 included a captain, one master gunner and five other gunners. (fn. 107) Extensive repairs were carried out at the fort in 1855, and it was then garrisoned by a detachment of the regular army of the county, (fn. 108) but it was dismantled about thirty years later, and the fort has been used since about 1898 for coastguard purposes. It consisted in 1863 of a platform with four guns. (fn. 109) The castle is leased to the proprietors of the Pier Hotel, with which it is now incorporated. (fn. 110)


The parish church of ST. JAMES is an uninteresting structure consisting of nave with north and south aisles, a chancel and a western tower. The original church was said by local tradition to have been at the east end of the town, and its foundations were visible in the old churchyard in 1845. (fn. 111) Destroyed by the French in their raid of 1377, it is said to have been rebuilt on the present site only to be again reduced to a ruin in 1543. At the beginning of the 17th century it was practically rebuilt, (fn. 112) and reconsecrated by the Bishop of Salisbury on 11 March 1626. (fn. 113) The chancel, which had a polygonal roof with enriched bosses at the intersection of the ribs, was lengthened 12 ft. in 1889. To the south of it is the little mortuary chapel containing a fine statue of Sir Robert Holmes, died 1692, and many memorials to the Holmes family. There is a wall tablet by Nollekens to Captain John Urry, 1802, and in the floor are 17th-century grave slabs of the Hide family (fn. 114) and to Peter Pryavlx, 1644. On the front of the gallery at the west end are brass tablets commemorating the different charitable bequests, and in the north aisle is the royal achievement of George I, 1715.

There is one bell, by James Bartlet of London, inscribed 'The . Gvift . of . Sir . Richard . Mason . Knight . 1679' and a clock made by Nicholas Paris in the same year.

The plate consists of two pewter 18th-century patens, plated flagon, plated paten on three feet, of 8½ in. diameter, and plated chalice, both inscribed 'PARISH OF YARMOUTH,' and silver chalice and paten. In the vestry are two lidded pewter flagons said to have formerly been used in the church.

The registers date from 1614.


Baldwin de Redvers, the first of the name, granted to the priory of Christchurch Twyneham the tithes that belonged to Sir Alfred de Brockley in Yarmouth, (fn. 115) and this grant was confirmed by his sons Richard and Baldwin and by the king in 1313. (fn. 116) The lords of the manor evidently retained the advowson, (fn. 117) and it passed to the king in the same way as the manor, (fn. 118) and was granted with it to the Earl of Chester. (fn. 119) In 1333, however, Philip de Heyterdebury came before the king and sought to recover the advowson of a moiety of the church of Yarmouth to the Prior of Christchurch Twyneham, the advowson having been taken into the king's hands on account of the prior's default before Geoffrey le Scrop the king's justice. (fn. 120) In the following year Geoffrey and his fellow-justices received orders not to put the prior in default for his absence at a suit between the king and the prior concerning the rendering by the prior to the king of a moiety of the advowson, as the prior was in the king's service at that time. (fn. 121) Presumably the whole advowson then passed to the king, (fn. 122) and the king or the Lord Chancellor presented (fn. 123) until 1866–7, when the advowson was purchased by Samuel Fisher. (fn. 124) In 1894–5 it was sold by the trustees of the Rev. C. T. Fisher to the Rev. B. Maturin, from whom it passed in 1900 to Mr. Elmer Speed, the present patron. (fn. 125)

In 1380 the church of Yarmouth was exonerated from the subsidy on account of the poverty (fn. 126) of the town, which had been burnt by the French. In 1559 in the survey above quoted it is stated that the benefice of Yarmouth was insufficient to find a priest, (fn. 127) and in 1654 the mayor and inhabitants of the town in a petition to the Protector stated that the benefice, being not above 20 marks a year, served only for an old man who could merely read. They, therefore, begged that they might have an augmentation of £50 a year, so that they could have a proper pastor, and this request was granted. (fn. 128)

A brief assigned to the year 1626 was issued for building a new church at Yarmouth, (fn. 129) and by a faculty granted by the Bishop of Winchester in 1635 the townsfolk of Yarmouth were allowed to pull down their old church, which was in a ruinous state, and to build a new one. (fn. 130)


William de Vernon, lord of the Isle of Wight from 1184 to 1216, granted and confirmed to William Mackerel the land and house at Yarmouth which Guy the clerk held, for making a hospital in honour of God and St. Mary the Virgin and All Saints, for the soul of King Henry son of Earl Geoffrey and for the soul of Earl Baldwin and Richard his brother, (fn. 131) and for the soul of William Mackerel and his ancestors. (fn. 132) William's grant was confirmed by Baldwin Archbishop of Canterbury (1185–90), (fn. 133) and by Godfrey Bishop of Winchester (1189–1204). (fn. 134) The hospital was endowed with land at Milford and Kerne, and at Chalk in Wiltshire, and with the chapel of Brook. (fn. 135) William Mackerel apparently gave the hospital with its endowments to the knights of Solomon's Temple, for his gift to that effect was confirmed by Ralph his brother and successor, and by William de Vernon. (fn. 136) It would seem that the hospital was allowed to fall into decay, for no further mention of it has been found, and its endowment with the exception of the chapel of Brook was appropriated to the Knights Templars.

There are Baptist, Wesleyan and Bible Christian chapels at Yarmouth, the latter having been registered for marriages in 1869, (fn. 137) and the Plymouth Brethren have a small room.


The Town Trust, comprising the property of the dissolved corporation of 'The Mayor and Chief Burgesses of Yarmouth,' is regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commissioners 30 December 1890.

The property consists of:—

Part i, fee-farm rents and parcels of land and buildings in Yarmouth, and £134 19s. 5d. Plymouth Corporation 3 per cent. stock, £35 6s. 8d. consols, and £49 18s. 6d. India 3 per cent. stock held by the official trustees;

Part ii, the quay, harbour, wharfage, tolls and harbour dues, and also reversion of Yar Bridge;

Part iii, the pier and tolls and rates comprised in and levied under the Yarmouth (I. of W.) Pier Order 1874;

Part iv, the mace, common seal, ancient charters, &c.;

Part v, mud land containing 36 a. 2 r. 27 p.

The scheme directs that the income from Part i, about £30 a year, shall be applied in defraying cost of repairs and management of Parts i and iv, and in maintenance of the town hall and to any purpose for public benefit; the income from Part ii, about £250 a year, in payment of harbour master and other officers, in maintaining harbour lights, &c., and in contributing to the expenses of the pier; the income from Part iii, about £610 a year, in upkeep of the pier, including salaries of officers, and in paying interest accruing in respect of debts incurred.

In 1752 Thomas Lord Holmes by deed charged his farm called Alverstone in Brading with an annuity of £30, to be applied in keeping in repair the monument in the parish church in memory of his son, one-third of the residue in apprenticing poor boys and girls, a moiety of the remainder for the minister and the other moiety for the poor. By an order of the Charity Commissioners 12 June 1896 the yearly sum of 20s. was directed to be applied in repair of the monument and £9 13s. 4d. for the minister, constituting the Ecclesiastical charity, £9 13s. 4d. for apprenticing and £9 13s. 4d. for the poor.

In 1846 Joseph Squire by will bequeathed £200 consols, now £196 14s. 1d. Nottingham Corporation 3 per cent. stock, the dividends to be distributed among poor not receiving parochial relief, on the anniversary of testator's death (September 14).

In 1856 John Squire, by his will proved at Winchester 15 September, bequeathed £100 consols, now £98 7s. like Corporation stock, the income to be applied in distribution of coals to poor widows at Christmas.

In 1872 Miss Harriet Blagrave Dean Love by deed gave £200 consols, now £196 19s. 2d. like Corporation stock, the income to be distributed to the poor on 1 January yearly.

The same donor, by her will proved at London 17 March 1881, left £50 consols, now £49 4s. 3d. like Corporation stock, the interest to be applied in keeping in repair a tablet in the church and tombstones in the churchyard, and the surplus to any useful or charitable purpose. The income of this charity is accumulating until required.

In 1871 Vice-Admiral Henry Ommanney Love by deed gave £200 consols, now £196 19s. 2d. like Corporation stock, the income to be applied as to one moiety for the rector and the other moiety for the poor on 1 March in each year.

In 1868 Caroline Leigh, by her will proved at Winchester 27 October, bequeathed £1,000 consols, now £984 16s. 1d. like Corporation stock, producing £29 11s. yearly, to be applied in augmentation of the rector's stipend.

The sums of stock above mentioned are held by the official trustees, producing in the aggregate £51 13s. 6d., of which £32 10s. is received by the rector, in addition to the share of Lord Holmes's charity. The proportion (fn. 138) applicable for eleemosynary purposes is distributed in coal and money doles.

Educational Charities:

In 1825 Jane Seymour Hearne by will bequeathed a sum of money, now represented by £88 8s. Nottingham Corporation 3 per cent. stock.

In 1871 Vice-Admiral Henry Ommanney Love by deed gave £100 consols, now £98 9s. 7d. like Corporation stock.

In 1872 Miss Harriet Blagrave Dean Love by deed gave £100 consols, now £98 9s. 7d. like Corporation stock.

In 1874 Barnabas, otherwise Barnaby, Beere bequeathed a sum of money, now represented by £143 17s. 10d. like Corporation stock.

In 1897 Miss Elizabeth Leigh, by a codicil to her will proved 10 December, bequeathed £1,000 consols, now represented by £1,000 like Corporation stock, and £21 12s. 1d. consols, the income to be applied in equal proportion towards the salaries of the master and mistress of the National schools, both to be members of the Church of England.

The several sums of stock are held by the official trustees, producing in the aggregate £43 8s. yearly, which is applied in connexion with the National schools.


  • 1. Built 1863.
  • 2. The Act for the construction of the pier is Local Act 34 & 35 Vict. cap. 56.
  • 3. Woodward, Hist. of Hants, iii, Suppl. 80.
  • 4. Lewis, Topog. Dict.
  • 5. Ct. R. of Yarmouth Add. MS. 5669.
  • 6. The Key Gate, 21 Jas. I (Town Trust MSS.).
  • 7. The inner Town Gate needed repair in 1633 (Town Trust MSS.).
  • 8. Town Gate, 2 Jas. I and 5 Chas. I. At a view of frankpledge held 4 Oct. 1624 it was ordered that the road be repaired between the Town Gate and the old church (Town Trust MSS.).
  • 9. Hither Gate, 1 Chas. I (Town Trust MSS.).
  • 10. The charter is undated, but the names of four of the witnesses of the charter occur between 1177 and 1179 and another in 1166. This makes Worsley's suggestion that this Baldwin was the seventh earl (1235–62) impossible (Worsley, op. cit. 56).
  • 11. Roll of tenants of Isle of Wight (Roll B 2 Worsley MSS.). In 1235–6 the borough of Yarmouth appeared before the justices in eyre, by a jury of twelve, distinct from the hundred of West Medin (Assize R. 775, m. 23).
  • 12. Cal. Pat. 1330–4, p. 535. The date of this charter is returned by the Commissioners of 1835 as 1 Apr. 8 Edw. I (1280) instead of 1 Apr. 8 Edw. III (Rep. of Com. on Munic. Corp. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915).
  • 13. Mins. Accts. bdles. 985, no. 13, 16; 987, no. 2, 3, 4.
  • 14. a Cal. Pat. 1436–41, p. 427.
  • 15. Foreign Accts. 31 Hen. VI, F. A fee farm of 20s. was paid for the vill in 1398–9 and 1431, but it is not stated who made the payment (Worsley MS. R. B 2; Inq. p.m. 10 Hen. VI, no. 45).
  • 16. Cal. Pat. 1461–7, p. 539; Confirmation Roll, 2 Eliz. pt. iii, no. 8.
  • 17. Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xxvi, no. 9.
  • 18. The corporate seal is still in existence and is a fine specimen of the 16th century.
  • 19. This evidently included the common clerk.
  • 20. MSS. of Mrs. Frankland-Russell-Astley (Hist. MSS. Com.), 77.
  • 21. Stat. 46 & 47 Vict. cap. 18.
  • 22. Mins. Accts. bdles. 985, no. 8, 9; 984, no. 23; 987, no. 1, 2, 3, 4; Rentals and Surv. R. 579.
  • 23. Foreign Accts. 4 Ric. II, A; 9 Ric. II, C.
  • 24. Foreign Accts. 31 Hen. VI, F. Richard Coke, mayor, is mentioned in 1487 and John Young, mayor, in 1519 (Yarmouth Town Trust MSS.).
  • 25. It was not necessary for him to be a resident in or near the borough.
  • 26. Barnabas Leigh was the first mayor under this charter.
  • 27. A deputy mayor seems to have presided as returning officer at an election in 1733. How he was elected does not appear (Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.).
  • 28. Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 29. Under the charter of 1609 the office of capital burgess was to be held for life except in cases of misbehaviour.
  • 30. In a letter to the burgesses of Yarmouth dated September 1601 Lord Hunsdon, then Governor of the Island, requested them, as he had been the means of their obtaining the privilege of sending a member to Parliament, to 'Send up unto me, as heretofore you have don, your writte with a blanke wherein I may insert the names of such persons as I shall think fittest to discharge that dewtie for your behoofe' (Hants Repository, ii, 247).
  • 31. Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xxvi, no. 9. The mace, which is still in existence, was formerly the hand sceptre of Charles II. It is of parcel gilt measuring 19 in. in length and 3 in. across the crown. On the base is inscribed 'C. R. 1660' (Woodward, loc. cit.).
  • 32. Worsley MSS. R. B 2.
  • 33. Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xxvi, no. 9.
  • 34. Sir T. Gatehouse, MS. Surv. of Hants, 1778.
  • 35. Lewis, Topog. Dict.
  • 36. Woodward, loc. cit.; Kelly, Hants Dir.
  • 37. Ibid.
  • 38. Rep. on Market Rts. and Tolls, i, 168.
  • 39. Newport seems to have asserted her claim to petty custom within the borough of Yarmouth and in 1540 carried this to the extent of sending an armed barge to prevent the wool being shipped across to the Somerset clothiers waiting at Lymington with their carts to receive it. Vide petition sent by the mayor and burgesses to Richard Worsley in 1539 (Yarmouth Town Trust MSS.). Thomas James and John Pococke, bailiffs of Newport, 'mennyd a grette boyt by estymacyon of the burden x and xij towne wt Dyvors Ryotts persons.'
  • 40. Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 41. Ibid.
  • 42. Mins. Accts. bdles. 984, no. 11–16; 985, no. 12, 15, 16, 18; 987, no. 1; Rentals and Surv. R. 579.
  • 43. Rep. on Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq. Adams in his Hist. of the Isle of Wight states that the court of pie powder was then (1856) in existence, but he was probably mistaken (Adams, op. cit. 177).
  • 44. Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 45. Ct. R. of Yarmouth; Add. MS. 5669.
  • 46. Some transcripts of the 17th-century court rolls exist at the Brit. Mus. (Add. MS. 5669), but the box containing the originals and other muniments of the corporation was 'surreptitiously taken away (from Yarmouth) by a person from whom they were never afterwards recovered' (Rep. on Public Records [Rec. Com.], 512).
  • 47. Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 48. Usually elected from the principal inhabitants, who generally found substitutes.
  • 49. Selected from the smaller tradespeople and mariners; these acted as the town police force.
  • 50. Add. MS. 5669.
  • 51. Ret. of Members of Parl. i, 5.
  • 52. Ibid. 415.
  • 53. 'Itin. of King John.' Rot. Lit. Pat. (Rec. Com.).
  • 54. Rot. Lit. Claus. (Rec. Com.), i, 80.
  • 55. 'Itin. of King John.'
  • 56. S. P. Dom. Eliz. vii, 59.
  • 57. Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 58. Spec. Com. 7 Eliz. no. 2005, 2006.
  • 59. Cal. Pat. 1216–25, p. 484; 1225–32, pp. 264, 364; 1301–7, p. 53; 1324–7, p. 310; Cal. Close, 1231–4, p. 556; 1296–1302, p. 612; 1302–7, p. 78; 1307–13, pp. 123, 75; 1318–23, p. 534; 1323–7, p. 183; 1339–41, pp. 497, 574.
  • 60. S. P. Dom. Eliz. vii, 59.
  • 61. Ct. R. of Yarmouth, Add. MS. 5669.
  • 62. Ibid.
  • 63. Ibid.
  • 64. Ibid.
  • 65. Pat. 4 Chas. I, pt. xviii, no. 7.
  • 66. S. P. Dom. Chas. I, ccccviii, 69, 70.
  • 67. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiii, App. ii, 288.
  • 68. The Hants Repository, ii, 245.
  • 69. Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 70. Ibid.
  • 71. V.C.H. Hants, i, 525.
  • 72. Mins. Accts. bdles. 984, no. 23; 985, no. 4, 9; Feud. Aids, ii, 322; Worsley MSS. R. B 2; Inq. p.m. 10 Hen. VI, no. 45; Add. Chart. 2034, fol. 94 d.
  • 73. Dict. Nat. Biog. In 1674 fee farms from many manors and boroughs in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight were granted to Sir Robert Holmes (Sale of Fee-Farm Rents, Enrolments, vol. 244, fol. 77 [Land Rev. Off.]).
  • 74. G.E.C. Complete Peerage, iv, 246.
  • 75. Ibid.
  • 76. Ibid.
  • 77. Worsley, op. cit. App. no. xxvi; Pat. 20 Chas. II, pt. vii.
  • 78. Mr. Stone thinks that the present house was more probably built by Sir Robert's nephew, Henry Holmes, about 1700, as no part of it dates before that. Though much altered by its late transformation much of the original house still remains. It is clearly shown in a sketch of Yarmouth about 1750 among the king's maps in the Brit. Mus.
  • 79. Dict. Nat. Biog.
  • 80. S. P. Dom. Chas. I, ccccviii, 70. Possibly on the site of the house where King John had stayed (see supra).
  • 81. Mins. Accts. 984, no. 23.
  • 82. It was evidently not built till after Cowes and Sandown, as in the list of fees paid to the garrisons and Crown officers in the Isle of Wight no payments to officers at Yarmouth appear (Worsley, Hist. of Isle of Wight, App. no. xxxvi).
  • 83. Worsley, op. cit. 94, 46; Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xxvi, no. 9.
  • 84. Worsley, op. cit. 46.
  • 85. An inventory of 1547 gives brass curtal cannon, demi-culverins, sakers, double and single bases (Worsley, op. cit. App. no. xxxviii).
  • 86. At present facing the garden of the Pier Hotel.
  • 87. Acts of P.C. 1547–50, pp. 94, 113.
  • 88. Pat. 7 Jas. I, pt. xxvi, no. 9; Rep. of Munic. Corp. Com. 1835, App. pt. ii, 915 et seq.
  • 89. Acts of P.C. 1558–70, p. 304.
  • 90. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1581–90, p. 309.
  • 91. Worsley, op. cit. App. no. xviii.
  • 92. Account of Sir John Leigh, 1597–8.
  • 93. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1598–1601, p. 259.
  • 94. Spec. Com. no. 4470.
  • 95. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1603–10, pp. 528, 551.
  • 96. Ibid. 1623–5, p. 469.
  • 97. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xiii, App. i, 54.
  • 98. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1650, p. 148.
  • 99. Ibid. 1654, p. 125.
  • 100. Ibid. 1655, pp. 229, 238.
  • 101. Ibid. 1660–1, p. 489; 1661–2, p. 205.
  • 102. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1666–7, p. 355.
  • 103. Ibid. 1668–9, p. 244.
  • 104. Ibid. 1660–70, p. 192.
  • 105. Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. xi, App. v, 185.
  • 106. Ibid. xii, App. vi, 135.
  • 107. Worsley, op. cit. App. no. xl.
  • 108. Adams, Hist. of Isle of Wight, 177.
  • 109. Woodward, Hist. of Hants, iii, Suppl. 80.
  • 110. A sketch plan of the castle is published in Stone's Archit. Antiq. of Isle of Wight, ii, pl. cxlvi.
  • 111. Stone, op. cit. ii, 63n. In 1611 the mayor was granted licence to solicit aid for the building of a new church.
  • 112. On the old foundations, the base of the tower being raised on them and the chancel and perhaps the south aisle left in situ. The north-east respond of the arcade ends in a 16th-century base on which the shaft is clumsily set.
  • 113. Oglander MSS. quoted in Stone, op. cit. ii, 64.
  • 114. William Hide, alderman, 1648, his wife Mary 1660, their son William 1679.
  • 115. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vi, 304.
  • 116. Cal. Chart. R. 1300–26, p. 229.
  • 117. Add. MS. 2031, fol. 42 d.; Cal. Inq. p.m. Hen. III, 175.
  • 118. Cal. Pat. 1292–1301, p. 330; 1301–7, p. 462; 1327–30, p. 193; Winton Epis. Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), 526.
  • 119. Add. MS. 2032, fol. 6 d.
  • 120. Cal. Close, 1333–7, p. 121.
  • 121. Ibid. p. 283.
  • 122. Cal. Pat. 1334–8, p. 465; 1340–3, p. 70; Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), i, 199, 216; Cal. Pat. 1391–6, p. 600; 1399–1401, pp. 162, 181; Inst. Bks. (P.R.O.). In 1349 the church of Yarmouth was said to be in the king's gift by reason of the temporalities of the Priory of Carisbrooke being in his hands (Cal. Pat. 1348–50, p. 276).
  • 123. With the exception of one presentation made by Anthony Earl Rivers when he was lord of the Island (Add. MS. 2034, fol. 94 d.).
  • 124. Clergy Lists.
  • 125. Ibid.; information by the Rev. H. F. Speed, rector of Yarmouth.
  • 126. Wykeham's Reg. (Hants Rec. Soc.), ii, 321.
  • 127. S. P. Dom. Eliz. vii, 59. It is here stated that there had been three parish churches in Yarmouth, but they could hardly have been contemporary.
  • 128. Cal. S. P. Dom. 1654, p. 125.
  • 129. Ibid. 1625–6, p. 512.
  • 130. Hants Repository, ii, 241.
  • 131. Nephews of William de Vernon.
  • 132. Dugdale, Mon. Angl. vii, 843. In the rubric of the grant the hospital is called 'the hospital of Gremne.'
  • 133. Ibid.
  • 134. Ibid.
  • 135. Ibid.
  • 136. Ibid. Ralph, in his confirmation charter, stipulated that the endowment of the hospital was to be held of him and his successors, and that if he should ever want to become a Knight of the Temple he was to be received into that religious order by that agreement.
  • 137. Lond. Gaz. 17 Dec. 1869, p. 7146.
  • 138. Of the above-mentioned charities.