Carisbrooke is a village on the southwestern outskirts of Newport, Isle of Wight and is best known as the site of Carisbrooke Castle. It also has a medieval parish church. St. Mary's Church (overlooking Carisbrooke High Street with views to the castle), began life as part of a Benedictine priory, established by French monks about 1150. The priory was dissolved by King Henry V of England in 1415 during the French Wars. Neglect over the centuries took its toll, but in 1907 the church was restored to its full glory. Its most striking feature is the 14th century tower, rising in five stages with a turret at one corner and a battlemented and pinnacled crown.
Carisbrooke was a civil parish until 1933 when it was absorbed into Newport Urban District. St. Nicholas Castlehold or St. Nicholas was a separate parish which was absorbed into Carisbrooke in sections, first in 1882 and completely in 1894.
Carisbrooke Castle was originally a Roman fort. The castle is at the top of Castle Hill. It was built soon after William the Conqueror came to England. The William FitzOsbern, 1st Earl of Hereford may have been responsible for its construction, but he was killed in battle during 1071 and so would have had little opportunity to oversee the works. Osbern's son, Roger, is more likely to have built or refortified the castle. It was at Carisbrooke Castle that William the Conqueror arrested his own half brother, Odo for acts of treason.
King Henry I of England granted the castle in the first year of his reign (1100) to Richard de Redvers. The Redvers family owned the castle for much of the Medieval period, only ending in November 1293 when the last Redvers, Isabel died. In 1136, Baldwin de Redvers took refuge in the castle on the run from King Stephen of England. The wells on the island ran dry and Baldwin gave up the land in exchange for his head. Baldwin's land was restored to him in 1153 when Henry II became king. Baldwin, the 7th Earl, the last male in the line, died in 1216 poisoned, it is said by Peter II of Savoy. Isabella de Fortibus, Baldwin's sister took control of the castle and successfully ran it until her death in 1293. After the death of Isabella de Fortibus in 1293 the castle became the property of Edward I and the crown.
In 1355 Edward III granted the ownership of the castle to his daughter Isabel. In 1377 The French landed on the Isle of Wight and attacked Carisbrooke castle. The castle did not fall to the French. Later in 1647 Charles I took refuge at Carisbrooke but the castle later turned out to be his prison from where he attempted several times to escape but failed. His daughter princess Person:Elizabeth of England (1635–1650) (1)|Elizabeth]] later died there aged 14.
It later became the royal residence of Princess Beatrice the 9th daughter of Queen Victoria who put in the gardens which have been recently restored. She established the museum in the centre of the bailey.