Yarmouth is a town, port and civil parish in the western part of the Isle of Wight, England, off the southern coast of Hampshire, England. The town is named for its location at the mouth of the small Western Yar river (there is also an Eastern Yar on the island). Yarmouth is a crossing point for the river, originally with a ferry, replaced with a road bridge in 1863. Although classified as a "town", it had a population of only 865 in the UK census of 2011. Yarmouth's area was expanded in 1933 when the neighbouring parish of Thorley was absorbed into it.
Yarmouth has been a settlement for over a thousand years, and is one of the very earliest on the Isle of Wight. The first record of a settlement here was in King Ethelred the Unready's record of the Danegeld tax of 991. It was originally called Eremue, meaning "muddy estuary". The Normans laid out the streets of Yarmouth on the grid system, a plan which can still be seen in the layout today. It grew rapidly, being given its first Charter as a town in 1135. The town became a parliamentary borough in the Middle Ages, and the Yarmouth constituency was represented by two members of Parliament until 1832.
Until the building of the castle, regular raids on the island by the French continued, and in 1544 the town of Yarmouth was reputed to have been burned down. Legend has it that the church bells were carried off to Cherbourg or Boulogne in France.
Yarmouth Castle was built in 1547. It survives, and is now in the care of English Heritage. It is effectively a gun platform built by Henry VIII to strengthen the Solent and protect the Isle of Wight, historically an important strategical foothold for any attempted invasion of England.
In St. James's Church there is a monument to the 17th-century admiral Sir Robert Holmes who based his operations at Yarmouth. He obtained it in a raid on a French ship, when he seized an unfinished statue of Louis XIV of France and forced the sculptor to finish it with his own head rather than the king's.
Yarmouth Pier was opened in 1876. Originally 685 ft (207.5m) long, it's now 609 ft (186m) but is still the longest timber pier in England open to the public, and is a docking point for tourist steamers as well as for ferries from the mainland.