UK Genealogy Archives logo

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

Historical Description

Osborne House, a residence of Her Majesty the Queen on the N coast of the Isle of Wight, between the river Medina and the Solent, 1 mile SE of East Cowes. The manor was long held by the Bowermans, belonged in the time of Charles I. to Eustace Mann, passed by marriage of his granddaughter to the Blachfords, and was purchased by Her Majesty from Lady Isabella Blachford in 1845. The name was originally Austerbourne or Oysterbourne, and has been regarded by some as equivalent to East Borne, by others as derived from adjacent oyster-beds. The mansion of the Blachfords was modern and plain, and was taken down on becoming the Queen's property. The present edifice was erected after designs by T. Cubitt; is in the Domestic Italian style; has a square flag tower and a square clock tower, respectively 107 and 90 feet high; places the Queen's apartments in advance of the flag tower; is filled with statuary and pictures, principally the works of modern artists; and was visited by the Emperor Napoleon III. in 1857 and by the Empress Eugenie in 1867. The estate, after coming into Her Majesty's possession, was repeatedly enlarged, comprises now about 2000 acres, reaches nearly to Ryde by the seashore and nearly to Newport inland, includes terraced gardens and grounds of surpassing beauty, has a private pier on the shore for the use of the royal household, and is dotted over part of the outskirts with excellent cottages for the workpeople in Her Majesty's employment. Barton Manor was one of the additions made to the estate, had an oratory for six chaplains and a clerk, founded in 1282, passed to the Bishops of Winchester in 1439, was given by Bishop Waynflete to Winchester College, and was purchased from Winchester College by Her Majesty. Barton Manor House, a picturesque gabled mansion, has been rebuilt by the Queen, with careful retention of its old features, as a residence for her principal steward.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5