Carisbrooke (St. Mary)
The parish is partly bounded on the east by the river Medina, is nearly 20 miles in circumference, and altogether irregular in its outline, encompassing the town of Newport on three sides, and containing about one-fourth part of it; the surface is undulated, the scenery very picturesque, and the soil consists of chalk, marl, and clay. The village is pleasantly situated at the foot of the Castle Hill, on the banks of a rivulet on which are five corn-mills, and which falls into the Medina at Newport. It was of much more consequence formerly than it is at present, having been a market-town, and considered the capital of the island, until superseded by the town of Newport, on account of the more eligible situation of the latter, up to which the river Medina is navigable, and where the nearest wharf is situated. The living is a vicarage, with the livings of Newport and Northwood annexed, valued in the king's books at £23. 8. 1½.; net income, about £1000; patrons, the Provost and Scholars of Queen's College, Oxford; impropriators, several landowners. Opposite to the castle, on a rising ground, stands the church, an ancient structure with an embattled tower, to which was formerly annexed a monastery of Cistercian monks, founded by William Fitz-Osborn, marshal to the Conqueror, who captured the island at the same time that William conquered the kingdom; the remains of the monastery have been converted into a farmhouse, called the Priory. There is a small glebe, comprising, with the site of the vicarage house and garden, nearly 2 acres. A district church, dedicated to St. John, was erected in that part of the parish which adjoins the town of Newport, at an expense of £4000, by the Rev. Dr. Worsley, of Finchley, and endowed with £1000 by Major-Gen. Sir H. Worsley; it was consecrated in 1837, since which period a district has been assigned to it, comprising a population of about 2500. The church is a handsome edifice of stone, in the early English style, containing 830 sittings, of which 230 are free; the tower included in the original design, has not yet been added, for want of funds. The living is in the gift of the Rev. Richard Hollings. There are places of worship for Independents, Baptists, Wesleyans, &c.
Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, seventh edition, published 1858.