"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Isle of Wight Day 8 - Friday, 7th July: St James' Church and Yarmouth

We were away from the cottage by ten o'clock on the Friday and on the way to Yarmouth stopped off at Afton Down Car Park (just before you arrive in Freshwater). It is usually a super place for butterflies but there were only a few around that morning.


We were due to catch the ferry from Yarmouth at 2.00 so had plenty of time to look round the town.

We always visit this second-hand bookshop

and the fossil shop close by.


WW2? planes flying over


The rest of the family went to look round the harbour area while I visited the church of St James and look what I missed!



Have only ever seen jellyfish stranded on the beach before so was sad not to have seen it!

What a classy boat!



Yarmouth is an old settlement - the first record of the town was in AD991 when it was called Ermud meaning the "muddy estuary". The town grew quickly both in size and importance and it become the main port on the island by the 12th century and was the first town to receive a Charter. This meant its residents had certain rights and privileges and were no longer serfs. It became a borough in 1439 and the first mayor was elected in 1440. The town had 2 members of parliament between 1584 and 1832.

In 1377 and 1543 both Yarmouth and Newtown were set on fire by the French. The 16th century raids led Henry VIII to build Yarmouth Castle. In 1200 Yarmouth had two churches - one in the east dedicated to St John the Baptist and one in the market place dedicated to St James. St John's was completely destroyed in the fires of 1377 and St James greatly damaged. St James was repaired but was itself completely destroyed in the French raid of 1543. A new church was erected on the east side of town but was demolished in 1635 as the foundations were so weak.

The present St James's church was built in 1614 and consecrated in 1626. Many improvements were made in 1832/3 and more alterations carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This enamel memorial tablet follows the style of a 15th century Florentine, Della Robbia.

Stained glass

The stained glass behind the high altar depicts our Lord blessing children. It was installed in 1867 by the then Reverend J. Blackburn in memory of his youngest son who died at just 24.

The font made of Caen stone dates from 1873.

The Holmes Chapel

The most noteworthy memorial is the statue of Admiral Sir Robert Holmes - Governor of the Island between 1668 and 1682.

The story behind this statue tells that it was initially intended as a statue of Louis XIV of France. Holmes captured the statue and the sculptor and made him substitute his own head for that of the French king.

Holmes was a brilliant and fearless leader of men who distinguished himself in several encounters with the Dutch. He gave his monarch a cargo of gold captured on an expedition to the coast of Guinea, West Africa. The gold was turned into coins which were named "Guineas". He died in November 1692. He was very wealthy but had never married and he provided for his illegitimate daughter by leaving his estate to his nephew Henry as long as he married Mary, his daughter.

The Allanby Paintings -loaned to the church by the Herepath Trust - were painted n the the 17th century by an unknown artist inspired by the Venetian School.

Sorry photos not very good - the paintings were high above my head and my Olympus does not have a fold out screen that you can angle!

The pulpit is made of Caen stone and replaced a Jacobean oak pulpit in 1873.

I had about half an hour to explore the church and came out with 5 minutes to spare so when I saw this sign I thought

I would explore what looked like a quiet and peaceful place but

as I went to enter someone bellowed "Oi! You can't go there you are trespassing" and then I noticed this sign :(

With a rather red face I muttered an apology and rushed rather rapidly past the workmen on the roof and went to join the others.

Time to cool down with an icecream

By this time it was 12.00 and B (who always wants to get home as soon as possible on the last day) was making noises about trying to catch an earlier ferry i.e. the one at one o'clock :( I thought they would turn us away but they put us in the "standby" lane. While waiting another look round the harbour

Tennyson on the Sea Monster - he had heard all about it from Osborne.

I've since found out a little more about the seat it is called The Yarmouth Gribble seat and was made in 2008 as part of a project to save the pier. Recycled materials such as scrap metal, local newspapers, old bricks and paving slabs were used and it was created by local public artists Eccleston Gorge. The "seats" were made by local residents leaving handprints in the wet concrete. Gribbles are tiny (1-4mm long) marine isopods and they do a lot of damage to wooden structures on the coast (such as piers) as they eat the softer parts of the timber.

Apparently if you peer in the mouth you might be able to see a part of the pier that the Gribble has eaten - no way was Tennyson going to try that!

D and I were keeping our fingers crossed that we wouldn't get on the earlier ferry, as we had a cunning plan to visit Yarmouth Castle (for the first time) which is right next door to the ferry departure point, before the next ferry arrived. They did take some cars from the standby lane and, just as I was heaving a sigh of relief when it looked as though they couldn't possibly get one more vehicle on there, along came a Wightlink man and said there is just room for one small car - off you go :( Rats!!! It took about 5 minutes to manouevre the car into the tiniest space imaginable.

So it was au revoir to the Island :(


How I wished we were on this ferry heading in the opposite direction on their way to Yarmouth.


Tennyson waiting for the ferry - he hadn't wanted to leave what is his home either.

Tennyson and Osborne enjoying the sea air and wanting last glimpses of the Island.

Hello to Lymington and the mainland.

So much for getting an earlier ferry and arriving home sooner - return journey took 4.5 hours without stopping! The traffic on the A34 was horrendous - we were in a constant traffic jam from Didcot to the M40! We had to leave the latter early at Gaydon and cut across country as there was a two hour delay due to an accident.

Even Osborne was fed up!

There are so many places we didn't visit on the Isle of Wight this holiday worth going to and I have listed some below although, of course, it depends on your interests as to which would appeal the most.

Osborne House and Carisbrook Castle are "musts" both are superb.

NT Newtown Hall and Nature Reserve are also brilliant. There are several walks you can take there - all good for wildlife.

Sandown Dinosaur Museum (and also the smaller Dinosaur Farm Museum Brook/Chale - on the Military Road).

Godshill - very busy and a bit touristy but very picturesque with a great church and model village

NT Bembridge Windmill

Ventnor Botanical Gardens

Quarr Abbey

Arreton Craft Centre - quaint with some lovely shops selling handmade goods - e.g. glass and pottery plus an old church.

Butterfly World

Brading Roman Villa

Appurdulcombe Owl and Falconry Centre

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Lavender Farm

Brighstone and Calbourne (Winkle Street) are pretty villages - good churches although haven't yet been to the one in Calbourne

If it rains, apart from the Dinosaur Museums, the Waltzing Waters near Ryde is great - a 40 minute fountain and water show set to music.

I am sure you have all seen more than enough of the island for now but if you are interested just click on Isle of Wight (under labels) - for some reason there are two but both have posts - you may have to whizz through latest posts first but there are posts on 3 other holidays over there which include visits to Osborne and Carisbrook. Otherwise there may be a label for a particular location.

Reference: Guide book to St James's Church, Yarmouth

*D - photos taken by D with the Canon SX50

One thing we did consider a lot while on holiday was the idea we have had for many years of moving there permanently. I think we are all agreed that we would like to although it is doubtful if it will be this year and there are many considerations to take into account.