Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia

Isle of Wight

Roman: Vectis

The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island in England, located in the English Channel.

The island has been inhabited by Celts, Romans, Saxons, and Normans throughout its history. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the Isle of Wight was conquered by the Saxons Cerdic and Cynric in 530, which is within what many chroniclers identify as Arthur’s “reign”. The two Saxons gave the island to their cousins, Stuf and Wihtgar, in 534, they ruled till 541.

In the Alliterative Morte ArthureKing Valiant of Wales seems to control the island.

Isle of Wight | Prehistoric Period to the 9th century AD

Prehistoric Settlement
The Isle of Wight has evidence of human habitation dating back to the Mesolithic period (c. 8000 BC). Archaeological sites, including tools and artifacts, suggest that prehistoric communities lived on the island.

Neolithic and Bronze Age
During the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods, the Isle of Wight continued to be inhabited. Megalithic structures, such as burial mounds and long barrows, have been discovered on the island, indicating ceremonial practices during this time.

Iron Age
The Iron Age saw the construction of hillforts on the Isle of Wight, including sites like Brading Roman Villa. These fortified structures suggest that the island was strategically important and may have been a focus of regional trade.

Roman and Post-Roman Periods
The Romans had an awareness of the Isle of Wight, and it is mentioned in Roman literature. Archaeological excavations and findins on the Isle of Wight have uncovered Roman artifacts and evidence of Roman settlements. At the site of Carisbrooke Castle, built by the Normans, has a ruined wall which suggests a Roman building.

Following the withdrawal of Roman forces from Britain in the early fifth century, the island, like other parts of Britain, entered a period of transition. It is believed that the island was inhabited by Romano-British communities, but the historical record from this period is limited.

Early Medieval Period and Anglo-Saxon Influence
The early medieval period on the Isle of Wight is marked by the transition from Roman Britain to the Anglo-Saxon era. The island likely experienced influences from both Celtic and Anglo-Saxon cultures during this period.

The Anglo-Saxons, who were migrating and settling in various parts of England, likely had an impact on the Isle of Wight. Place names and archaeological evidence indicate Anglo-Saxon presence, though specific details are not well-documented. The island was likely integrated into the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex, which eventually became part of the unified Kingdom of England.

Viking Raids | 8th – 11th centuries
The late eighth to eleventh centuries saw Viking raids and incursions across the British Isles. While the Isle of Wight is not known for significant Viking activity, the broader region experienced Norse influence during this time.

The spread of Christianity to the Isle of Wight likely occured during the early medieval period. Christian missionaries, including those associated with Saint Augustine’s mission to convert the Anglo-Saxons, played a role in the Christianization of the region.