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North Arreton

Mount Misery

Belmont Plantation and Copse

The first question one asks is, were is Mount Misery, the answer to that question is contained in the article below, so please read on, the mount was, and is perched on a hill that was rather bleak with very few trees and located on the north west edge of Fatting Park estate.

The name “Mount Misery’ [a name commonly applied to fields and poor unproductive areas] first appears on the ‘Andrews’ map of 1769, it was again shown on the ‘Mudge’ map of 1795 and 1843 tithe map. Wootton Common and Blakes Heath joined here, both sections at that time being in the Parish of Arreton, there were also a number of fields surrounding the ‘Mount’ with names indicating a poor productive record.

On the Mudge map of 1795, the nearest wood to the mount that we know today is Fattingpark Copse; it was thought to have been enclosed by one of the de-Lisle family circa 1535. It is also believed, but not proven, to have been planted as a copse in the 17th century by Dame Alice de Lisle. The other nearest woodland was Blackbush Copse, which is believed to have been near Claybrook. Trees first appeared on the mount soon after Queen Victoria bought the homestead in 1845/6, apparently she did not like bare hills.

Names given to fields in the area of the mount indicating unproductive land are Lower Thistle Piece, Thistle Piece, Upper Gravel Pit Ground and Lower Gravel Pit Ground. A dictionary of place and field names gives Misery as being fields with or without a homestead, that are unproductive and a hill that might be stony, steep and difficult to plough.

Queen Victoria sold Mount Misery in 1867 to Henry Pinnock of Castlehold, Carisbrooke, who may have made his money in the drapery trade, the present Belmont Farm is attributed to him and if there was a small homestead on the mount this has been replaced by a bungalow. Soon after purchasing Mount Misery, Henry Pinnock changed the name to Belmont, which translates into “Beautiful view”, and there are beautiful views of the River Medina, Newport and Carisbrooke from the higher sections of the estate.

The present trees were most likely planted by Pinnock to enhance the area between Belmont and Fattingpark Copse and on the 1843 tithe map were called Fourteen and Sixteen Acres. It can be reasonably be assumed that these trees were planted after the building of the Isle of Wight Central Railway which was built by Pinnock and two others directors [it is believed Pinnock was a junior director]. The Trains ran between Newport and Ryde [Editors note, part of the track bed is now a cycle path between Wootton and the old Whippingham Station].

Mount Misery was originally part of the Alverstone Estate which dates back to 1349 and was held by the Clavell family who appear to have given part or the whole to Quarr Abbey in 1536, the estate remained with the family until the dissolution of the abbey in the same year. At that time the estate appears to have been managed by a person called Crees Wheeler who sold Alverstone to Sir James Worsley of Appuldurcombe in 1537/8. Alverstone remained with the Worsley family until Sir Leonard Thomas Worsley Holmes sold the estate [including Mount Misery] to Queen Victoria in 1845/6. Part of Alverstone called Inward Wood, was sold to Lord George Seymour who added it to Claybrooke.

A survey of the estate on behalf of the Worsley family was carried out by Anthony Bell prior to the sale to Queen Victoria and shows the field names were still the same as those mentioned in 1773. The survey lists Alverstone and indicates though the tenant farmer was industrious, but the farm was poorly managed and lacked stock. It went on to add that the soil could be improved with better farming methods, drainage and with crop rotation of turnips, barley and clover with some wheat. It also recommended that that the fields should be improved and chalk spread on every acre at a ratio of 15 loads per acre. The report also recommended the planting of hedgerows and the digging of ditches. The report went on to say that the property [including Mount Misery] would be valuable in an improved state, if improvements already outlined were carried out. This part of the estate being near Newport could be suitable for long lease and the erection of small villas.

It is possible that Pinnock built Belmont to compete with George Young model farm at Ashey. Young was the innovator of the Newport –Ryde Railway in 1873, and was the major investor in the scheme; he was bankrupt when he died. Pinnock who was also a director of the railway but had less financial involvement and did not suffer the same fate as Young. There was a rumour that Pinnock built Belmont as a lodge, adjacent to Whippingham station so that he could entertain his friends. The design is ‘U’ shaped with cottages on either side connected by farm buildings and stables. The station was used occasionally used by Queen Victoria, to travel to Osborne House; the road to Osborne ran across what are now fields to Osborne House. Editors note: - The route of this road can still be established by the gates containing logos at the bottom of Lushington Hill and the top gate in Brocks Copes Road.

Rumour has it that Ashey was built for Young’s own personal use, and he had grandiose plans to build a large village there, it is interesting to note that both Whippingham and Ashey are of the same design and are rather grand for their location, cost or expectations? It may be that Pinnock had ideas to develop the area as outlined in the report of Anthony Bell prior to the sale of the land to Queen Victoria. Pinnock though did build two houses in Fairlee Road, which have his initials on the side.

Whippingham Station was used by Queen Victoria, Princess Beatrice and Princess Sophia with a small entourage when they opened the new chest hospital at Ventnor in 1869.

Source: Information supplied by Gill Salter

This page was last edited on: 4th March, 2015 06:16:53

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