Wight Life


Drawn and written by A W R Caws

The White Lion, Arreton

Drawing of the White Lion, Arreton

IT IS MORE THAN LIKELY that whenever you drop in to 'The White Lion' you will meet someone you know, it's that sort of pub.

The cheerful friendly company and bright surroundings help to create the atmosphere one associates with all that is good in a traditional English village inn.

The feeling is enhanced by the variety of objects used to decorate the bars, including hunting horns, horse brasses, coach lanterns, riding crops and horseshoes, to name just a few in a gleaming array of brass, copper and leather articles, almost all connected in some way with the country scene.

Embellishing the outside of the premises are wagon wheels and farming implements painted black in striking contrast to the immaculate white walls.

While so many country inns have in recent years been 'tarted up' out of all recognition it is nice to know of one retaining it's true rural appearance and character.

Situated alongside the main Sandown to Newport road, towards the centre of the Island, it stands at the end of a short lane leading to the ancient Arreton church and the nearby old manor house, which has become a centre of attraction for countless visitors during the holiday season.

Drawing of the bar White Lion, Arreton

From the front of the premises a picturesque view of the countryside opens out across the fertile valley, noted for its horticultural produce, whilst in the distance, downs rise to the skyline.

There seems little doubt that this inn is over four hundred years old and in the lounge bar is a photograph taken, it is believed, around the turn of the century, showing the building with its original thatched roof, since replaced by slates. What is now the road appears here as a narrow rough country lane with high hedges at the sides. There are several other interesting old photos on the walls, including one showing a coach and pair of horses with a number of men standing outside the inn.

A variety of old prints are also to be seen,two entitled 'Pheasant Shooting' particularly catch the eye. There are two main bars with a smaller one at the rear, and a pleasant garden immediately behind the inn, is a favourite spot for a cool drink or a snack on a warm summer day. If you are really hungry try a plate of bread, cheese and pickled onions, a veritable ploughman's 'Nammit' and certainly to be recommended. 'The White Lion' was, for a period after the last war, kept bythe author John Newton Chance, and more recently, it has for a number of years been run by Mr and Mrs Jeffries. The present popularity of the place owes much to their cheerful welcome and friendly manner which immediately makes the visitor feel at home.

'NAMMIT'; old Isle of Wight expression meaning lunch.