Women's Institute Isle of Wight Village Book


Newbridge (Newbrygge in 1378) is arbitrarily divided by the Caulbourne. Although most of the 200 or so inhabitants are in Shalfleet parish, four houses, including Lower Mill, are in Calbourne parish.

In 1830 Newbridge was described as a village the inhabitants of which "are but little removed from the vilest of the vile; that gin was to be bought in every house; that scarcely a virtuous person lived in the place". This was according to the Rev. Woolcock in his book on the "History of the Bible Christians" published in 1897. Today there is not even a public house.

The mill consists of a compact group of stone and brick buildings with a walled mill pond. Mentioned in documents of the 18th century, it is believed to date from a much earlier period. Originally with an overshot water-wheel, a turbine diesel was later installed, supplementing the power in times of drought. In 1874 the mill was bought by the Whillier family, who moved all their goods and equipment from Portsmouth in a barge, landing at Shalfleet Quay and travelling on by cart. The Whilliers were millers, farmers and bakers. Bread was baked in the original oven of the type in which faggots were burned, and then the ash scraped out before the tins of dough were put in to bake, using the long-handled wooden shovels called Peels, which are still preserved. In 1967 the mill was closed, but reopened in 1973 to grind stoneground flour, mainly from Island wheat. Both flour and ready-prepared dough are sold under the name of "Miller's Damsel Enterprises Ltd". The name refers to the noisiest part of a water-mill, which is often a rotating rod with three flanges which tap a sloping tray feeding the grain into the millstones, thus ensuring an even flow. It is known as "Miller's Damsel" because it has three chattering tongues! Until about 1830 beer was also brewed at the mill. The brewhouse has recently been used as a ballet school.

The village has thirteen well-preserved thatched stone cottages, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Normans is believed to be connected with a water-mill which stood nearby on the Caulbourne. The mill-pond now lies under tons of rubbish, just to the south of the house.

Eades Farm on the southern outskirts of the village is recorded as Edes, Eades and Edys. John Edes in 1597 and Lawrence Edes in 1607 lived there. In the 1960s when modernisation took place coins of the early 1700s were found in the walls.

The only large house of note, Dodpits House, is partly 18th century with later additions and is now being restored. The west wing is reputed to be haunted, and the ghost of a bearded man wearing a cloak is said to have been seen hanging at the Dodpits cross-roads.

In 1858 Mr. William Way had an Infants' School built at Spring Hill; in 1908 it became the Working Men's Club. The first chapel was that of the Bible Christians, built in 1836, and still used for worship by the Methodist Congregation. In 1856 the Primitive Methodists put up a chapel, which today is the Mission Church, with Church of England services held once a month by the Vicar of Shalfleet. The Salvation Army barracks, 1892, is now a bungalow.

Early in the 19th century malthouses were erected, but it is doubtful if any brewing was done, and in 1860 the buildings were converted by the Good family (then the owners) into cottages, which were pulled down in 1954. Now only the name is preserved in bungalows called Malthouse Green.

From 1844 the forge was next to the Infants' School, and later a carpenter's and undertaker's shop was added. In the 1960s these were replaced by Westway bungalows, in front of which the trough from the forge is preserved, filled with flowers.

From 1905 to 1929 Dowty's Brickyard was working on a site on the northern edge of the village. Its tall chimney was demolished when war was imminent, as being too clear a landmark for enemy planes. Now all that remains are two large overgrown ponds where the clay was dug.

Quarry Lane gets its name from the stone quarries on the north side of the road. The stone, being rather soft, was unsatisfactory for building, but more suitable for road repairs. Some work continued after the war, but the quarries have since been filled in.



Isand Crest