Dominating the hilltop south of Newport, this castle was the major defensive position on the Isle of Wight for more than 600 years. The Castle was built on the remains of the 7th century Saxon settlement and the timber fort that occupied the site in the late 11th century, the curtain wall and keep were built after 1101. Carisbrooke Castle as we know it today has existed since the early 12th century when the de Redvers family were granted the Island, with its keep and battlements making it important in the defence of medieval England.
Carisbrooke became enormously significant in the defence
of the realm. After the Spanish Armada passed alarmingly close in 1588, it
was suspected that the Spanish might attempt to seize the Island. In anticipation
of an invasion, the castle was transformed into an artillery fortress. The
well house and tread wheel, also being built at this time to enable the castle
to withhold a seize, being worked by prisoners, then Donkeys since the late
17th century.<br>More recently in 1647, Charles I was imprisoned here. He was
comfortably accommodated in the Constable's Lodging and a bowling green was
constructed for his recreation. Nevertheless, he made two attempts to escape
and was foiled only when he became wedged in the window's bars.