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that give importance to Osborne, but it is its royal possessor, although there are several things in connection with Osborne and its neighbourhood which are of sufficient interest to justify narration.
Its most ancient possessor's name of whom we find any mention, was Bowerman, from whom it descended through various other possessors to one Eustace Man, in the fifth year of King Charles the First. Tradition reports that he buried some valuable property, consisting largely of money and plate, in a wood on the manor, during the turbulent reign of that king, and that on searching for it again it could not be found. The place where it was supposed to be hid still retains the name of “money coppice.”
By marriage it descended to the family of Blachford, who built the mansion which has been removed for the present structure. From Lady Blachford it was purchased by her Majesty, with Barton Farm, and a great tract of land adjoin. ing, so that her Majesty is a great Island landowner, Osborne park and wood alone containing about three hundred and fortysix acres.
Near the boundaries of Barton, and but a pleasant walk from Osborne, along the shore, is a place called “ King's Quay," which took its name from the following historical fact :
After King John had been compelled by his barons to sign what is called the great bulwark of English liberty, “ Magna Charta," or the great charter, at Runnymead, of which he afterwards repented ; and while he was corresponding with the Pope, who was then considered, even in England, as one who could relieve from the obligation of an oath—while, I say, he
was thus awaiting the Pope's permission to break his oath, he retreated for security to the Island, and is supposed to have resided in this neighbourhood, because the then lord of the Island was in league with the barons, so that he feared to venture far into the Island. As the country was open to the water on all sides, and on account of a good landing place here, it is probable that he could not then have chosen a more eligible situation. Most likely he had reasons to believe that his designs might be discovered, or at least suspected, so that during his three months' residence here, he had little conversation but with fishermen and sailors, as but few domestics attended him.
From King John let us now return to Queen Victoria, or to the place in which she resides for several months out of the twelve.
Osborne is beautifully situated in the neighbourhood of East Cowes, one of the best points of the Island. The buildings are placed in a fine park well stocked with noble timber, and adjoining the grounds of Norris Castle, the residence of her Majesty, when Princess Victoria, and her mother the Duchess of Kent, in their lengthened visit to the Island during the summer of 1831, which visit will be long remembered by those of us who were then children in the different schools in Newport, on account of the wine, cake, and holiday we all bad, at the expense and desire of the Princess.
Very little of the mansion is seen from the high road, but in sailing along the coast it appears in all its proportions, seated at the head of an ample lawn which slopes gently to a valley open to the sea-(see engraving, p. 9.) The whole park, strictly private, extends down to the sea, with good landing
places. The views from it are as extensive as they can be from the northern part of the Island. Spithead, with its fleet of shipping, has a noble appearance from it, so has the Southampton Water, with its commercial restlessness; and now that a lofty tower peers its head above the other buildings of Osborne, the greater part of the island is added to its scenery. :
On Monday, March, 18, 1844, Prince Albert left Clermont on an inspecting visit to Osborne estate, previous to the occupancy of it. It was a high day for Cowes, and many were the welcomes he received from the multitudes who were there to receive him. The result of this visit was favourable to a trial, and her Majesty became the lessee for a year, subject to her will and pleasure at its termination to become the purchaser ; and in the month of October her Majesty and her Royal Family paid their first visit to Osborne.
Their visit was unaccompanied by the pomp and circumstance usually attendant on royal visits, but was still a scene of extreme interest. She landed at the public Quay at East Cowes, in the midst of her island subjects, without either soldier or guard, a high compliment to our loyalty and affec. tion for her.
Her Majesty remained about a week, and in her rambles along the high road, frequently met and conversed with persons whom she recognised as having seen during her stay at Norris in 1831.
And here I must mention a little incident connected with her Majesty's first visit. As her Majesty and the Prince were taking their accustomed walk about nine o'clock one Saturday morning at Cowes, they were caught in a heavy shower of rain at a very unsheltered part of the hill commanding a view of the sea. Her Majesty and the Prince hastened their steps homeward, when the old postman of East Cowes and Whippingham, who had just been performing his morning rounds, observing that a lady and gentleman were rather disagreeably exposed to the storm, and running after them as fast as he could, tendered his old gingam umbrella, which was graciously accepted, and he was invited to follow their footsteps to Osborne House. Little did the poor postman imagine at the time that it was to his royal mistress he had thus the honour of affording such seasonable shelter ; but on his arrival at the portico he was agreeably awakened to the fact, by having given to him her Majesty's thanks, and a five-pound note, together with his old umbrella
On the 29th of March, 1845. Her Majesty paid another visit to Osborne, when, in view of becoming the purchaser, which she did in the following May, several alterations and additions were decided upon, and Mr. Thomas Cubitt, the eminent builder, received her Majesty's commands to prepare the necessary designs for a commodious mansion.
The several plans being approved by her Majesty, the 23rd of the following June was signalized by the foundationstone of the new building being laid by her Majesty, in the presence of most of her family, and several gentlemen of the royal suit.
During the progress of these buildings, the old Osborne House was honoured with the presence of several of her Majesty's illustrious visitors. The Kings of Holland and Belgium were domiciled under its roof; and at one period it was honoured with the presence of three Queens-Her Majesty—the Queen Dowager—and the Queen of the Belgians ; and no doubt but the want of accommodation was then so severely felt that the intended improvements were urged on as fast as possible.
In the next year her Majesty took possession of that part of the building known as the “Pavilion,” from which ascends the massive tower, where the royal standard, during her Majesty's stay, gaily floats in the breeze,
The old mansion was next removed, and hundreds of workmen were busily engaged in completing the design of Osborne Palace, which was done in unison with the Pavilion ; and now, when viewed as a whole, has a rich and beautiful as well as an exceedingly comfortable appearance. A new lodge has also been built at the present entrance from the high road, the grand entrance not being as yet commenced.
The Pavilion, which was built for the especial accommodation of her Majesty, forms nearly a square of eighty feet. At the south west corner rises the tower, to the height of one hundred and seven feet. The main building is about sixty feet high, built of brick and cement, and stuccoed só as to give it the appearance of a stone erection. Every room is fire-proof, and very little timber was employed in the construction. The grand entrance is at the west front under a handsome portico.
The Pavilion tower contains several apartments, the upper one having three windows on eath face, forming a delightful observatory, where superb views of Hampshire and the Island are obtained. Corridors, covered and open, connect the Pavilion with the other building, thus affording easy access between them, and breaking with good effect their general