Smuggling was a major occupation in
Brighstone during the 18th and 19th century with some smugglers rowing
across to France & the Channel Island in long boats. A barrel of
brandy still full was found in recent years down the road from Carrier
Stable when the building was being converted. Some stone/chalk
buildings have a small old square rig sailing ship designs carved into
them and some say that this was a symbol that these were safe houses to
store contraband. Many of these smugglers went on to be crew on the
first local lifeboats.
Brighstone is steeped in history with a
Norman church of over 800 years old with a rectory next to the
graveyard dating back to 1347. There are many fine thatches and stone
buildings in and around the village, North Street in the centre being a
Originally there were two public houses in
the centre of the village one is now the village hairdressers,
previously the 'Five Bells Inn' the second was called the 'New Inn'
till it was renamed 'The Three Bishops' as there has been three local
churchmen who have gone on to become bishops (Thomas Ken, Samuel
Wilberforce and George Moberely).
Bronze age burial mounds can be found on
the downs above Brighstone, the picture at the top of the home page was
taken just to the side of one of the mounds. The Romans also lived in
the shadow of the downs where the remains of a villa were found similar
to that found in Newport, only a 400 yards up our road on farm land
further up the road close to a spring, the stream from this runs
through a now converted mill house then flows past just 130m from
Carriers Stable. Skeletal remains were found in the building when
building stone was being removed for reuse back in the 19th century.
The erosion of the coast which is about a mile away by car is
continually revealing fossil remains hence the other name for the
island "Dinosaur Island" and these can be seen at the dinosaur museum
at Sandown. Many fossils can be seen on the beach some rocks are almost
completely made up of fossil shells, parts of the fossil forest can be
found on the beach mainly as small lumps of black rock, but the growth
rings found in the rock can be seen and many have crystals of 'fools
gold' (iron pyrites) attached.