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Fisshehous

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Fishhouse

In the civil parish of Ryde.
In the historic county of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Modern Authority of Isle of Wight.
1974 county of Isle of Wight.
Medieval County of Hampshire, Isle of Wight.

OS Map Grid Reference: SZ557931
Latitude 50.73372° Longitude -1.21353°

Fisshehous has been described as a probable Artillery Fort, and also as a Uncertain although is doubtful that it was such.

There are no visible remains.

Description

The licence grant to the abbot of Quarr Abbey in 1365 specifically mentioned Fisshehous as a place to be fortified, along with other unnamed places. These fortifications called "castra vel fortalicia" castles and fortalices in the licence must, presumably, have been some form of early artillery coastal defence Fishhouse was clearly one site for a fortalice, others may have been Gurnard, Quarr, Hamstead and Elmsworth although coastal erosion has probably destroyed any traces. These works caused concerns amongst some local people, presumably because of the potential interference with smuggling.

Licence for William, abbot of Quarr, in the Isle of Wight, and the convent of the same place, in the lifetime of the said William, to enclose with a wall and crenellate as many plots of land and of such precinct as they please on their own soil in the island, as well in the place called "Fisshehous" on the coast as elsewhere where it shall be expedient, and make castles or fortalices of these. (C 66/272 Part 2, 39 Edw. III; Calendar of Patent Rolls (1364-67) p. 168.)
40 Edward III 12 June 1366 Westminster. Whereas the King lately granted licence for William, abbot, and the convent of Quarr in the Isle of Wight to enclose and crenellate divers plots of land on their own soil and castles or fortalices thereon in a place called Fisshehous on the sea coast and elsewhere on the island; he has now learned on the abbot's behalf that, whereas he has caused certain fortalices to be constructed at Fisshehous and at the abbot's mill and elsewhere on the island by virtue of the said licence, certain men of those parts are scheming to hinder those works and often set themselves to lay low and destroy the works begun by the abbot at his mill, the King has therefore taken the abbot, monks and fellow brethren, and the workmen and works of the abbey into his special protection, and has appointed Richard de Pembrugg and Theobald de Gorges, and deputies whom at the request of the abbot they shall appoint to survey the works, maintain and defend the abbot, monks and workmen and works, and arrest all contrariants during pleasure. (C 66/273 Part 1, 40 Edw III; Calendar of Patent Rolls (1364-67) p. 253.)
43 Edward III 23 January 1369 Westminster. Commission to the abbott of Quarr, John de Insula, knight, Theobald de Gorges, Thomas Langeford and John Fitz Eustace, constable of the castle of Carresbrok in the Isle of Wight, ... to guard the said island, array and try all defensible men thereof, ...and make proclamation that ... all places by the sea in the said island where ships can put in be made secure against incursions of the enemy and be fortified and strengthened with walls and dykes; and to arrest all contrariants and to commit them to prison until further order. By King and Council. (Calendar of Patent Rolls (1367-70) p. 189.)

The monks also appeared to have fortified a coastal warehouse at nearby Fishbourne (Page ed 1912, 151, Stone 1891 Vol. 1, 32). (Basford 2006 p. 13)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1365 Oct 24 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

Comments

The suggestion this was a fortified warehouse is interesting and may well be correct but is unsupported by the historical evidence. The lack of remains for all these sites may suggest that the fortifications were not particularly strong and perhaps mainly earthworks. However they were coastal sites and coastal erosion may be the reason for the lack of remains. The Fisshehous site is likely to have been on the south side of the mouth of the Wooton Creek.
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This record last updated before 1 February 2016

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