|Can you imagine an old
medieval seaport with tall masted ships towering above the quayside the
bustling quays, sailors singin shanties and dancing hornpipes and the
general hustle and bustle of days gone by then could be Newtown, despite
the name it is the oldest town on the island, but hang on this is a
hamlet not a town! Years ago though it was and a reminder of this is the
old Town Hall of Franchvill as it then known. Franchville means free
town and it was the main port and town on the island.
Most of the original streets though are now covered with grass, the main attraction here now is the lovely creek that is hand shaped with five inlets, and has a lovely walk across the meadows and a long wood bridge to the wall in the centre of the harbour, the nature reserve is another attraction and there are hides erected to provide viewing places.
The Free town meant that it was free from all obligations of service to the Lord of the Manor and the origin of the borough is lost but it was from Before Richard I or before 1189. The borough was attacked by the Danes in 1001 and Sweyne the lead of them settle inland gave Swainston its name, and like most of the south of England at this time it was often attacked by French forces though most of these raids were repelled. It is said that the name of Newtown came about after the sacking by these French forces and a new town was built though this has never been proved.
Newtown is mostly under the care of the National Trust today and much of its history has been preserved for posterity in the old Town Hall. There are hardly any signs left of the old houses as most would have been made of wood and burnt by the French but the original street names are still in use.
The old saltings became derelict due to sea salt not being used as much and soon the land became valuable grazing ground and teh 130 acre Marsh though below sea level was protected by a sea wall on the east, west and north sides, which later was reinforced but a violent storm in November of 1954 caused the sea wall to be breached.