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​​About the Minster​​

​​​For information about the parish please see the Parish Notice Board page

​​​Sts Thomas – ​​

           Newport Minster

Two Thomas's.jpgThere has been a church at the heart of Newport for well over 800 years and it has always been dedicated to St Thomas, though the choice of which St Thomas has changed over that time.

We believe our church first gained its name around 1175, when a new chapel was dedicated to St Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered in 1170 and then declared a saint by Pope Alexander III in 1173. However, when King Henry VIII dissolved the old monastic orders during the reformation, Thomas Becket was declared a traitor and our sensible parishoners switched to one more popular with the Tudor King: Thomas the Apostle or Doubting Thomas. An apostle of Christ, he is also known as Didymus, the Twin and the Apostle of India. 

So, which Thomas to choose? When the church was rebuilt in 1854 Prince Albert laid a foundation stone that dedicated the church jointly to both saints and we now have a Minster that proudly goes by the name Sts Thomas.

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​​The Functions of the Minster​​​

Sts Thomas was dedicated a Minster at Easter 2008. It is an honourary title to reflect its important role in Island and civic life and signifies service not status.

The Corporation pews in our church mark the spot where the annual elections of the Newport Borough bailiffs were held from the time of its Royal Charter. They are still used by Isle of Wight Councillors. ​


Princess Elizabeth​​

Princess Elizabeth.jpg
Princess Elizabeth was the daughter of King Charles I. She died, aged 14, as a prisoner in Carisbrooke Castle and is buried in Newport Minster. For more details about her see the Royal Links page.
​​​Sir Edward Horsey​​
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Sir Edward Horsey was a rogue and a rebel, but a staunch supporter of the Crown. In short a great Elizabethan Islander!

Captain of the Isle of Wight from 1565, Horsey is a fascinating character of English history and a courtier involved in the intrigues of the Tudor Court. A conspirator in the Throckmorton Plot under the Catholic monarch Queen Mary I, he managed to escape the fate of other plotters and became an outlaw, exiled to France. Here he met Robert Dudley, later Earl of Leicester and the long time favourite of King Henry VIII's daughter Queen Elizabeth I. They appear to have formed a lifelong friendship.

He stayed abroad when Queen Elizabeth I came to the throne but this was probably because he'd become a spy. He returned to England to report on hostile naval activities and pirates, becoming a useful soldier for Her Majesty. Formally pardoned for his past, he supervised refurbishment of the defences of the Isle of Wight against the expected  invasion, which eventually became the Spanish Armada, and was given a knighthood in 1577 to add to other titles and offices. An ambassador, courtier, MP and JP, he was also Keeper of Carisbrooke, Steward of Crown Lands on the Island and a Commissioner for Piracy.

He lived at Great Haseley Manor, Arreton with a Mrs Dowsabell Mills about whom Sir John Oglander wrote: "nothinge stopped theyr maryadge, but that he had a wife alive in Fraunce".

He is said to have introduced hares to the Island and enjoyed hunting and country pursuits until his death, apparently from a bout of plague, in 1583. His tomb is made of alabaster and marble, its canopy carrying the family crest.

​A jewelled ceremonial sword should be placed in the scabbard on his tomb and a photograph of it is shown nearby. It is old and thought to have been an heirloom even when Sir Edward was alive, but its value currently prevents us leaving it on this magnificent memorial.