The History of Great East Standen Manor

History of Great East Standen Manor

The main Living area of the cottage

There has been a house on the site of Great East Standen Manor since 1280 when it was owned by Thomas d’Evercy. This is mentioned in the Royal Survey of the Isle of Wight 1559/1560 which was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth needed to know how many fighting men were available on the Island and how much money landowners could raise to finance a war.

The most published information is of Cecily, the daughter of Edward IV, sister of Elizabeth, the wife of Henry VII and also the sister of King Richard III. Cecily’s first husband Lord Wells died of pleurisy in 1498 leaving her with two small daughters, both of whom died young. Cecily married her second husband Richard Kime or Kine in 1502 and came to live on the Island. This was probably at the behest of her brother, Richard III, who systematically eliminated all those who stood between him and the throne.

Although Cecily was the only royal person to live at Great East Standen she was followed almost 100 years later by another interesting figure. This was Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton who in 1603 became Captain of the Isle of Wight. Henry was very popular among the gentry and he constructed a bowling green and a ‘house of accommodation’ for twice weekly meetings on St. George’s Down. Up to 40 knights and gentlemen would meet for lunch and to play bowls or cards.

More interestingly was Henry’s friendship with William Shakespeare. Shakespeare dedicated to him both Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. It is thought, although not proven, that Shakespeare visited the Island as mention in sonnets is made of landmarks of the Island such as the Medina river and various sites around Great East Standen Manor.