'I had no idea I had such a delightful spot in my kingdom,' exclaimed the Prince Regent after a trip to Brownsea in 1818.
For a small island, it's had a remarkably varied history: military stronghold; industrial site; refuge for wildlife and Edwardian society. It has been pillaged by Viking raiders and blitzed by Nazi bombers.
People that shaped Brownsea
- William Benson known as 'Mad' Benson
- Sir Humphrey Sturte
- Colonel William Petrie Waugh and his wife Mary
- Hon George Cavendish-Bentinck
- Major Kenneth Balfour
- Van Raalte family
- Mrs Mary Bonham-Christie
People leave and wildlife flourishes
In 1927 Brownsea was sold to Mrs Mary Bonham-Christie for £125,000. She lived a very reclusive life. Most of the estate workers made a sad return to the mainland and the island gradually reverted back to nature.
Did you know?
- In the 9th century a hermit lived on the island
- A small salt and fishing community lived here in the medieval era
- Control of Brownsea passed from Cerne Abbey to Henry VIII
- In the 1870s the island was used as a model farm
- Daffodils were grown on the island and sent to Covent Garden
- During the 1920s there was an island community band