Newtown: a hall with no town

The exterior of Newtown Old Town Hall on a sunny day.

It's probable that an official building has existed on this site since the 13th century but it's thought that the existing Town Hall dates from 1699.

Expanding the Town Hall

 
In 1584, Elizabeth I granted Newtown the right of Parliamentary representation. Although elections were held from that point on, interest in politics increased in the late 17th century, probably influencing the decision to enlarge the Town Hall to its present size.
 

The rise and fall

 
The town of Newtown was created in medieval times but, due to competition from nearby Yarmouth and Newport, it never thrived and rapidly fell into decline - becoming the quiet backwater it is today.
 
It's hard to believe that this small corner of the Isle of Wight was represented by two Members of Parliament. A list of their names can be seen inside the Hall, including that of Canning. He was Foreign Secretary while he represented Newtown and later became Prime Minister.
 
As a result of the 1832 Reform Act, Newtown lost its right to elect MPs and the Town Hall gradually fell into ruin until it was saved in 1933 by the Ferguson Gang.