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The Isle of Wight branch of the Campaign for Real Ale

The Walmer Castle

by Ray Scarfe

Walmer CastleThis is the story of an old Ventnor pub which many of you may never have heard about. It's a mystery pub with an unusual sign and two strange names, one official, the other a local pet name. The pub named The Walmer Castle closed many years ago but still exists as a private house on the corner of West Street and South Street.

For many years this fine Burts pub sported a double sided sign painted by a local sign artist D Stephenson, from Sandown. The sign shows an old Kentish lugger from the port of Deal. The boat on the sign was also named The Walmer Castle and sank in Horseshoe Bay, Bonchurch, IOW on 15 March 1892 with the sad loss of all six members of its crew.

Walmer Castle Now the strange thing is that this pub was named The Walmer Castle 39 years before the boat shown on the sign sank. It looks as if the link to this Ventnor pub's name is the famous soldier

Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington who for 23 years held the post of Lord Warden of the Kentish Cinque Ports, his official residence was Walmer Castle. The Castle, currently a National Trust property, was built in 1540 as a massive artillery fortification in the town of Walmer near Dover, for King Henry VIII.

The Duke among his many well known achievements was also elected Newport's Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight in 1807. Our Walmer Castle pub was named in honour of him a year after he died in 1852. The Walmer Castle boat shown on the Burts sign sank 39 years later. The second well known but unofficial name of this pub was The Drum and Monkey. I have no idea why the locals used this unusual nickname it would be fun to find the answer.