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Bonchurch is an intriguing small Isle of Wight village east of Ventnor, and one of the oldest settlements on the Island, with prehistoric and Roman roots. It is situated on a stable former landslip, with small steep, wooded, hills, stepped paths and attractive Victorian houses. The alluring village pond is fed by a spring, which is believed to have been the reason for the original settlement. It is known for the old church of St Boniface, who traditionally preached nearby in the 8th century, and was mentioned in the Domesday Survey as ‘Bonecerce’. The Battle of Bonchurch was fought in July 1545 when 500 French soldiers landed as part of a French invasion and were decisively beaten by the local Isle of Wight militia. In the 19th century, Bonchurch became a fashionable place, welcoming such visitors as Charles Dickens, Thomas Carlyle and Thomas Macaulay. The poet Algernon Charles Swinburne spent his boyhood in the village, at East Dene house, and is buried in the churchyard of St Boniface New Church.
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