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Records show that over the next few hundred years however, the monks of Cerne fiercely guarded their right to keep any items washed ashore from shipwrecks.
The first Brownsea Castle was one of a string of similar 'block' forts designed to defend the south coast of England against invasion from Europe.By 1576, Brownsea Castle had fallen into ruin and Queen Elizabeth I granted it to one of her court favourites, Christopher Hatton.He promoted Sir Francis Drake's voyage round the world and later became Lord Chancellor.During the English Civil War, 1642-51, Poole sided with Parliament and garrisoned a strongly fortified Brownsea Castle throughout.'I had no idea I had such a delightful spot in my kingdom'...So exclaimed the Prince Regent after a trip to Brownsea Island in 1818.
For such a little island, it has had a remarkably varied history: military stronghold, industrial site, refuge for wildlife and Edwardian society.
It has also been pillaged by Viking raiders and blitzed by Nazi bombers.
The earliest remnants of human activity are two sections of a 33ft-long log boat, which was recovered just off Brownsea Island by a dredger in 1964.
Carbon-dating revealed that it had been preserved by the marine silts for almost three thousand years. The Romans later settled small communities around Poole Harbour, which developed into larger villages and ports under the Anglo-Saxons.
In the 9th-century AD, Viking raiding parties attacked the area until King Alfred's naval fleet drove the Danish ships away in 876.
The Domesday Book of 1086 makes no reference to Brownsea Island, which suggests that there was little of value on the island after the Norman Conquest.