The Isle of Wight has a long and distinguished history in the world of bowls.
As far as we know bowls was played by William Shakespeare in about 1550 with his good friend the Earl of Southampton on their regular visits to the Island. They played on Arreton Down.
The second dignitary to play bowls on the Island was King Charles 1, who, during his incarceration in Carisbrooke Castle between 1643 – 48, ordered a bowling green to be laid for him. This was done very quickly and he played regularly with the Governor of the Castle. The site of this green can still be seen – it is now the area in which Jousting Displays are seen during the summer months.
Coming more up to date, the men’s County Bowling Association was formed on the Island in 1921. Sir Godfrey Baring, Bt.,DL., JP was the founding President, holding the post until 1927.
In 1970, the women bowlers of the Isle of Wight formed their own Association. The two associations worked side by side for the next 39 years. During this time the men have had two National Presidents – Tom Blake of Newport BC in 1981 and Ian Morrill of Ryde Marina BC in 2004. The Women have had one National president, Ann Sothcott of Bembridge BC, in 1996.
Bringing us right up to date, the Men’s and Women’s County Associations have now unified to form Bowls Isle of Wight. This follows on from the unification of the two National Associations.