The Lady of the Wight: The life of Isabella de Fortibus. : The thirteenth century ruler of the Isle of Wight


Begun by local historian Johanna Jones, finished by her friend Penny Keevil and illustrated by Lin Watterson, this is the first book to be dedicated solely to the life of Isabella Di Fortibus the 13th Century ruler and last private owner of the Isle of Wight.

Making her home at Carisbrooke Castle she fended off various suitors thus protecting her own independence and that of the Island, finally signing over her lands to the crown on her deathbed.


Johanna was researching Isabella de Fortibus for one of her much enjoyed lectures back in 2015. She could not find a complete work about the life of the Lady of the Wight. We told her ‘You will have to write one yourself’ and so began years of enjoyable research for Johanna.

Eventually Johanna was not able to continue. She and I had worked together for many years at Carisbrooke Church Shop in Newport, and I had read several of the completed chapters. I took it over!
Penny Keevil.

Brought up in the Cathedral City of Wells, I had lived alongside the heart of the mediaeval city and had attended Sunday School at the Cathedral. I accessed many places not open to the general public and developed a love of them all.

Johanna has provided me with immense pleasure with her lectures and study days on local buildings over many of my 52 years living on the Island. Such topics, as Island Houses; her research on Isabella, the Lady of the Wight; the history of Carisbrooke Castle and her research on the local House of Industry, which relates to my own family history and research on the Workhouse System.

Her study days at the Castle given by the Museum have been a joy filling me with her enthusiasm and ability to bring the past vividly to life for us. I am delighted to be able to be given this brilliant book a chance to be widely read.
Lin Watterson