Wight, The Isle of, is separated from Hampshire by the Solent (q.v.) and Spithead (q.v.). Its extreme length, E. to W., is 23 miles, and its extreme breadth, 13 miles. The area is 145 sq. m., or 92,931 acres. A bold range of chalk downs runs somewhat irregularly the entire length of the island, terminating on the west in the Needles (q.v.), and breaking off on the east at Culver and Bembridge. These downs at several points reach from 500 to 700 feet; but they are excelled in altitude by the high land on the extreme south or 'back' of the island, where St Boniface Down above Ventnor attains 787 feet. This is the highest point of the isle, though St Catharine's Beacon to the westward is only 6 feet less. The more elevated ground being thus on the south, the chief streams flow to the north, and three of them traverse nearly the whole breadth - the eastern Yar, the Medina, and the western Yar. The streams which flow southward are short, but they play an important part in the formation of 'chines,' narrow ravines worn through the soft rocks. Wight has long been in repute for the mildness of its climate, its fertility, and its picturesqueness, which have rendered it a most favourite resort. There are yet traces oh the downs, in barrows and cairns, of the earlier inhabitants of the island, but its history really begins with its conquest by Vespasian as Insula Vectis. There is ample evidence that the island was well appreciated by the Romans, whose chief stations were probably at Carisbrooke (q.v.) and Brading (q.v.). Cerdic is said to have reduced the island in 530; but it did not fall definitely under Saxon rule until later. After the Norman Conquest it was given to William Fitzosborne, but was forfeited by his son, and passed to the Redvers family, who thence took the title of ' lords of the isle,' and held it till 1292, when it passed to the crown. There are several government establishments, as at Parkhurst, and sundry forts connected with the defences of Portsmouth and Spit-head. Before 1832 Wight returned six members, two apiece for Newport, Yarmouth, and uninhabited Newtown. Now it has no parliamentary borough, and one member for the island only; but it has become an administrative county under the County Councils Act, 1888. Pop. (1851) 50,324; (1881) 73,633; (1901) 82,387. The towns are Ryde, Newport, East and West Cowes, Ventnor, St Helens, Sandown, and Shanklin. See works by Worsley (1781), Englefield (1816), Adams (1856), Stone (1891), and Shore (1892).