The earliest human inhabitants

8,000BC onwards

What is now the coastline of Brook was once a river valley within a large land mass. The flint tools used by our Mesolithic forbears (7-8,000 B.C.) are often found around the coastline and in the Brook area. They reveal a fertile land and an industrious population. People were highly mobile and moved around large areas, stretching out where now there is nothing but sea.

As sea levels rose during the Mesolithic period the Island was formed and cut off from what is now known as the ‘mainland’. From then on an important and enduring factor in Brook’s history developed – its close relationship with the sea.

Settlements, as we know them, only began in the Bronze Age around 2,500 B.C. Over the following centuries there appears to have been a process of harmonious integration of successive ‘incomers’.

The archaeological remains found locally have been predominantly tools, coins and jewellery rather than defensive weapons. It is only during the Neolithic period, about 5,600 years ago, that we find the first evidence of land clearance and farming. Small areas were cleared and crops grown, although Brook inhabitants probably still relied on hunting, fishing and gathering of wild food such as fruits and shellfish for much of their diet.

The Longstone dates from this time and is probably the oldest man-made monument on the Island.  Standing on a ledge at the foot of the downs above Mottistone it is thought to be the stones that guarded the entrance to a long barrow, a communal tomb. Later, in Anglo-Saxon times the Longstone was used as a ‘Moot place’where the lords of the manor held court hearings.