Norfolk Navy Homes - Serving Navy Families on the Move
Home > Hampton Roads Community Info > Isle of Wight County

Isle of Wight County

During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the settlement at Jamestown in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas across the James River. In the next few years, several plantations were established along the shore in the area south of the river.

By 1634, the Virginia Colony consisted of eight shires or counties. One of these was Warrosquyoake Shire, renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637, after the island in the English Channel of the same name. The name was probably changed due to the difficulty of spelling and pronouncing its Native American name and because the Isle of Wight had been the home of some of the principal colonists.

Isle of Wight County is one of the oldest county governments in the United States of America. Isle of Wight's residents enjoy the rural nature of the County coupled with the quaint atmosphere of the two incorporated Towns, Smithfield and Windsor.

Smithfield's greatest economic asset has been the well-known and nationally respected meat packing industry. Smithfield Foods, Inc. is the largest hog producer and pork producer in the world with companies located throughout the U.S.and Canada, in France, Poland, Japan and elsewhere. Smithfield is known as the ham capitol of the world!

Just to the south of the city is historic Saint Luke's Church, circa 1632. It is the oldest existing church of English foundation in America and is this country's only surviving original brick Gothic church. It also houses the nation's oldest, intact organ.

Smithfield offers residents a small-town atmosphere, a good school system, affordable housing, a historic downtown, and a new state-of-the-art community/conference center - The Smithfield Center. According to the Virginia Review, Smithfield is "without a doubt, one of the prettiest towns in Virginia."