From early times, Brading ranked as an important Island port. The ancient name of Brerdynge, from which ‘Brading’ is derived, probably meant the people living by the ridge of the Downs and dates from at least 683.
The charter granted to Brading by Edward VI in 1548 makes reference to a previous charter granted by Edward I in 1285. The charter allowed the town to hold two annual fairs. In mediaeval times the town was governed by the Steward, Bailiffs and 13 Jurats, and returned two MPs to the Westminster Parliament.
The Old Port
Until the 16th century the port was active. Ships lay alongside at the quay behind the Bugle Inn in the High Street. Ships came into Brading Haven for shelter and for provisions, particularly water, which was of a high quality. The north-eastern part of the haven was closed off by an embankment completed in 1594, much of which is still present. Ships would then tie up at the far end of Quay Lane on the other side of the embankment.
Throughout the Middle Ages various attempts were made to drain off the rest of the harbour; for it had gradually become silted up and, except for the main channel of the river, was too shallow to be of any commercial use. Sir Hugh Myddleton, undertook this work; but the sea broke in and flooded the land once again. After others had also tried and failed, this reclamation was finally accomplished in 1881 by the building of a substantial embankment right across the harbour, with the building of the railway to Bembridge.
*Content Courtesy of Wikipedia.