The chines were favoured by smugglers, with infrequent surveillance, safe sandy beaches and the chines themselves providing a secluded route inland. But the waters were treacherous, with fierce south-westerlies pushing boats onto hidden hull-pulverising rocks. But the captains of these vessels were skilled, often needing all of their wit to not only deliver the cargo but also out-sail the authorities.
When rule from the mainland came in the thirteenth century the people of the Isle of Wight resented it. Smuggling was and always had been seen as a local right. Everyone played their part with many fortunes made from this illegal trade. Indeed the financial backers of this business were the moneyed people of the Island such as the squires,wealthy farmers and estate owners.
Smuggling was an organised business. A leader would be appointed, finance raised, a boat hired with crew, a shore gang hired and contact made with a French merchant. The boat would sail to France, a deal would be struck, the cargo loaded and then sailed back to the Island. This was then landed, distributed to the dealers and then it was eventually sold on to the various customers who had ordered it.
There were also many ingenious hiding places for the contraband once it was ashore such as fake hayricks, underground cellars, caves in the cliffs, tombs in local churchyards and reportedly Mottistone Manor provided a huge loft for storage.