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Title: The Story of the East Riding of Yorkshire
Author: Browne, Horace Baker
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                          Transcriber’s Note:

This version of the text cannot represent certain typographical effects.
Italics are delimited with the ‘_’ character as _italic_. Bold and
blackletter fonts, used for inscriptions, are delimited with ‘=’.

Illustrations and maps are indicated as [Illustration: caption], and
have been positioned to fall between paragraphs. On several occasions,
the order of the illustrations is reversed, to better follow the text.

The footnotes, which were marked using the typical symbols (e.g.,
asterisks), have been numbered consecutively for uniqueness, and placed
following the paragraph where they appear. On several occasions (44.8,
48.10, 59.13, 259.59), a single footnote is referenced multiple times in
the text.

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please
see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding
the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.

                            THE STORY OF THE
                        EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE

                         _A COMPANION VOLUME._

             _304 Pages, Crown 8vo, with 56 Illustrations._
                      _Cloth Boards_, =1/8= _net_.

                           IN ENGLISH HISTORY


                         J. L. BROCKBANK, M.A.,


                             W. M. HOLMES.

   _A typical Press Opinion._—"We have nothing but praise for this
charming book. It has well been said that ‘to master thoroughly the
story of the city of York is to know practically the whole of English
history,’ and the authors of this new history have demonstrated the
truth of this opinion. No pains have been spared by the publishers to
give the letterpress a perfect setting; binding, paper, illustrations,
and general finish are alike admirable."


         LONDON: A. BROWN & SONS, Ltd., 5 Farringdon Av., E.C.
                         And at Hull and York.



                              THE STORY OF
                           THE EAST RIDING OF


                         HORACE B. BROWNE, M.A.

                     _WITH ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY


                          AND AT HULL AND YORK



                    PRINTED AT BROWNS’ SAVILE PRESS,

                                 TO THE
                             BOYS AND GIRLS
                    OF THE EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE,

                     ROLLING ONWARDS THE WHEELS OF
                       PROGRESS THAT HAVE BEEN IN
                         MOTION EVER SINCE THE
                           FIRST LIVING BEING
                               CAME INTO


  The author wishes herein to acknowledge his indebtedness:—

  (1) To the published works of local historians, and to the
publications of local learned societies, into all of which he has
delved, and from many of which he has ‘lifted’ such local records as it
served his purpose to use.

  (2) To MR. JOHN BICKERSTETH, of the East Riding County Council, for
valuable help in the chapter on _How the East Riding Governs Itself_,
and in the general planning of the book; to MR. JOHN SUDDABY, for much
information that is embodied in Chapters XXIV.-XXVII.; to the WARDENS OF
THE HULL TRINITY HOUSE, and MR. E. J. HESELTINE for extracts from the
records of the Trinity House; to MR. J. H. HIRST, Hull City Architect,
for the draft of the illustration on p. 167; and to MR. W. G. B. PAGE,
for revising the proofs of _The East Riding Roll of Honour_.

  (3) To COL. MARK SYKES, M.P., CANON GRIMSTON of Stillingfleet,
MORFITT of Atwick, the CURATOR of the Hull Museums, and others, for
permission to take photographs of objects in their possession.

  (4) To the EDITOR of the Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian
Society, the Hull Scientific Club, and the Hull Museum Publications, for
the loan of several blocks; to PROFESSOR COLLINGWOOD and the EDITOR of
the ‘Yorkshire Archæological Journal’ for the loan of blocks for the
illustrations on pp. 55, 63, 64; to MR. T. A. J. WADDINGTON of York, and
the EDITOR of the ‘Port of Hull Annual’ for that of the blocks used on
pp. 236 and 248; and to the HEAD-MASTERS and HEAD MISTRESSES of the East
Riding Schools for that of the blocks used in Chapter XXX.

  (5) To his friend, MR. E. HAWORTH EARLE, and to his colleagues, MR. C.
BAZELL and MR. J. V. PUGH, for reading the proofs of the entire book and
correcting many errors that would otherwise have escaped detection.

  (6) To his friend and old pupil, MR. C. W. MASON, for the great amount
of time and care which he has bestowed upon the taking of special

  (7) To the PUBLISHERS of the book, who have placed in his hands every
possible facility for enriching its pages with whatever illustrations
they thought would prove of interest, and who have thereby produced a
book which it is hoped will reach the high-water mark of excellence in
artistic production.




    CHAP.                                                          PAGE

       I. WHAT THE EAST RIDING IS                                     1

      II. HOW THE EAST RIDING WAS MADE                                3

     III. MEN OF THE STONE AGE                                        8



      VI. OUR ANCESTORS                                              40


    VIII. THE COMING OF THE NORTHMEN                                 56

      IX. IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 892                                65

       X. TWO FAMOUS BATTLES OF LONG AGO                             74

      XI. HOW THE NORMANS CAME TO YORKSHIRE                          85



     XIV. MONKS, NUNS, AND FRIARS                                   123

      XV. SAINT JOHN OF BEVERLEY AND HIS MINSTER                    135

     XVI. SANCTUARIES                                               145


   XVIII. LIFE IN A MEDIÆVAL TOWN                                   162

     XIX. THE TRADE UNIONS OF THE MIDDLE AGES                       179

            OF GRACE

     XXI. HOW THE GREAT CIVIL WAR BEGAN AT HULL                     202

    XXII. HOW HULL WAS TWICE BESIEGED                               212

   XXIII. SOME ANCIENT EAST RIDING FAMILIES                         223

    XXIV. STAGE COACH AND RAILWAY                                   238


    XXVI. FAMOUS SONS OF THE EAST RIDING                            269

   XXVII. SHIPS OF THE HUMBER                                       284

  XXVIII. FOLK-SPEECH OF THE EAST RIDING                            301

    XXIX. HOW THE EAST RIDING GOVERNS ITSELF                        311

     XXX. EAST RIDING SCHOOLS                                       321

    XXXI. THE EAST RIDING ROLL OF HONOUR                            344

                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


 THE PRIDE OF THE EAST RIDING                            _Frontispiece_

 THE THREE RIDINGS OF YORKSHIRE                                       2


 RELICS OF THE ICE AGE                                                6

 SKULL AND ANTLERS OF A RED DEER                                      7


 SECTION OF HOWE HILL, DUGGLEBY                                      12


 FLINT IMPLEMENT AND WEAPONS                                         15


 FOOD VESSEL FROM A BARROW ON ACKLAM WOLD                            17

 THE RUDSTONE MONOLITH                                               18


 BRONZE CELT OR AXE HEAD FOUND AT SWINE                              21

   OF THE SITE OF BURIAL                                             23

 BRITISH GOLD COIN FOUND AT ATWICK                                   24

   SLACK                                                             25

 A BRITISH WAR CHARIOT                                               26

 EARTHWORKS AT SKIPSEA BROUGH                                        28


 SECTION OF A ROMAN MILITARY HIGHWAY                                 31

 ROMAN ROADS AROUND THE HUMBER                                       35

 ROMAN PIG OF LEAD FOUND AT SOUTH CAVE                               36

 ROMAN ‘PENS’ FOUND AT BROUGH                                        36

 RELICS OF ROMAN FEASTS FOUND AT EASINGTON                           37

 A ‘SAFETY-PIN’ SIXTEEN HUNDRED YEARS OLD                            38





 GOODMANHAM CHURCH (From an Old Engraving)                           52



 DANISH CROSS HEAD AT NORTH FRODINGHAM                               63

   CHURCH                                                            64

 PLAN OF THE BATTLE OF STAMFORD BRIDGE                               81

 HOLDERNESS IN THE DOMESDAY BOOK                                     93

 A NORMAN FONT IN KIRKBURN CHURCH                                    96

 A PISCINA IN PATRINGTON CHURCH                                      97

   CHURCH, HULL                                                      99


 THE ‘BEVERLEY IMP’—ST. MARY’S CHURCH, BEVERLEY                     101

 DIFFERENT FORMS OF ARCHES                                          103

 ‘NORMAN’ AND ‘EARLY ENGLISH’ SOUTH DOORS                           105

   GARTON-ON-THE-WOLDS                                              106



 BRASS OF THOMAS TONGE, RECTOR OF BEEFORD                           110

 ARMS OF KINGSTON-UPON-HULL                                         111


 PHOTOGRAPH OF THE HULL CHARTER                                     113


 ARMS OF THE DE LA POLES                                            118


 SEAL OF EDMUND DE LA POLE                                          121

 PEDIGREE OF THE DE LA POLES                                        122

 ARMS OF BRIDLINGTON PRIORY                                         123

 A CISTERCIAN MONK                                                  124

 A BENEDICTINE NUN                                                  125

 PLAN OF THE CISTERCIAN ABBEY OF KIRKSTALL                          127

 THE PRIORY CHURCH, BRIDLINGTON                                     129


 THE BAYLE GATE, BRIDLINGTON                                        132

 A WHITE FRIAR IN HIS STUDY                                         133

 ARMS OF BEVERLEY MINSTER                                           135



 SMALL ‘DECORATED’ DOORWAY AT THE WEST END                          139


 ‘HEY-DIDDLE-DIDDLE, THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE’                        142

 PLAN OF BEVERLEY MINSTER                                           143

 SANCTUARY CROSS AT BISHOP BURTON                                   147

 THE BEVERLEY FRITH-STOOL                                           150


 HENRY OF LANCASTER’S CROSS                                         161

 PRESENT SEAL OF THE BOROUGH OF HEDON                               162

 NORTH BAR WITHOUT, BEVERLEY                                        163

 PART OF A FOURTEENTH-CENTURY PLAN OF HULL                          165

 HIGH STREET, HULL                                                  166

 SECTIONS OF A MEDIÆVAL AND A MODERN STREET                         167


 ARMS OF THE HULL TRINITY HOUSE                                     172

 A MIRACLE PLAY IN THE OLDEN TIME                                   174

 NOAH’S ARK                                                         175

 A FOURTEENTH-CENTURY ‘SHOW’                                        177

 BEAR-BAITING                                                       178

 THE BEVERLEY MINSTRELS                                             185

 ARMS OF THE HULL MERCHANTS’ COMPANY                                186

 THE GATEWAY OF KIRKHAM PRIORY                                      190

 RUINS OF THE EAST END OF THE CHURCH                                191

 BADGE OF THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE                                   193

 HOWDEN CHURCH FROM THE SOUTH                                       196

 HOWDEN CHURCH—RUINS OF THE CHAPTER HOUSE                           198

 ALL THAT REMAINED OF MEAUX ABBEY IN 1900                           201

 A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW OF KYNGESTON-VPON-HVLL, A.D. 1640           206, 207

   KINGSTON-UPON-HULL                                               211

 SIR JOHN HOTHAM                                                    216

 MEDAL STRUCK IN MEMORY OF SIR JOHN HOTHAM                          219

 HULL’S WATER GATE                                                  221

 WRESSLE CASTLE                                                     225

 THE PERCY TOMB, BEVERLEY MINSTER                                   230

 BURTON CONSTABLE HALL                                              232


 BURTON AGNES HALL                                                  234

 EFFIGY OF A KNIGHT IN PLATE ARMOUR AT SWINE                        235


 COAT-OF-ARMS OF THE STRICKLANDS                                    237

 ON THE ROAD IN 1812                                                238

 HULL AND YORK COACHING BILL, A.D. 1787                             241

 COACHING ROADS AND EARLY RAILWAYS                                  243

   PATRINGTON COACH                                                 245


 THE HULL AND BEVERLEY STAGE COACH                                  251

 ON THE ROAD IN 1912                                                252


 PLAN OF DOCKS WEST OF THE RIVER HULL                               258

 PLAN OF DOCKS EAST OF THE RIVER HULL                               259

 THE WILSON LINER ‘ESKIMO’ GETTING UP STEAM                         260

 GRAIN SHIPS DISCHARGING THEIR CARGOES                              261


 A STEAM TRAWLER                                                    265

 N.E.R. RIVERSIDE QUAY                                              267

 THE GARDEN VILLAGE, HULL                                           268

 JOHN ALCOCK, BISHOP OF ELY                                         270

 JOHN FISHER, BISHOP OF ROCHESTER                                   272

 ANDREW MARVELL                                                     273

 BIRTHPLACE OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE                                  275

 WILLIAM WILBERFORCE                                                277

 SIR TATTON SYKES                                                   281

 CHARLES WILSON, FIRST BARON NUNBURNHOLME                           282

 ARTHUR WILSON                                                      283


 A VIKING SHIP ON A CHURCH DOOR                                     286

 ANCIENT SEAL OF THE CORPORATION OF HEDON                           287

 ENGLISH WARSHIPS IN THE TIME OF THE ARMADA                         289

 A NEWS SHEET OF 1837                                               291

 THE HULL WHALER ‘TRUELOVE’                                         293

 THE FIRST STEAMSHIP BUILT ON THE HUMBER                            295

 A HUMBER PILOT BOAT                                                297

 SHIPS OLD AND NEW—THE ‘SOUTHAMPTON’—‘BAYARDO’                      299

 ENTRANCE TO THE OLD HARBOUR                                        300

 ANCIENT ARMS OF BEVERLEY                                           311

 MODERN ARMS OF BRIDLINGTON                                         313

 LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS IN THE EAST RIDING                          314


 CREST OF THE EAST RIDING COUNTY COUNCIL                            318


 ARMS OF BEVERLEY GRAMMAR SCHOOL                                    322

 ARMS OF HOWDEN GRAMMAR SCHOOL                                      322

 ARMS OF BRIDLINGTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL                                 323

 ARMS OF HULL GRAMMAR SCHOOL                                        324

 ARMS OF POCKLINGTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL                                 325

 AT SCHOOL IN THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY                                325




 THE OLD GRAMMAR SCHOOL, HULL                                       333

 THE HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, BRIDLINGTON                             335

 SEAL OF THE GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL, HULL                               336

 BRIDLINGTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL                                         339

 ARMS OF HYMERS COLLEGE                                             340

 HYMERS COLLEGE                                                     341

 A TYPICAL SCHOOL ON THE YORKSHIRE WOLDS                            342

 A MODERN CITY COUNCIL SCHOOL                                      343#

 MAP OF THE EAST RIDING OF YORKSHIRE                        _End Cover_

                              THE STORY OF
                           THE EAST RIDING OF

                        WHAT THE EAST RIDING IS.

That an English county which is nearly as large as the ancient kingdom
of Wales should become divided into separate portions for the purposes
of local government is only what one would expect. But it is not obvious
why the number of these portions should be three, and there is even an
air of mystery about the name given to them. ‘North Riding,’ ‘West
Riding,’ ‘East Riding’—what is this word ‘Riding’?

For the answer to this question we must go back many centuries, to the
time of the hardy Norsemen who, as we shall see, settled in such large
numbers in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. It was common among the Norsemen
of old to divide lands into three portions for the purposes of
government, and their name for each portion was _thrithjungr_.[1]

Footnote 1:


This mysterious word means in our tongue ‘a third part,’ and from it
arose the English word THRIDING as companion to _feorthing_, another
word which we use to-day in a very slightly altered form. But the
difficulty of pronouncing distinctly and easily the combination ‘North
Thriding’ is evident, and the troublesome word suffered the same fate as
commonly then befell the troublesome man—it got, quite naturally,

                  *       *       *       *       *


A glance at the small map on this page will show how the county of
Yorkshire is divided. By no means are the three Ridings equal in area,
the East Riding being far the smallest. In order of size they stand as

                West Riding  2,766         square miles.
                North Riding 2,128            "   "
                East Riding  1,172            "   "
                             6,066         square miles.

The map shows another point of contrast between the three Ridings.
Whereas the West and North Ridings have numerous ranges of hills and
correspondingly numerous water-channels, the East Riding is, with the
exception of its northern extremity, an eastward extension of the ‘Vale
of York’ and very nearly as flat as the proverbial pancake. Its only
rivers are the Hull and the Derwent, and the latter for more than half
its course forms the boundary of the Riding.

An uninteresting part of the county it looks to be, does it not? But,
nevertheless, it has an interesting history behind it, and men and women
have been born and bred in it—men and women who have helped to make our
country what it is to-day. Who they have been, how they have lived, and
what they have done in the ages before we ourselves were born, it is the
purpose of the following pages to show.

                     HOW THE EAST RIDING WAS MADE.

Stand on the very highest point of the white limestone cliffs that
stretch northwards from Flamborough Head, and realise that you are
standing on what was once the bed of the sea.

Strange though this be, it is nevertheless true. Countless ages ago what
now towers up 450 feet above sea-level had over it the ceaseless rolling
of the waters of the ocean, and during countless ages it was slowly
formed out of the shells and teeth and bones of the creatures that lived
in these waters.

Men who know tell us that the layer of chalk at the bottom of the ocean
to-day is composed principally of the remains of creatures so minute as
to be visible only by the aid of a microscope, and that this layer grows
in thickness at the rate of not more than one-tenth of an inch per year.
They tell us also that the layer of chalk which extends under our county
is not less than 1200 feet in thickness, and thus a simple calculation
will help us to form some idea of the extent of time necessary for its
formation. But however long this time actually was, it came to an end
with a tremendous upheaval of a portion of the ocean bed, and the
formation of a new area of ‘dry land.’

All the coast line of the East Riding, however, does not consist of
chalk cliffs. North of Bempton and Speeton lie cliffs of sandstone and
clay, which have yielded the fossil remains of living beings that once
inhabited the water and the shore. Such are the belemnites and
ammonites—the ‘thunderbolts’ and ‘St. Hilda’s snakes’ we may have heard
them called—and the _Ichthyosaurus_, whose skeleton was recently
discovered embedded in the clay cliffs at Speeton and may now be seen in
the Hull Museum. Not a very handsome gentleman in the flesh he must have
been, unless appearances are deceptive.


  Actual length about twelve feet.

Again, walk southwards from Flamborough Head, and the chalk cliffs are
found to get less and less in height until they disappear altogether,
and their place is taken by cliffs of clay. Then these disappear, and
are succeeded by the long, flat bank of sand and shingle which is known
as Spurn Point; and if we round this point and follow the river bank, we
find it nothing but mud and clay until we get past the mouth of the
river Hull. At Hessle the chalk cliffs break out once more, and we know,
from investigations, that the bed of chalk comes to the surface
completely westwards of a line drawn from Flamborough to this point.

Draw on a map of the East Riding a line from Sewerby, through Driffield
and Beverley, to Hessle, and you are drawing the line of the old
sea-beach when the upheaval previously mentioned had taken place. This
was the shore of a land inhabited by races of animals now found living
only in tropical regions. The elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus and
hyena ranged the land for food, and bones of these creatures have been
found in considerable numbers in the caves that exist at Kirkdale in the
North Riding.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Then came a great change. The climate of Northern Europe became colder
and colder till there prevailed what scientists call the ‘Great Ice
Age.’ This was the time of formation of huge glaciers which spread from
the mountains of Scandinavia, Scotland, and north-west England
southwards and eastwards into the sea, until they met and made its whole
area a slowly moving mass of ice. With the ice were carried sand,
gravel, clay, boulders torn from projecting rocks, and bones of Arctic
animals, such as the walrus, the reindeer, and the Irish elk; and as the
ice gradually melted, all these were deposited at the base of the line
of chalk cliffs, or even on the summit of the cliffs where these were
low. From the gravel pits at Burstwick excavations of ballast for the
embankments of the North Eastern Railway brought to light animal bones
in such quantities that many tons were sold to chemical manure
manufacturers, and it is probable that many tons still remain


_Photo by_]  Relics of the Ice Age.   [_C. W. Mason_


A walrus tusk from Kelsey Hill and the tooth of a mammoth from the
cliffs at Atwick.[2]

Footnote 2:

  The weight of this tooth is 9½ lbs. One side has been worn down and
  polished smooth by the friction of the ice in passing over it.

In this way was formed the ‘great mass of gravel, clay, and sand ...
east of the Yorkshire Wolds’ which we know as the Plain of Holderness.
Here is what one of our foremost local geologists has to say of its

‘Let us imagine the probable appearance of East Yorkshire on the final
melting of the ice. Huge fans or sheets of gravel occur at Bridlington
and other places as a result of the floods. Rounded hillocks of gravel
and clay stand out in all directions; the hollows in between are filled
with water, forming miniature lakes or meres. Of animal or plant life
there is little or none. The climate gradually becomes milder; at first
Arctic plants and animals exist in small numbers. Later, the margins of
the meres become clothed in vegetation; peat is eventually formed, and
huge trees of Oak and Fir thrive. The Red Deer, Beaver, Short-horned Ox,
Otter, and Wild Horse, haunt the woods, and finally primitive man makes
his appearance.’



                         MEN OF THE STONE AGE.

What sort of man was it who first inhabited Holderness and how did he
live? Artists in his day were few and far between, and the few who did
exist in Europe gave pleasure to themselves and to their companions by
drawing portraits of reindeer and horses on pieces of bone. To draw
portraits of their fellows was probably the last thing they would think
of doing. Reindeer and horses are graceful creatures, but the artists’
fellows were anything but graceful.

As far as we know, the first inhabitants of Holderness were a race of
short, dark-haired men, who depended for their food and clothing on the
animals of the forest and the mere, who pursued their prey and fought
one another with weapons of stone, and who lived in dwellings built on
piles driven into the bed of a lake in exactly the same way as the New
Guinea islanders live to-day.

Something definite about their dwelling-places we know; for what is
appropriately called a _lake-dwelling_ was discovered thirty years ago
at Ulrome. This was a structure made of tree trunks laid side by side
and held together by piles driven into the bed of what was then a large


          A, B. Hammer head and pick made from the shed antlers of
                a red deer (1/1, 1/4).

             C. Bodkin or needle (1/1).

             D. Dagger made from a man’s thigh-bone (1/3).

On this rough sort of platform, which measured 90 feet by 60 feet,
dwelling-places had been constructed, and a ‘popular watering-place’ it
must have been; for there was evidence that it had been built in the
first place by a race of people whose tools were of flint and bone, and
that this race had been ousted many years later by another more advanced
race who had weapons and tools of bronze. That the dwellers here were
mighty hunters and mighty eaters was proved by enormous accumulations of
animal bones under and around the platform. That they were also
cannibals is likely from the presence of human bones among this refuse.

                  *       *       *       *       *

So much for the ‘lake-dwellers’ of Ulrome. Up on the Wolds there were
men living a somewhat different life. These hunted and ate the same
kinds of creatures, and they used the same kinds of weapons, but their
dwellings were dug out of the soil—shallow circular or elliptical pits
each covered over with a conical roof of branches and turf, supported on
a central post; or deeper troughs covered over with sods and scrub laid
on slabs of chalk, so that the roof was level with the surrounding earth
and indistinguishable from it.

Of the former kind of _pit-dwelling_ an example has been discovered in
the hollow known as Garton Slack, the pit measuring rather less than 9
feet by 6 feet in length and breadth, and 5 feet in depth; while one of
the latter kind has come to light under Kemp Howe, a few miles north of
Driffield.[3] The underground chamber here measured 25 feet by 4½ feet,
had a depth of 6 feet at its deeper end, and was approached by a sloping
passage 11 feet in length, the entrance to which would doubtless be
hidden with scrub. The roof had been supported on six upright posts, and
for twelve feet along one side of the chamber ran a stone ledge—this
last being evidently a luxury.

Footnote 3:

  Groups of circular _pit-dwellings_ have been discovered at Bempton and
  at Atwick—the latter by Mr. William Morfitt, whose house at Atwick
  contains many ‘treasures’ which he has unearthed in the district
  around Hornsea.

It is probable that these two kinds of dwellings may have been
respectively the summer and winter houses of the same people. For the
Roman historian Tacitus says of the ancient tribes on the other side of
the North Sea:—

    Besides their ordinary habitations, they have a number of
    subterranean caves, dug by their own labour and carefully covered
    over with soil, in winter their retreat from cold and the repository
    for their corn. In these recesses they not only find a shelter from
    the rigour of the seasons, but in times of foreign invasions their
    effects are safely concealed.

Of the men who lived on the Yorkshire Wolds we know a great deal; for it
was their custom to raise over the burial places of their chiefs
circular mounds of earth, some still very large, others now only a foot
or two high. The relative size of a burial mound, which we speak of
either by the Latin name _tumulus_ or by the English names _barrow_ and
_howe_, marks the importance of the chieftain whose body or ashes once
lay under it.

These _tumuli_, or barrows, are very plentifully strewn over the
Yorkshire Wolds, and for more than fifty years the late Mr. J. R.
Mortimer, of Driffield, devoted all his leisure time to their
excavation. The results of his labours are to be seen in his private
museum—the Mortimer Museum—and details of his ‘finds’ are recorded in
his large book on the _Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire_, some of the
illustrations in which are here reproduced.

A general idea of how a barrow has been constructed, and of what it may
contain, can be gained from the illustration on the next page.

Howe Hill, Duggleby, is one of the larger barrows, built on a sloping
hillside, and having at its base a diameter of 125 feet and at its
flattened top one of 47 feet.


                 A-K. Skeletons in position as buried.
   O. Cremated remains.      Y. Band of blue clay impervious to

   W. Inner mound of clay.   Z. Outer mound of chalk.

   X. Bed of chalk grit.     * Probable summit of the barrow when

From the diagram we see that the bodies first interred have been placed
at the bottom of a cavity dug out of the solid chalk. This hole not
proving large enough for the numbers to be buried, an extension has been
begun, but not finished. Time was evidently pressing, for some bodies
have been buried above the surface of the ground. They have been placed
in different positions, but the legs of all have been bent at the knees
and all are enclosed in a low mound of clay. Above this lie the remains
of numerous other bodies, which have been burnt before burial; and over
them comes a twelve-inch layer of a blue clay which is impervious to
water. Then a large mound of soil and pieces of chalk has been raised
over all, the mound being originally much higher than it is to-day.

Such has been the building of Howe Hill. But it must not be thought that
all barrows contain the remains of a large number of bodies. Most
contain one only, and the body has either been buried as it was when
life left it or been burnt and the calcined bones gathered up in an
earthenware vessel, or pinned in a skin garment. The eight full-grown
skeletons discovered under Howe Hill are those of men, and we may
suppose that they represent a chieftain and his relatives killed in the
onslaught by a hostile clan. The cremated bodies, forty of which were
discovered in the digging of a trench through the barrow, would be those
of his dependants, who died fighting in defence of their lord and

                  *       *       *       *       *

But the barrow contains evidence of the lives of the people of the time
as well as of their deaths. Scattered through the soil under the band of
blue clay were found many broken bones of the ox, roebuck, red deer,
fox, goat, and pig, the remains of the burial feast; and among these
were human bones which had quite evidently been broken and cooked. It is
horrible to think of the people of our East Riding as having once been
cannibals, but the evidence to that effect is indisputable.

Here and there were also found portions of the weapons with which the
defenders of the settlement had fought—the hammer head shown on page 9,
made from the shed antler of a red deer, and the broken javelin head of
flint shown on page 15. In this barrow was also found the wonderfully
made flint knife represented below—an implement fashioned out of a piece
of flint with no other tools than such as are mentioned below, and yet
fashioned so delicately that its greatest thickness is only
one-sixteenth of an inch.


  HOWE (1/1).

A clever workman he must have been who made this wonderful knife. But
such beautifully wrought implements are very rare. Only one similar
knife—found in a barrow at Aldro—was known to its discoverer, and he had
himself superintended the excavation of no fewer than two hundred and
eighty-eight barrows.

The weapons and tools which have been buried with their owners are more
commonly of the rougher types figured on the opposite page. They include
knives, chisels, spear heads, saws, and arrow heads, all made from
flints by the processes of chipping and flaking, with hammer heads,
picks, needles and daggers of bone.

Compare the figures A and B given on page 9 with the illustration of the
antlers of a red deer on page 7, and see how cleverly the hammer head
and the pick have been fashioned. Equally clever has been the adaptation
of a bone in the making of the very primitive dagger figured at D on the
same page. But in this case it has been not the antler of a red deer
that has been brought into use, but the thigh-bone of a man.



  A. Chisel from Aldro (1/1). B. Barbed arrow head from
  Grimston (1/1) C. Javelin head from Duggleby Howe (1/1).

So far we have spoken of weapons and implements of bone and of flint.
Others were then in use made of whinstone and greenstone, such as the
axe heads figured overleaf. Notice the different arrangement of the
cutting edge in these two implements, and notice also that in the first
one the hole intended for the insertion of a wooden handle has, for some
reason or other, not been finished. Perhaps the maker was killed before
he had time to finish it, or perhaps he grew tired of his work and threw
it away. At any rate this unfinished adze head was found loose on the
surface of the ground, and not buried under a howe as was the other.




  WOLD (2/3).

Weapons and implements of stone! May we not justly call their makers MEN
OF THE STONE AGE? They lived before man knew how to dig metals from the
earth, and how, having obtained them, to melt and mould them to his

But besides these weapons which have lain buried with their owners for
some thousands of years, there are yielded up by the barrows earthenware
vessels of different sizes and shapes. Some, like that shown below, are
wide-mouthed and have a thick rim; others are narrower, and their rim is
not thickened. Then others have an overhanging rim; and others, again,
are small, only an inch or two in height, and have from two to six holes
perforated in their sides. All are marked with simple patterns, made by
pressing the pointed end of a stick or the thumb-nail into the moist
clay, or by pressing round it a twisted thong of hide. There has been no
glazing and no attempt to make use of artificial colour.


Each of these vessels has had its particular use. The first-named
vessels, which are by far the most common, are always found to be
stained with some decomposed matter on the inside of the bottom, and
their use has undoubtedly been as _food vessels_. So also we may
consider the second group to be _drinking vessels_. The food and drink
which these two contained when they were buried have been intended for
their owners in the new life to come, when food and drink would be again
required. The vessels of the third kind are always found to contain
remains of a body which has been cremated before burial—hence their name
_cinerary urns_—and the last-named and smallest, which are found with
them, have probably been used to hold the precious spark of fire which
lit the funeral pyre.


Let us leave these howes and barrows and examine another example of the
work of the Men of the Stone Age. Close to the wall of the village
church at Rudston stands a huge upright stone, or monolith. Twenty-five
feet is its height above the ground, and sixteen feet its girth, while
it is said to be embedded in the ground as deep as it is high above the
surface. Its weight is estimated as not far short of forty tons. What is
it doing in a village churchyard, and who put it there? When and how was
it placed where it now stands?


It is impossible to give any definite answers to these questions. A
century ago, however, the village people answered them all very easily.
The Devil, they said, objected to the building of the church, and flung
this stone to destroy it before its completion. But his aim was not so
accurate as it was intended to be, and the missile missed its mark.
Asked for a proof of their wonderful story, they would point to the
stone itself. There it was for everyone to see. What further proof could
be needed?[4] Whether we believe this legend or not, two things are
certain. First, that the stone is as old as the barrows in the
surrounding wolds; secondly, that there is no rock of the same nature
nearer to it than Filey Brig and the Brimham Rocks. Was it brought down
by the great ice sheet and then erected by the men of the Stone Age to
serve some purpose in their heathen rites, or did they bring it up from
Filey or down from the hills of the North Riding on wooden rollers?
Perhaps it is not more difficult to conceive of their doing this than of
their raising such a huge barrow as that which stands unopened at the
foot of Garrowby Hill—a mound 250 feet in diameter at its base and 50
feet in height.

Footnote 4:

  The ‘Devil’s Arrows’ is the name by which three similar huge stones
  are known at Boroughbridge.

                         MEN OF THE BRONZE AGE.

                          THE ANCIENT BRITONS.

With the coming of Julius Caesar to Britain in the middle of the first
century before the birth of Christ, we reach the time in the history of
our country when definite facts about its people begin to be recorded.

Thus we know from Caesar’s own writings that the Britons lived in houses
like those of the Gauls, that they had great numbers of cattle, that
they used copper coins, that many of the inland tribes did not grow corn
but lived on milk and flesh and went clothed in skins, that in war time
they dyed their bodies with a blue stain to give them a more terrible
aspect, and that they wore long hair on their heads and their upper

So also, with regard to their religion, Caesar tells us that their
priests were called Druids; that if any crime had been committed, or if
there were any dispute about an inheritance or a boundary, it was the
Druids who gave judgment; that they had vast stores of learning, all of
which was committed to memory and none committed to writing; and that
their chief doctrine was that the soul of man did not perish, but passed
after death into another body, so that no man should fear death.



From these accounts we see that there had been great progress made since
the times described in the last chapter. This was due to the migration
westwards of a new race of people—the Kelts—who had gained a knowledge
of the use of metal, and who, consequently, had weapons and implements
made of bronze instead of stone. Their greater knowledge gave them
greater power, and the extinction of the men of the Stone Age was only a
question of time. For not often was the bronze-weaponed warrior slain by
a weapon of stone.

But the account written by Julius Caesar refers to the inhabitants of
the southern parts of our island. ‘Many of the inland tribes do not grow
corn, but live on milk and flesh and go clothed in skins.’ This passage
may be taken as true of the tribes living north of the Humber, known—so
later Roman writers tell us—as the BRIGANTES, the wildest and most
savage of the tribes inhabiting Britain.

Let us see what Mr. Mortimer’s discoveries have to tell us of these
BRIGANTES. The most interesting discovery, perhaps, was that made in a
barrow on Calais Wold, the highest point of the Yorkshire Wolds, 807
feet above sea-level. Here, on the mound being removed, a double row of
stake-holes was exposed in the surface of the ground. These were from 3
to 15 inches in diameter, and were arranged in circles having diameters
of 21½ and 28 feet. Outside these were four other stake-holes, and
beyond these again a circular trench 100 feet in diameter, 3 feet 9
inches deep, 9 feet across at the top, and 1 foot across at the bottom.
Within the double circle of stake-holes was a cavity cut in the chalk
and containing a skeleton lying on its side, with its knees bent.

The plan on the opposite page shows the arrangement exactly, and the
drawing which accompanies it gives Mr. Mortimer’s clever conjecture of
the meaning of the stake-holes. The space enclosed between the inner and
outer walls would be used, Mr. Mortimer thought, as a storage place for
food, skins, and weapons. It would also serve to keep the inside
living-room warm in winter.



‘We will bury our chieftain in his home, which no one after him shall
have power to defile.’ So, probably, thought those who buried him. But,
if so, time has played them false; for men of a race undreamt of and
speaking a tongue of which he would understand hardly one word, have
ruthlessly laid bare his burial place, and have carted away his bones to
be measured with tape and pencil, and his skull to have its brain cavity
estimated with grains of millet seed. What an insult added to injury!

A mighty chieftain he had doubtless been, and it must be his favourite
weapon that lies buried with him, so placed that he should be buried as
he slept—grasping its handle firmly in his right hand. One wonders how
many of his enemies’ skulls that weapon of his had beaten in before its
master ceased to use it. Perhaps it had been wielded against the Roman
legions brought north of the Humber by Ostorius Scapula in A.D. 50. Who
knows? If you would see the head of the weapon you must go to the museum
at Driffield; its likeness you will find on page 16.

The Brigantes buried their dead chiefs just as the earlier tribes had
done, and the photograph on page 25 shows very clearly the curious way
in which the legs were doubled and the head bent back. This skeleton was
obtained from a barrow in Garton Slack, and here is what its discoverer
says of the pains taken to obtain it:—

‘Being desirous of possessing this skeleton in its entirety, we obtained
a quantity of stiff, mortar-like material, scraped from the adjoining
high road, with which we covered the remains, in order to keep all the
bones in position. We then passed three broad pieces of sheet iron under
it without displacing any of the bones. The remains were then lifted on
a prepared board, and conveyed to Fimber. After being carefully cleaned,
the skeleton was mounted in a glass case, and now, with its relics, and
part of the ground on which it was found, forms a highly interesting
relic in the museum at Driffield.’

The skeleton is that of a woman, and with it, you will notice, are two
objects. There is no need to say what has been the use of the bone
ornament lying behind the head, but the use of the flint implement
placed before the jaw is not so obvious. This is one of a class of
implements known to us as _scrapers_—roughly chipped pieces of flint
used by the women of a household in scraping the insides of animal skins
when preparing them for human wear, and in scraping the roots that went
into the ‘stock-pot’ with the flesh of the animals that provided also
garments and beds for the household.



_Photo by_]                             [_C.W. Mason_

                           British Gold Coin.
                Found at Atwick by Mr. W. Morfitt (1/1).


In neither of these two barrows was there any sign of a bronze
implement. Weapons and implements of bronze are rare among those found
in the barrows of East Yorkshire, and the few discovered are dagger or
knife heads and prickers. The Brigantes were far behind the Britons of
the south in their knowledge of the use of metal; and at the time when
the latter were making use of bronze, the wild and savage tribes of the
north were content still to make use of greenstone and flint.

Personal ornaments, too, are rare, and were found accompanying only
fifty-seven out of eight hundred and ninety-three burials that Mr.
Mortimer excavated. They include dress-fastenings, such as rings and
links of jet, and buttons of amber, jet and bone. With only one British
interment was gold found, and of silver ornaments none were discovered
at all.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: A BRITISH WAR CHARIOT.]

Especially interesting to a Yorkshireman are the discoveries of what are
called ‘chariot burials.’ The Britons were renowned for their
war-chariots, of which the chieftain Caswallon is recorded to have had
4000 when he fought against Julius Caesar. To the Briton himself his
chariot was known as an _essa_, a word which his Roman conquerors
latinised as _essedum_. An _essedum_ was drawn by two horses, and driven
by a charioteer who was very expert at running out along the pole
between the horses. The _essedarii_, or charioteers, were held in high
esteem among the tribal armies, and when they happened to be captured by
the Roman soldiers were great favourites among the spectators of the
gladiatorial shows.

On the death of a British chieftain who was a renowned chariot warrior,
it was the custom for him to be buried in his chariot together with his
horses and their trappings; and the East Riding has given more evidence
of this custom than any other part of our country of equal area. The
‘Yorkshireman’ even then, it seems, loved a horse.

Remains of British chariot burials have been discovered at Hesselskew
and Arras, near Market Weighton; at Beverley Westwood; at Danes’ Graves;
and, most recently, at Hunmanby. In all these instances there have been
interred two horses standing in their harness, and in the barrow opened
at Danes’ Graves in 1897 there were _two_ human skeletons, proving that
in this case the charioteer, as well as his chieftain, was buried.

Of course in all these interments the remains of the chariots themselves
have been small, little existing but fragments of the bronze naves and
iron rims of the wheels, and of the bridle bits of the horses. But these
have been sufficient to show that the diameter of the wheels varied from
2 feet 8 inches to 2 feet 11 inches, and that the horses themselves were
of a much smaller breed than those of to-day.

With three, at least, of these chariot burials, were also found remains
of an iron mirror, a thing not found elsewhere. We are accustomed in
these days of motor-cars to make use of mirrors for a knowledge of what
is happening on the road behind the driver, and these remains point to a
similar practice among the charioteers of the Brigantes. Really we are
not, perhaps, so far advanced in the twentieth century as we thought we


_Photo by_]  Earthworks at Skipsea Brough.   [_C.W. Mason_


                  *       *       *       *       *

Further evidence of the Brigantes in the East Riding is to be seen in
the wonderful series of entrenchments that are so noticeable in the Wold
districts. Dikes, double dikes, and treble dikes once covered the whole
of the Wolds, says Mr. Mortimer; in fact, in the area of 75 square miles
which he explored there are 80 miles of earthworks existing to-day.
These consist sometimes of one ditch and one rampart only, but commonly
of three ditches and four ramparts; and in one case, in the
neighbourhood of Huggate, the entrenchment consists of a series of six
parallel ditches and seven ramparts.

By far the most remarkable of these ancient entrenchments is the
so-called ‘Danes’ Dyke,’ which, 2½ miles in length, cut off the rocky
promontory of Flamborough Head, and converted it into an impregnable
fortress 5 square miles in area. In making it, advantage was taken of a
natural ravine—a relic of the Ice Age—which ran down to the south; but
in its northern portion, where the ground was naturally level, a huge
ditch roughly 60 feet wide and 20 feet deep was dug, the soil from this
being thrown up to form a dyke or rampart on its eastern face.

At Skipsea Brough, near Hornsea, may be seen other British earthworks,
consisting of a central mound 70 feet high, having a flat top one acre
in extent, and covering altogether an area of 5 acres, together with a
series of entrenchments forming the segment of a circle. The outer
rampart is half a mile in length. Other much smaller earthworks exist at
the ‘Castle Hill,’ Sutton, and the ‘Giant’s Hill,’ Swine.

                          MEN OF THE IRON AGE.

                     THE ROMANS IN EAST YORKSHIRE.

In the last chapter we saw that the later Britons had some knowledge of
iron, as well as of copper and tin. But with the Romans the use of iron
was much more extensive, and hence they may be called MEN OF THE IRON

The first Roman general to enter the territory of the Brigantes was
Ostorius Scapula, who came north in A.D. 50. Twenty-eight years later
came Julius Agricola, who penetrated as far north as the rivers Forth
and Clyde. By Agricola the ancient British camp CAER EBURAC—the camp on
the Ebura, or, by its modern name, the Ure—was made into a Roman walled
city under the latinised name Eburacum.

From this time EBURĀCUM,[5] or EBORĀCUM as later Roman writers spelt its
name, became the proud capital of Britain—_altera Roma_, a second Rome
in importance. Here died the great Roman Emperor Severus in A.D. 211,
and here was born the still greater Emperor Constantine, under whose
reign Christianity was established in the Roman Empire.

Footnote 5:

  Pronounced _Eb-oo-ráh-kum_.



For nearly three and a half centuries the Roman armies ruled the land of
the Brigantes, during which time great alterations were taking place in
the lives of its people. Northwards came troop after troop of German and
Italian soldiers to subdue and enslave the people of the land north of
the Humber, and to wage incessant war against Rome’s enemies still
farther north. And southwards marched troop after troop of the men of
the Brigantes, on their way to Gaul and Italy and Spain, there to serve
as Roman soldiers. In A.D. 117 came to Eboracum the famous Sixth
Legion—LEGIO SIXTA, surnamed VICTRIX, the ‘All Conquering’—and Eboracum
was its headquarters thenceforth till A.D. 406, when it was withdrawn to
help in defending Rome against the enemies mustering on her threshold.

                  *       *       *       *       *

For the constant movement of troops the Roman invaders needed roads, and
the military highways which they constructed across Britain remain
foremost among the evidences of their occupation of the country. The
fact that their roads have existed for so many centuries—centuries of
hard use but of constant neglect—is due to the great care bestowed upon
their construction.

When a Roman road was made, the first thing done was to mark out its
course by the digging of two parallel ditches. This course was from 15
to 21 feet wide, and on it as the _gremium_, or foundation ground, was
placed a layer of large stones 5 inches deep. This, known as the
_statumen_, was followed by a fifteen-inch layer of broken stones
cemented with lime. The _rudus_ thus formed was succeeded by the
_nucleus_, a similar layer 10½ inches thick and constructed of small
fragments of brick and pottery. Last came the _pavimentum_, made of
large irregularly-shaped blocks of very hard stone fitted together and
cemented with lime so as to form a perfectly even surface. The
pavimentum was 5 inches thick, thus making a solid road raised about 3
feet above the level of the surrounding land.


Such was the usual method of construction of a Roman highway. Where the
natural surface of the ground passed over was hard rock, the two lowest
layers, or _strata_, were dispensed with; but where no safe natural
foundation existed, the labour was increased by the driving of piles
into the soft ground to afford this.

Over hill and down dale were constructed these wonderful roads. No
obstacle save an impenetrable marsh or an unbridgeable river baulked the
Roman engineer; and the outward distinguishing mark between the Roman
road constructed sixteen centuries ago and its modern successor is often
the fact that whereas the latter goes round a hill, and thus makes
things easy for the traveller, the former climbs in a straight line
right over the summit.

What engineering skill the Romans must have possessed to build their
roads! Straight from one military station to another miles distant over
the hills did they succeed in driving their road. How did they judge its
direction so accurately? We know not. And what immense labour was needed
for the construction of their roads! Think of the cohorts of Roman
soldiers engaged in building them, and of the slave-gangs of Britons
toiling under the lash of the task-master as they quarried the materials
for the use of the soldiers working many miles away. So hard was the
work of the Roman soldiers in Britain, we read, that they ‘wished for
death to relieve them from their insupportable toil.’

But human life stood for little in those days. What Roman engineer cared
whether thousands of lives were spent in the making of his road? His one
concern was to build it in such a way that for centuries to come the
Roman legions should be able to march, and the Imperial Post to ride,
along its hundreds of miles at the greatest possible speed. One hundred
and sixty-five English miles were covered by Caesarius, a Roman
magistrate, in the space of one day on a journey from Antioch to
Constantinople, the whole distance of 665 miles taking less than six
days. There is little wonder that Rome had become ‘Mistress of the

                  *       *       *       *       *

Let us now see what the Roman road-makers did in East Yorkshire.
Stretching north from Londinium ran the military highway known in later
times as ERMIN STREET. At Lindum Colonia this branched in two
directions, both branches meeting eventually at Eboracum. Skirting the
impassable marshes around the meeting-places of the Yorkshire rivers and
the Trent, one branch reached Eboracum by bridges or fords across the
Trent, the Don, the Aire, and the Wharfe, where now stand Littleborough,
Doncaster, Castleford, and Tadcaster. The crossing-places were protected
by military stations which have since grown into these towns.

But directly north from Lincoln the second branch reached the Humber at
Winteringham, whence the river was crossed by ferry to Brough, where
also was a military station, named Petuaria. From Brough to York the
road passed through South Cave, South Newbald, Houghton Woods, Thorpe le
Street, Barmby Moor and Stamford Bridge. Along this second branch would
travel the Roman Emperors and Generals, the Imperial Post, and the
slave-carried litters and chairs of the Roman aristocracy; round by the
former would march the foreign troops drafted to Eboracum to replace the
wastage in the Sixth Legion, and the British levies on their way to
fight and die in other parts of the Roman world.

At South Newbald this Roman road branched to the right, passing by
Londesborough, Warter, Millington and Acklam, to a camp at Old Malton.
From Stamford Bridge eastward ran another road by Garrowby, Fimber,
Cottam and Kilham to a Roman station on the cliffs at Sewerby. Higher up
on the Wolds ran an alternative route by Fridaythorpe, Sledmere, Octon
and Rudston. These two roads are to-day known as the Low Street and the
High Street.

Smaller roads ran from Stamford Bridge to Old Malton, and from the
latter to Fimber and possibly farther south in the direction of
Beverley. Round the coast from Bridlington there was probably a
road—long since washed away—to a military station on the headland which
then existed about a mile to the east of the present Kilnsea.

In North Lincolnshire Ermin Street is a typical Roman military road, and
for the greater part of its course it is to-day the ‘king’s highway.’
But its northerly portion has, since the establishing of the Ferry at
New Holland, been disused, and is now but a green lane, whose very
surface is lost to view as we approach the Humber.

When we enter the territory of the Brigantes the road is not so
distinguishable, and its course is in some parts uncertain. But even
then the name of ‘Street’ given by the successors of the Romans to the
Roman paved way—the way made of _strata_—survives; and on the map of the
East Riding we shall find Garrowby Street, Humber Street, Wharram le
Street, and Thorpe le Street, each name being significant of a Roman
road. In some instances the road itself has been uncovered, as in the
building of Drewton Bridge 60 years ago, and in building operations at
Londesborough Park, where it was found to be 24 feet wide, and to show
plainly the marks of wheeled carriages.

                  *       *       *       *       *

At many places in the East Riding have been discovered evidences of
Roman commerce and domestic life. Bronze and silver coins buried in
vases or boxes have been unearthed at Cowlam, Warter, Nunburnholme,
Skerne, Wetwang, and Brough. At the first-named place more than 10,000
coins had been buried in a large black vase, the finds at Warter and
Nunburnholme numbered about half that at Cowlam, and the Copper Hall
Farm at Skerne owes its name to a similar find.

So also Roman coins have been unearthed at Hornsea, Aldborough,
Withernsea and Hollym, on the line of a coast road from Bridlington to
Kilnsea, though the road itself has long since been washed away.


Of particular interest, as pointing to the fact that the road leading
southward to Brough was an export trade route, is a ‘pig’ of lead
weighing 9 stone 9 lbs. discovered twenty years ago in a field adjoining
the road at South Cave. This bears in raised letters an inscription,
which, written in uncontracted form as


would mean in our tongue [The lead] of Caius Julius Protus, British
[lead] from Lutuda, [prepared] from silver.


The lead mines of Derby were famous in Roman times, and much lead was
exported from Britain to Italy; so we may easily suppose that this
particular pig was lost in transit to the place of shipment.

As evidences of domestic life we have _hypocausts_, or underground
heating-chambers for the supply of hot air and hot water to the rooms of
Roman villas. These must once have been numerous—for no wealthy Roman
could do without his warm bath—but so far only a few have been
discovered. Again, we have examples of the Roman writing-implements,
_styli_ by name, two of which, found at Brough, are illustrated below.


When a Roman wished to write, his implements were very simple—a tablet
of wax and a _stylus_. With the pointed end of the latter he scratched
his letters on the surface of the wax; and if he made mistakes he had
only to smooth them out by using the other end, which was flattened for
the purpose. The Roman schoolboy probably found the stylus a very
convenient instrument.


Humbler evidences of domestic life have been discovered in the ‘kitchen
middens,’ or refuse heaps, which the incursions of the sea have exposed
at Easington and Kilnsea. From these have been obtained numberless
oyster shells and fragments of pottery, the relics of dining-room feasts
and kitchen breakages. The former are very interesting, because they
show the method by which the Roman cook overcame the natural reluctance
of the creatures within them to ‘come out of their shells.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

How very curiously such discoveries of ancient relics may be made is
seen in the recent case of an inhabitant of South Ferriby. A half-witted
man, by name Thomas Smith, but known locally by the more familiar name
‘Coin Tommy,’ made it his practice for several years to walk along the
shore of the river just after the periods of high tide, and to pick up
all metal objects which he happened to see. Whether horse-shoe or
brace-button did not matter to ‘Coin Tommy.’ Into his pocket went
everything of metal which he found; and on his reaching home after each
of these expeditions, his ‘finds’ were transferred to a stock of tin
canisters, and packed away on the shelves of his cupboard never again to
be looked at by their finder.

Now it was known by Coin Tommy’s associates that his finds were not all
horse-shoes and brace-buttons. But few of his friends expected that
after his death would-be purchasers of these finds from distant parts of
the country would vie with one another for their possession. Yet so it
happened; for Coin Tommy’s miscellaneous collection included no fewer
than 3000 Roman coins of gold, silver and bronze, and bronze brooches,
finger-rings, bracelets, tweezers, spoons, earpicks and styli

The explanation of the occurrence of all these objects along this
portion of the south bank of the Humber is that there had been at this
spot a Roman cemetery, and that changes in the currents of the Humber
have caused each high tide during the last few years to wash away some
portion of the bank, and thus bring to light treasures buried sixteen
centuries ago. And though South Ferriby is not in East Yorkshire, Coin
Tommy’s finds may fitly be mentioned in the story of the East Riding;
for it is probable that many of the owners of the bracelets and brooches
and finger rings had lived at Petuaria, on the Yorkshire side of the

Very interesting are the _fibulae_, or brooches, here discovered. Some
have engraved upon them the name of their maker, AVCISSA, and one,
having blue enamel let into the bronze surface, is constructed in the
form of a fish.


This may be taken as evidence of its wearer’s being a Christian, for in
early days the fish was an emblem of Christianity. In other cases the
brooch is made of a single piece of bronze wire, twisted to form a
spiral spring, and having one of its ends flattened out and bent over to
form a catch for the pin—an illustration of the oft-quoted saying ‘There
is nothing new under the sun’; for here is an exact model of the
safety-pin invented, or rather re-invented, in the nineteenth century.


To come back to the East Riding, our last mention of relics of Roman
times shall be that of the mosaic pavement which was discovered in a
ploughed field at Harpham in 1904. This pavement formed the floor of the
_atrium_, or square hall of a Roman villa, and was in use probably about
the year A.D. 300. It is constructed of small _tessarae_, or cubes, of
red sandstone and chalk, with a few others of dark blue clay, red clay,
and yellow limestone in the centre-piece of the design, and makes an
ingenious piece of work in the form of a maze.

This Roman pavement has been removed to Hull and reconstructed in the
Hull museum. On it when found lay the flat sandstone slabs which had
once formed the roof over it. Many iron nails with large flat heads were
also found, and in one instance the nail remained fast in position
through a hole in one of the slabs.

                             OUR ANCESTORS.

From the time when Roman soldiers first penetrated into the territory of
the Brigantes, the land which we name Holderness was troubled by the
piratical attacks of a people from the other side of the North Sea; and
in the early years of the second century the low-lying marshes of this
district were inhabited by a tribe whom the Romans called PARISII. In
our language they would be called FRISIANS.

These early Frisian settlers have left us evidence of the places they
chose for settlement in the village names Arram, Newsom, Hollym, and
Ulrome. Their settlements would probably be peaceful, for the lands
taken would be unoccupied pieces of ground rising just above the level
of the surrounding marsh.

But as time went on, the eastern and southern shores of Britain were
assailed by numerous other bands of plunderers and would-be settlers;
and in the later Roman times we find that, beside the army stationed at
York under the command of the _Duke of Britain_ to repel the Picts and
Scots of the north, there was an army under the _Count of the Saxon
Shore_ whose duty it was to defend against invaders the coast from the
Wash to the shores of Sussex.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Under Roman rule Britain as a whole prospered exceedingly. Agriculture
and commerce were extended, so that we find the lead-merchants of Derby
exporting lead to Italy, the chalk-merchants of Tadcaster exporting
chalk, and the corn-merchants of the Rhine provinces importing corn from
Britain in large quantities.

But beside the export of lead and chalk and corn, another export of
trade was going on—the export of the warlike youth of the country, who
went to furnish with men the Roman armies in Spain and Gaul and Germany.
Those left at home were forbidden by law to carry arms; so there is
small wonder that when the Roman legions were withdrawn from Britain
Roman towns were sacked and burnt, and Roman civilisation blotted out by
hostile invaders. ‘Tragedies can still be guessed at from heaps of ashes
and from skeletons of men, women and children found ... in crouching
attitudes in hypocausts and other places of concealment; and the human
bones frequently discovered at the bottoms of wells ... enable us to see
the ruthless savage removing the traces of a murderous raid.’

Petuaria, Praetorium, Derventio—all were sacked and burnt by the hosts
of ENGLE who sailed up the Humber and the Derwent, or landed at
Bridlington Bay. Roman houses were generally one-storied buildings
roofed with tiles or thatch, and the destruction of a town by fire would
be complete. It was also, in most cases, lasting; for the destroyers
were men who cared not for a life passed within walls and
fortifications. ‘They liked better to hear the lark sing than the mouse
squeak.’ So the Roman cities, towns and camps ‘remained in ruins, to be
haunted by the owl and the fox.’

But an exception was made by the invaders in the case of the greatest of
the Roman cities. Eboracum, Londinium and Lindum Colonia became the
chief centres of life for the tribes that captured them; and thus the
EBORACUM of the Romans became the EOFERWIC[6] of the Angles—a
dwelling-place in the haunts of the wild boar. Smaller towns were
blotted out; and their sites are known to us only by the finding of the
family store of coins, or the personal treasures once placed for safety
in a little recess in the wall or buried in a vase under the floor—to be
overwhelmed with debris, and to remain undiscovered for many centuries.

Footnote 6:

  Pronounced almost as _Yóv-er-wik_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The hostile tribes who invaded Britain during the fifth and sixth
centuries in such numbers as to conquer the whole country from the Isle
of Wight to the Firth of Forth, except the mountainous districts of the
west, were known as the _Engle_, the _Seaxe_ and the _Iute_.[7] Angles,
Saxons and Jutes these are to us. The IUTE landed on the shores of, and
established colonies in, Kent and the Isle of Wight, the former of which
developed into a kingdom; the SEAXE established three kingdoms
distinguished from one another in name by the adjectives South, East,
and West; and separate bands of ENGLE formed the kingdoms of East
Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria.

Footnote 7:

  _Eń-gla_, _Sék-sa_, and _Yóo-ta_, in pronunciation.

It is with the last-named of these ‘Seven Kingdoms’ that we are most
particularly concerned. The huge kingdom of Northumbria stretched
northwards from the Humber to the Forth, and was at different times
either ruled by one king or divided into two separate kingdoms—Deira,
from the Humber to the Tees, and Bernicia, from the Tees to the Forth.

How complete was the conquest of Britain by these invading tribes is
seen in the account written by Bede, the eighth century monk of Jarrow:—

    They burned and harried and slew from the sea on the east to the sea
    on the west, and no one was able to withstand them.... Many of the
    miserable survivors were captured in waste places and stabbed in
    heaps. Some because of hunger gave themselves into the hands of
    their enemies, to be their slaves for ever in return for food and
    clothing; some departed sorrowfully over the sea; some remained
    fearfully in their native land, and with heavy hearts lived a life
    of want in the forests and waste places and on the high cliffs.

The completeness of the conquest may be seen also in the fact that the
language of the Britons was replaced by that of the invaders. The
Angles, Saxons and Jutes spoke a language entirely different from the
Keltic language of the Britons; but except in the Highlands of Scotland,
in Wales, and in the Isle of Man—the parts to which the invaders did not
penetrate—the language spoken to-day is ENGLISH and the name of the
country itself is ENGLA-LAND, the land of the _Engle_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Very definite evidence of the places chosen by the Angles for settlement
can be found on the map of the East Riding. Where the head of the
household decided to ‘pitch his tent’ a piece of land was enclosed with
a _tūn_,[8] or hedge, and the dwelling erected within it became his new
_hām_,[8] or home. Such was the origin of our numerous towns and
villages whose names now end in the syllables _ton_ and _ham_. In many
cases the name of the family is enshrined in the name of the settlement.
Thus the Locings—the sons of Loc—the Essings, the Brantings, the
Eoferings, and the Hemings gave their names respectively to Lockington,
Easington, Brantingham, Everingham, and Hemingbrough.

Footnote 8:

  Pronounced, respectively, _toon_ and _hahm_.

Besides the endings _ton_ and _ham_, others which tell of Anglian
settlements are _worth_ and _bald_ (a dwelling), _cote_ or _coate_ (a
mud cottage), _stead_ (a place), _brough_ or _borough_ (a fortified
place), _wick_ (a village), _wold_ (woodland), _field_ (a place where
trees have been felled), _ley_ (an open place in a wood), _mere_ (a
lake), _fleet_ (the mouth of a river) and _ford_. Examples of all these
can be found on a map of the East Riding.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In their burial customs the Angles were little different from the
peoples whom they dispossessed. Like them they often cremated the bodies
of their dead, afterwards collecting the charred bones and burying them
in earthen vessels, accompanied with the weapons or personal treasures
which were to be used again in the life to come. A man was buried with
his spear and shield, or with the long one-edged knife whose
name—_seax_—gave rise to the tribal name of the Saxons; a woman with her
knife, shears, bronze box containing thread and needles, and beads of
glass and amber; a child with his toys, such as the tiny tweezers, knife
and shears found with a child’s bones in a burial vase at Sancton.



Not always, however, did the Angles cremate the bodies of their dead.
More often they buried them near the surface of a British burial mound.
From one of the mounds at Driffield, known as ‘Cheesecake Hill,’ was
taken a necklace consisting of 219 beads, of which 141 were of amber,
two of glass, three of carefully cut crystal, and five of cowrie shells.


Not very far from Garton Gatehouse, and near the memorial to Sir Tatton
Sykes some three miles farther north, were accidentally discovered two
Anglian cemeteries, one of which contained more than sixty bodies of
men, women and children. Here all but a few had been buried not with
their limbs bent, as was the custom among the Britons, but with their
limbs stretched out at full length; and all but one had been buried with
their heads to the west. Probably these were Christian burials.


  A. Bronze ring (1/1). B. Silver brooch (1/1). C. Bone comb (1/2).

From this Anglian cemetery at Garton were obtained many implements and
personal ornaments—iron knives and bronze spoons, bronze ankle-rings and
buckles, necklaces of glass, amber and amethyst, silver ear-rings, a
gold button set with a precious stone, and, luxury of luxuries, a bone
comb. What a great advance is thus shown to have taken place in the
centuries between the British burial at Garrowby and the Anglian burials
at Garton! With the former were weapons of flint and bone; with the
latter, implements of bronze and iron, and personal ornaments of silver,
gold, and precious stones.

                    HOW THE MEN OF THE NORTH BECAME

During later Roman times the worship of God had been introduced into
Britain, and the discovery of the Roman bronze brooch figured on page 38
shows that Christianity had reached the shores of the Humber.

But the invaders who were to give a new name to the country and to
become our ancestors were heathens, and chief among their gods was
Woden. We of the twentieth century still preserve, the names of Wōden,
Tīw, the god of war, and Frīg, the wife of Wōden, in our ‘Wednesday,’
‘Tuesday,’ and ‘Friday’—the _Wodenesdaeg_, _Tiwesdaeg_, and
_Frigedaeg_[9] of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors.

Footnote 9:

  Pronounced, respectively, _Wóh-den-ez-dag_, _Tée-wes-dag_, and

In the passage from Bede’s _Ecclesiastical History of the English
People_ which was partly translated in the last chapter, we are given an
insight into the way in which the heathen Angles and Saxons despoiled
the worshipping-places of the Christian Britons:—

    Everywhere priests were slain and murdered by the side of the
    altars. Bishops together with their people were slain without mercy
    by fire and sword, and there was none to give the rites of burial to
    those who were so cruelly murdered.

Thus Britain became again a country entirely pagan, and it was not until
the closing years of the sixth century that Christian missionaries from
Rome once more set foot in it.

                  *       *       *       *       *

To understand the events leading up to the arrival of these
missionaries, we must bear in mind that among the Angles and the Saxons
slavery was a common custom. Social ranks of life were very marked, and
all men belonged to one of three distinct classes. He who could trace
back his descent from the gods ranked as an _eorl_,[10] or man of noble
birth, and all others were divided into two classes—the free and the
unfree. A free man, who had the privilege of owning land by virtue of
his freedom, was known as a _ceorl_[10]; but he who was, body and soul,
the property of another was called a _theow_,[10] or slave.

Footnote 10:

  _É-orl_, _ké-orl_, and _thái-ow_ in pronunciation.

Slaves must have been very numerous in our country during Saxon days;
for wars were constantly being waged between the different tribes, and
prisoners of war naturally became the slaves of their captors. So also,
a man who had fallen into debt and who could not release himself became
the theow of the man to whom he owed money; and when he became a slave,
his wife and children became slaves likewise, and could be sold by his
master. Worst of all, a free man had the right to sell his own children
into slavery until they reached the age of seven.

Now it so happened that this horrible custom of selling children as
slaves was the direct cause of Christianity’s being re-introduced into
our country. A regular export trade in English children was carried on,
and about the year 580 there were one day standing exposed for sale in
the market of Rome some boys of fair complexion and beautiful hair.
Along the market chanced to pass a monk, who was struck with their
light-coloured hair and blue eyes, so different from the dark hair and
brown eyes of the South European peoples. On his asking the slave-dealer
from what country they had been brought, he was told that they came from
Britain, and that the people of that island had fair complexions.
Unsatisfied with this information, he asked of what race they were, and
was told that they were Angli.

‘_Non Angli, sed Angeli_,’ replied the monk. ‘For their look is
angelical, and it is meet that they should become joint heirs with the
angels in heaven.’

Then he sought further information concerning them.

‘What do you call the province from which the boys were brought hither?’

‘Deira,’ was the reply given him.

‘Deira!’ said the monk; ‘that is well said. _De ira eruti_—they shall be
snatched from the wrath of God!’

Again he asked: ‘What is the name of their king?’

‘Their king is named Aelle.’

‘_Alleluia!_’ replied the monk, playing on the name of the king. ‘It is
most fit that the love of God our Creator be sung in those parts.’

Fifteen years after this conversation took place in the market of Rome,
the monk had become famous as Pope Gregory the First. Then, in
fulfilment of the plans he had formed for rescuing the Angli from the
wrath of God, he chose a monk named Augustine to make a journey to
Britain with some companions. Augustine, with his small band, set out,
but on reaching Gaul was so dismayed by the reports of the savage
character of the people to whom he was bidden to go, that he turned
back, and sought release from the task which had been imposed upon him.
This Gregory refused, reminding him that ‘the more difficult the task,
the greater is the reward.’

Augustine once more set out, and landed at Ebbsfleet, in the Isle of
Thanet, in the Spring of the year 597. The king of Kent was then
Aethelberht, who had married a Christian princess, the daughter of the
king of the Franks. Thus the way had been made clear for the mission of
Augustine, and Kent soon became a Christian kingdom.

King Aelle of Northumbria died in 588, and thirteen years later his son
Edwin became king. Edwin had married the daughter of Aethelberht of
Kent, Aethelburga by name, and with her there came to Eoferwic Paulinus,
a monk.

For long this monk was unable to persuade Edwin to become a Christian;
but in 626 there was called a meeting of the king’s _Witan_, or ‘wise
men,’ each of whom was asked what he thought of the new doctrines then
being preached by Paulinus.[11] After Coifi,[12] the king’s high priest,
had expressed his opinion that the gods they worshipped had no power,
one of the king’s counsellors broke in with these words:—

    ‘Thus it seems to me, O my king, that the life of man on earth, in
    comparison with the life unknown to us, is just as if you were
    sitting at table with your ealdormen and thegns in wintertide—when
    the fire was kindled and your hall made warm, while it rained and
    snowed outside—and there came a sparrow and quickly flew through the
    hall, coming in by one door and passing out by the other. During the
    time that he is passing through the hall he is safe from the
    winter’s storm, but it is only for the twinkling of an eye, and in
    the shortest space of time he passes from winter into winter.

    ‘So seems the life of man—it is ours for a little while, but what
    goes before it and what follows after we know not. Therefore if this
    teaching makes anything clearer and more certain, it is meet that we
    follow it.’

Footnote 11:

  The place of meeting was either York or Londesborough.

Footnote 12:

  _Kóh-i-fi_ in pronunciation.

What an apt comparison—the life of a man is like the brief flight of a
sparrow through a pleasant room! Many a time must those present when the
words were spoken have seen a bewildered sparrow fly swiftly through the
king’s hall, entering it to seek shelter from the storm without, and
leaving it to seek safety from the smoke of the fire and the noise of
men’s voices within. And what more suitable illustration of man’s
ignorance of the hereafter could have been chosen? We can imagine its
effect upon Coifi, who, on hearing the words of the king’s counsellor,

    ‘I see clearly that what we have been worshipping is but naught. For
    the more earnestly I have sought the truth through our worship, the
    less I have found it. Therefore, O king, I now advise that we
    speedily destroy and burn with fire the altars which we hallowed
    without receiving any benefit.’

Thus were King Edwin of Deira and his _Witan_ converted to the true
religion, and the temple which contained the heathen altars destroyed.
Coifi himself sought permission to be the first to cast down the idols
it contained, and the king granted him weapons and a horse for the
purpose. Riding to the temple, he first cast his spear against the
altar, and then called to his companions that they should pull down the
idols and burn them. ‘The place is yet pointed out,’ wrote Bede one
hundred years later, ‘not far east from Eoferwic beyond the river
Derwent, and is to-day called Godmundingaham, where the high priest,
through the inspiration of the true God, cast down and destroyed the
altars which he himself had previously hallowed.’

‘Not far east from York, beyond the river Derwent’—such was Bede’s
description of the place of this memorable deed. GODMUNDINGAHAM, he
says, was its new name, and GOODMANHAM it is in our own day. Tradition
says further that the present church, dedicated to All Saints, stands on
the exact site of the heathen temple which Coifi, the heathen high
priest, was the first to profane. But whether tradition speaks true we
have no means of knowing.


  (_From an old Engraving_).

                  *       *       *       *       *

The immediate results of the adoption of Christianity at Goodmanham were
the building of a wooden church at York, and the baptism in it of King
Edwin on Easter Day 627. This wooden church, dedicated to St. Peter, was
shortly afterwards succeeded by a larger and loftier church of stone,
which, in its turn, was destined to be succeeded by another yet larger
and loftier—the Minster that we count to-day as one of the glories of
Northern England.

Six years later King Edwin was slain in battle against Penda, the
heathen king of Mercia, and Cadwallon, a British king, ‘more fierce and
cruel than the heathen, for he was a barbarian.’ The head of Edwin was
taken to York and buried in the stone church of St. Peter which he had
begun to build; and Paulinus, the first Archbishop of York, fled by sea
southwards to Kent with Edwin’s widowed queen and their two children.
Then for the whole of an ‘unhappy and godless’ year Northumbria was
wasted by Cadwallon.

At the end of the year Edwin’s nephew Oswald, with an army small but
strengthened by belief in Christ, fought against Cadwallon. Now Oswald
was ‘a man dear to God,’ and before the battle he caused to be made a
hastily-constructed cross of wood, which was erected in a pit dug in
front of his army. With his own hands he set up this cross and held it
till his men had made it firm with heaped-up soil. Then did Oswald call
to him all his men and gave them his command: ‘Let us all bend the knee
and together ask the almighty, living, and true God to defend us with
His mercy from this proud and cruel foe; for He knows that we are justly
fighting for the safety of our people.’

This they all did; and in the fight which followed, Oswald gained a
complete victory, and Cadwallon was slain. The place of Oswald’s victory
was called ‘Heavenfield’; and, says Bede, ‘many people to-day take chips
and shavings from the wood of that holy cross and put them in water, and
sprinkle the water on sick men and beasts, or give them it to drink, and
they are at once cured.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

With the accession of King Oswald Christianity returned to the people of
the north. This time, however, it was brought not by the monks of Rome,
but by British monks from a monastery which had been established by
Columba, an Irish saint, on the tiny island of Iona, lying off the west
coast of Scotland.

It was to this monastery that Oswald sent asking for teachers for his
people. In reply there was sent him a monk of hard and stern nature, to
whom the people would not gladly listen; so that he was able to effect
little, but returned to Iona and reported that he could do nothing
because the people of Northumbria were unteachable. ‘Was it not,
brother,’ said one of his fellow monks, ‘you who were not sufficiently
patient and gentle with those untaught men?’ The question made all
present turn to the speaker, and they quickly decided that he was worthy
to be sent as teacher to their friend, King Oswald.

So came to Northumbria the saintly Aidan, whose success in converting
the heathen Angles was due chiefly to the fact that as he taught so he
himself lived. For, says Bede,

    he in no way desired or sought after the things that are of this
    world; but all the worldly goods that were given him by kings or by
    rich men he gladly gave to the poor and needy who came to him.
    Through all the land he travelled, visiting towns and wayside
    villages, and never on horseback, unless there were special need,
    but always on foot. And wheresoever he came and whomsoever he met,
    whether rich or poor, he turned to them. If they were unbelievers,
    then he invited them to believe in Christ; if they were believers he
    strengthened them in their belief, and with word and deed stirred
    them up to almsgiving and the performance of good deeds.

By the labours of Aidan and his fellow monks the men of the north again
became Christians; and such earnest Christians were they that they
hallowed with the ‘Sign of the Cross’ the places at which they held
their meetings for the purposes of government.

A British burial mound was often found convenient for an Anglian _mōt_,
or meeting,—whence the name ‘Moot Hill’—and its purpose was marked by a
large trench in the form of a cross cut through the mound down into the
chalk. The four arms of the trench were made roughly equal, and always
pointed north, south, east, and west. Cowlam Cross, near which the
village church was afterwards erected, is cut seven feet deep in the
solid chalk, and another similar cross with arms twenty-one feet long
has been discovered at Helperthorpe.


Where no convenient mound existed, the place of meeting was sometimes
marked in the opposite way. Instead of cutting a deep trench they raised
at right angles two ridges of earth and stones, entirely surrounded by a
shallow ditch.

Such crosses have been named _Embankment Crosses_, and eleven have been
discovered within a radius of fifteen miles from Driffield. A favourite
name for them among the country folk is that of _bield_, or shelter,
because they were supposed to have been built up to serve as shelters
for the cattle. There is one near East Heslerton, known locally as the
‘Old Bield,’ the arms of which measure 45 yards each, north and south,
and 50 yards east and west. Another formerly existed near the site of
the ancient village of Haywold. Ploughing operations have caused
this—and probably many others—to be destroyed; but its name, ‘Christ
Cross,’ is still preserved.

With the introduction of Christianity there took place great development
of the arts of peace in home and village life. ‘The English forged the
ploughshare rather than the sword. They built weirs, and fished, and set
up watermills by the rivers. Boat-building, brewing, leather-tanning,
pottery, dyeing, weaving, the working of gold and silver, and
embroidery, grew and soon began to flourish. The days of merchandise
succeeded the days of plunder; life became gentler, nearer in spirit to
the homes of England as we now conceive them.’

                      THE COMING OF THE NORTHMEN.

Two hundred years pass onwards from the coming of Saint Aidan to
Northumbria, and we are again among scenes of famine, sword, and fire.
Let us see what the records of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles have to tell.

 A.D. 787.    In these days first came three ships of the Northmen, and
              when the bailiff rode down to them, and would take the men
              to the king’s town—for he knew not who they were—he was
              slain. Those were the first ships of the Danish men that
              came to the land of the Angles.

 A.D. 833.    In this year King Egbert fought against the crews of
              thirty-five ships at Charmouth, and there was great
              slaughter, and the Danish men possessed the battlefield.

 A.D. 851.    In this year the heathen men first remained over the
              winter, and in the same year came three hundred and fifty
              ships into the mouth of the Thames, and broke into
              Canterbury and London, and put to flight Beorhtwulf, King
              of Mercia.

 A.D. 867.    In this year the heathen army went from East Anglia over
              the mouth of the Humber to York ... and there was immense
              slaughter of the Northumbrians, some within York, and some
              without, and the survivors made peace with the heathen

These records show that the history of the fifth and sixth centuries was
being repeated at the close of the eighth century, and during the ninth.
They tell us of the inroads of a new race of free-booters, men of
Northern Europe—coming from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden—men among whom
was a passionate love of the sea and an overwhelming desire for the
plunder of other lands. Sea-pirates they are now often called, but we
must remember that among them what we should call piracy was looked upon
as the most honourable career in life.

Each year as Spring came round these Danish sea-rovers would gather
together their men, take advantage of the north-east winds, and sail
away to Britain, or the northern coast of France, or even to the shores
of the Mediterranean Sea, and return laden with plunder on the coming of

One thing the records which have been quoted make very clear. In 787
‘first came three ships of the Northmen’; less than fifty years later
King Egbert of Wessex was fighting against the crews of thirty-five
vessels; and in 851 the fleet of ships entering the Thames numbered no
fewer than three hundred and fifty. What does this astonishing increase
in numbers mean? It can mean only one thing—that the Northmen found
their marauding expeditions to England profitable. England, in other
words, was worth plundering. In fact, England was so prosperous a
country, and its churches and monasteries contained such treasures of
gold and silver, that the Northmen found it worth their while to build
more ‘long-ships’—as their ships of war were called—in order that they
might plunder it more completely.

                  *       *       *       *       *

But as time passed away the Northmen came not merely to plunder and
return home, but to seek new homes in the fertile lands of Britain. In
later records we find mention of peace being made between the Angles and
the Danes without the fighting of a battle:—

 A.D. 872.    In this year went the heathen army into Northumbria. They
              also took up winter quarters at Torksey, and the Mercians
              made peace with the invaders.

 A.D. 876.    In this year Healfdene divided the Northumbrian land, and
              the Danes gave themselves up to ploughing and tilling the

Two years after the last record Alfred, King of the West Saxons, made
with Guthrum, the Danish leader, a treaty by which all Northern and
Eastern England—all England, that is, north of Watling Street, the Roman
road leading from London to Chester—was ceded to the Danes to be ruled
according to their laws. Henceforth this district becomes known as the

So history goes on repeating itself. For just as the Angles and Saxons
had warred against the Britons, and then made settlements and turned to
forest-clearing and ploughing, sowing and reaping; so a few centuries
later came the Danes to make war upon them in turn, and finally to take
possession of uncleared and hitherto unclaimed lands whereon to make for
themselves new homes.

Very numerous settlements were made by the Danes in the part of England
known as the Danelagh, and most of these may be recognised by the
village names of to-day. What to an Angle were a _tūn_ and a _wīc_[13]
were to a Dane a _bȳr_[13] and a _thorp_. Hence the name-endings _by_
and _thorp_ denote respectively the sites of a Danish farmhouse and a
Danish village; and it is interesting to pick out such names on a
large-scale map, and see how they occur in groups or succeed one another
along the line of an old highway.

Footnote 13:

  Pronounced _week_ and _beer_, respectively.

Thus in the East Riding, within a radius of five miles of the Anglian
settlements of Bridlington and Hessle, we shall find the Danish names
Hilderthorpe, Wilsthorpe, Fraisthorpe, Haisthorpe, Caythorpe, Carnaby,
Bessingby, Sewerby; and Anlaby, Willerby, Skidby, Wauldby, Tranby,
Ferriby. Other groups will be found round York, Malton, and Pocklington.
The best example of the occurrence of a succession of Danish names along
the line of an ancient highway is to be found on the other side of the
Humber. Here, along the road from the Humber to the old Roman station at
Caistor, passing through the Anglian settlements of Horkstow and Brigg,
there are no fewer than fifteen villages whose names end in _by_, and
one of them has in addition the suffix _Thorpe_.[14]

Footnote 14:

  There are more Danish place names in Lincolnshire than in all the rest
  of England south of the Humber. North of the Humber the largest number
  is to be found in the East Riding.


Place names ending in _by_ and _thorp_ by no means exhaust the list of
Danish settlements. A complete list of name-endings which are Norse in
origin would include the following:—

   beck                 a stream.
   by                   a farmstead.
   fell                 a hillside.
   force or foss        a waterfall.
   garth                an enclosure.
   gill                 a ravine.
   holm               } an island, or a piece of firm land rising
   holme              } out of the surrounding marsh.
   how                  a hill.
   lund                 a sacred grove.
   ness                 a headland.
   scar                 a cliff.
   tarn                 a small mountain lake.
   thorp or thorpe      a village.
   thwaite              a forest clearing.
   toft                 an enclosure.
   wick or wyke         a bay or creek.

Examples of all these can be found on the map of Yorkshire, and most of
them occur in the East Riding. But it must be remembered that the modern
place name is not always a sure guide in this direction. Names have in
many cases changed during the course of centuries. For example, the name
‘Nunburnholme,’ which looks Danish in origin, was originally _Brunham_;
while, on the other hand, ‘Kilnsea’ and ‘Withernsea’ have replaced the
older Danish names _Hornes_ and _Witfornes_.

The two name-endings which conclude the list given above are very
interesting, because it was the Danish word _vīk_[15] that gave rise to
the name by which the sea-rovers became generally known in our country.
_Vikings_, or men of the creeks—so they were called; and so may we call
them, if we remember that their letter _v_ stood for the sound of our
_w_, and that their name is to be pronounced _Wik-ings_ and not, as it
is so commonly mispronounced, _Vi-kings_.

Footnote 15:

  Pronounced exactly like the Anglian word _wīc_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

A hardy and a daring race were these old Vikings. There were no
‘wasters’ and few ‘slackers’ among them. When a Viking’s son was born,
the babe was shown to its father for his approval or disapproval. If the
father liked the look of his babe, and thought that it showed signs of
growing up into a manly and sturdy boy, it was taken back to its mother
to be ‘raised.’ But woe betide the babe that looked puny and sickly, or
that showed signs of deformity! The father’s orders were that it should
be taken outside his dwelling and exposed to the cold so that it died.

‘What a cruel custom!’ you will think. Yes, so it was. But the Vikings
lived in an age when men looked upon things very differently from the
way in which we look upon them. In a cruel age the Northmen were so
cruel, and the fear that they inspired in the hearts of the people whose
lands they plundered was so great, that the monks inserted in their
Litany the prayer:—

          (From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, deliver us!)

There is little wonder that, with such a rearing as the children of the
Vikings received, a race of warriors grew up among whom was the
unwritten law that ‘a Dane who wished to acquire the character of a
brave man should always attack two enemies, stand firm and receive the
attack of three, retire only one pace from four, and flee from no fewer
than five.’

Social distinctions among the Danes were similar to those among the
Angles. In place of the Anglian _eorl_, _ceorl_, and _theow_ were the
Danish _jarl_,[16] _karl_, and _thrall_; with this difference—that the
Danish _jarl_ was a military commander and not a man who could pride
himself on being descended from the gods. It is from the word ‘jarl’
that our English word ‘earl’ has arisen.

Footnote 16:

  Pronounced _yarl_

                  *       *       *       *       *

Like their cousins the Angles, the Northmen were heathens when they
invaded our shores.

The Wōden, Tīw, and Frīg of the Angles were the Odin, Tȳr and Freya of
the Danes. But their greatest god was Thor, the Thunderer, whose name
will be recognised in the name for the fifth day of the week.



Like the Angles, also, the heathen Northmen eventually became
Christians, and evidences of their Christianity have come down to us. In
the vicarage garden at North Frodingham is a broken cross head of Danish
tenth-century workmanship, and in the churchyard at Nunburnholme is
preserved a broken cross shaft sculptured with figures of men, women,
children, and animals.

But the most interesting relic of Danish Christianity is a sun-dial now
built high up in one of the interior walls of the church at Aldbrough.
Round it, in Anglian letters, is the inscription:—

                             GUNWARA SAULA.

Put into modern English this would read:—

          Ulf caused to be built a church for himself and for
                          the soul of Gunvör.


  _Danish Sun-Dial Built into the Wall of Aldbrough Church._

Though written in Anglian letters, the names Ulf and Gunvör are both
Danish names, and the word ‘Hānum’ is likewise a purely Danish word. Who
this Ulf was we do not know, for the name was a common one. One jarl Ulf
married the sister of King Cnut, and another was the owner of lands at
Aldbrough and Brandesburton during the reign of King Edward the

                      IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 892.

                    DETAILS IN THE OLD NORSE SAGAS.

The year of Our Lord is eight hundred and ninety-two, and the scene lies
a couple of miles north of the village of Hessle, on the Yorkshire bank
of the Humber.

Twenty-five years before this date a heathen army had crossed over the
Humber on their march to York, and a good number of broken heads and
hewn-off limbs had been the result of their visit to the province of
Deira. Then, like sensible people, the invaders and the invaded had come
to terms. Villages of the Angles were not too numerous in the district.
At any rate there was plenty of unoccupied land lying around them, and
this was just what the invaders wanted; for their brothers and sisters
had grown so numerous in the lands across the sea that those who had
left their homes had no great desire to go back to them.

Among the band of heathen Northmen had been a jarl named Anlaf, and
between Anlaf and the ealdorman at Beverley it had been agreed that the
former should choose land whereon to settle his men somewhere in the
four miles of unoccupied country lying between Hessle and Cottingham.
Also his men were to be allowed to choose wives from among the maidens
of these two villages or the neighbouring ones of Weighton and
Riplingham. In return the Northmen were to give their attention to
clearing and tilling the land they had chosen, and to conduct
themselves, as far as could reasonably be expected, in a manner harmless
to the people of all the surrounding villages.

Such had been the beginnings of Anlafsbyr. The land for settlement was
chosen—nice dry land on rising ground with a natural drainage to the
river—rough shelters for the men were first made, and the ground was
then marked out for the building of Anlaf’s hall. Three times was the
ground measured for this, and each time after the first the measurements
proved slightly larger than the previous ones. This boded good luck, and
the work was therefore entered upon with spirit.

In the course of time the building of the hall was finished. Then came
the rewards to Anlaf’s men for their labours. The surrounding land was
marked out and divided up, each karl receiving a portion, large or small
in accordance with his own worth; and a considerable portion was left
over to belong to all the karls in common. The thralls of course got no
land—they did not count as men but as cattle. Probably some of them were
exchanged with the ceorls of Hessle for four-legged cattle.

In three years’ time Anlafsbyr was a thriving settlement. The omens had
promised good luck and the good luck came. Meanwhile Ketil, the son of
Anlaf, chose himself a wife from Riplingham. So did others for
themselves; and some, not finding the looks of the maidens of Hessle and
Beverley and Weighton and Riplingham to their liking, went farther
afield and made raids on the villages of Hotham and Sancton, only to
retire with several cracked heads and broken arms for their pains.

But this was an exception to the general rule. In most cases the Anglian
maidens were quite willing to wed the handsome strangers, even if their
language was at first difficult to understand, and their methods of
wooing somewhat rough and unpolished. In fact they rather approved of
the roughness than disapproved of it, and to be singled out for one’s
good looks and carried off by one of those bold Northmen was something
for a maiden to be proud of.

The result of the frequent marriages between the Northmen and the Angles
quickly became apparent. Husband and wife spoke languages sufficiently
alike for one to make out the other’s meaning in most cases. But the
children were, quite naturally, brought up to speak the tongue of their
mother and not that of their father; so that as time went on the
language of the Northmen disappeared, or rather became merged in the
language of the Angles. Thus although Anlaf and his karls spoke the
Norse tongue, their grandchildren spoke the English. But for all that,
they lived in the Danelagh, where Danish customs and Danish laws were

When Anlaf died in 871, Ketil Anlafsson began to rule his father’s
settlement. His two sons, Ulf and Hrafn, went, as custom decreed they
ought to go, on Viking raids as soon as they reached the manly age of
fifteen or sixteen. Four years of these raids sufficed to prove the
prowess of Ulf Ketilsson, and his right eventually to succeed his father
as jarl. Then he settled down to help his father, who had become a man
past middle age; but Hrafn his brother continued at sea. In 890 Ketil
Anlafsson died, and his son Ulf was proclaimed jarl. Hrafn was then
away. But now in the Spring of 892 he has just returned, to be honoured
by all men as the first among them to make the perilous voyage to an
island lying far to the north-west, whose name was spoken of as

                  *       *       *       *       *

Great therefore are the rejoicings at Anlafsbyr. Jarl Ulf has ridden at
full speed to the river-shore on hearing that three ships have been
sighted coming up the river with red, blue and green sails like those of
his brother’s ships. Before he leaves home he has given instructions to
his wife Helga that the hall is to be got ready for a great feast in
case the ships are his brother’s. A messenger has quickly brought back
the good tidings, and preparations are being pushed on rapidly, that the
welcome Hrafn and his men receive shall be one fitting to the occasion.

Let us now glance round the hall built by Anlaf and see what it is like.

Picture to yourself an oblong hall built entirely of wood, and with a
steep roof supported by upright and cross beams. It is built east and
west and at each end is a door, one the men’s door, the other the
women’s door. Along each side there is a low aisle, which is partitioned
off into small sleeping-rooms for the jarl’s family and guests.

Down the middle of the hall are long stone hearths on which are
smouldering three fires of wood and turf. Above each fire is a hole in
the roof through which the smoke makes its escape after eddying round
the rafters, which are covered with a thick layer of soot. The windows
are high up, of just sufficient size for a man’s body to be able to
squeeze through, and the holes are covered with the membrane obtained
from the inside of a cow, which is almost as transparent as glass.

Along the hall will be two long tables, constructed of planks resting
upon trestles. At the middle of the south side stands the high seat of
the jarl, and opposite it is another which is always reserved for the
most honoured guest. Thralls in white woollen clothes are now running
hither and thither placing the long tables in position, and coaxing the
smouldering fires into a big roaring blaze; for the nights are still
very cold.

Adjoining the hall are numerous other buildings—the women’s sleeping
rooms and the kitchens and storehouses. The last two are a scene of
bustle. Bondwomen are hurrying about in all directions. If you look at
this one you will perhaps notice that she has lost an ear. It has been
cut off for an act of pilfering, but she tries to hide her loss by
arranging her hair over the place where the ear should be. In the
distance is another bondwoman who cannot possibly hide the marks of her
punishment. Three times has she been caught pilfering, with the result
that she now has to manage as best she can without an ear at all and
without a nose.

                  *       *       *       *       *

But outside there is a great noise of shouting and the trampling of
horses and of men. Hrafn Ketilsson has arrived with his men, and welcome
is being given him by Jarl Ulf and his wife, Helga Eiriksson. It is not
yet time for the meal now being prepared, and Hrafn declares that he is
not hungry one little bit; so sports are hastily arranged on the green
in front of the hall. There shall be a great horse-fight; for two of
Ulf’s karls have horses which have been thoroughly trained to fight, and
neither of which has yet been beaten.

The horse-fight takes place accordingly. Each karl makes his horse rise
on its hind legs and attack the other, biting it wherever it can. As the
contest goes on, the horses get enraged and their masters incite them by
blows on their hind quarters. Finally one of the horses gives in and
runs away, leaving the other the victor.

Then there is a running contest. Hrafn the Viking has among his troop a
man from Ireland, named Gilli, whom he wagers to beat any horse in
speed. A dozen horses are immediately offered, and the best of them, a
horse belonging to a karl named Hrolf, is chosen. Gilli will race
Hrolf’s horse; and if the horse wins, its owner shall have a gold ring
given him by Hrafn. For half a mile they race along, Gilli being all the
while at the horse’s shoulder, and the result being therefore a dead

‘But,’ says Hrolf, ‘you had hold of the strap of my saddle-girth, and my
horse pulled you along.’ ‘Then,’ replies Gilli, ‘we will have it over

This time Gilli starts a yard in front of the horse, and at the end of
the half-mile he is still the same distance in front. ‘Did I this time
take hold of your saddle-girth?’ asks Gilli. ‘No,’ is Hrolf’s answer,
‘but my horse had no chance. You were just in front of him all the way,
and I was afraid of riding you down.’

‘Very well,’ says Gilli, ‘we will have the race over again.’

So for the third time they race, and this time the horse is given twenty
yards start. But Gilli catches Hrolf up, passes him, stands still till
the horse is again in front, then starts again, and finishes ten yards
in front. There is tremendous cheering, and Jarl Ulf gives Gilli a gold
ring of weight equal to that offered by his brother to the horse’s

Next a game of ball. Sides are chosen, and a hard wooden ball and two
wooden bats are brought forth. The bats are given to one man on each
side. The ball is thrown up into the air, and one of the batsmen hits it
with all his force in the direction of the other. The second batsman
tries to hit it back and not let it pass him, but before he can hit it
he is pulled down by the men of the other side. So the game goes on. It
is by no means a gentle game, for the occasion is a special one and all
the players are on their mettle. When ‘time’ is called and bruises and
wounds are reckoned up, it is found that the players have sustained
three broken arms, a broken thigh-bone, and the loss of one eye. Lesser
injuries go uncounted.

                  *       *       *       *       *

By this time the feast is ready, and so are the men. If good appetites
are any indication of good health, the uninjured men are all in a state
of very vigorous health. Jarl Ulf Ketilsson leads the way to his high
seat, and Hrafn the Viking is shown to the high seat opposite. Swords,
shields, and axes are hung on nails driven into the walls above the side
benches. By the side of Ulf sits his wife Helga. The scene is one of
varied colour, the blue, red, green, scarlet, and purple kirtles of the
freemen contrasting strongly with the white garments of the thralls who
serve the food.

Huge joints of beef and pork are brought in from the kitchens, and there
are numerous calls for the former; for there has been little or no fresh
meat since the beginning of last November, and men’s stomachs have a way
of getting tired of salted pig, when they have fed on it for five months
without a break. Plates are of wood, fingers serve for forks, and each
man cuts off with his knife-dagger the amount of meat and of bread that
he feels himself capable of eating. Ale is served to the jarl and his
family in bullock’s horns adorned with gold and silver bands, to the
others in wooden drinking-cups. Half-way through the feast Helga leaves
her seat, fills a horn with wine, and offers it to Hrafn. As the Viking
drains it at a draught there is a great cheer, which takes a long time
to die down.

So the meal goes on. There is little variety in the food, but there is
plenty of it, and that is the important thing where hungry men are
concerned. As they eat, all are talking. This karl is describing to
another how he has just been ‘had’ by a fellow at Weighton, who sold him
a thrall guaranteed sound in wind and limb. But the thrall cannot run
twice round Jarl Ulf’s hall without getting the stitch. His new master
is vehemently explaining that he intends to get his money back.

Another is telling how he has seen a karl’s wife and her bondwoman take
the ordeal at Hundmansbyr. The bondwoman had accused her mistress of
wrong-doing, and the mistress had challenged her bondwoman to go to the

So the priests had got ready a bucket of boiling water, at the bottom of
which were placed two sacred stones. In sight of all, the mistress had
plunged in her hand and brought up one of the stones. And her arm showed
no signs of a hurt. Then the bondwoman had attempted the same. But her
arm had been frightfully scalded. Thus the innocent had been
distinguished from the guilty, and the bondwoman had been taken to the
nearest ditch and drowned.

Meanwhile Hrafn the Viking’s karls have been pouring into eager ears
tales of their adventures among the snow and ice of the seas far away to
the north. One has a walrus tooth to show, and others have the claws of
a huge white beast that can walk on its hind legs and can squeeze a
man’s body in its arms till every bone is broken. They have the skin of
one of these fearsome creatures on board down at the river-shore,
intended by their Viking chief as a present to his brother’s wife. A
fine bed it will make, but it cost the lives of three men to obtain.
Would their listeners hear wonders? There are plenty to tell. In the
seas from which they have returned they sailed for four days without a
night, while the sun went round and round in a great fiery ring.

While this talk is going on, a shame-faced fellow is trying to slink in
unobserved at the men’s door. But he is greeted with cries of
‘Nithing!’[17] and receives a volley of beef bones that first bowls him
over and then makes him depart more hurriedly than he had come in. Some
of Hrafn’s men follow him, for he has been guilty of stealing from a
comrade on one of the ships. His head will be shaven to-morrow, then
dipped in tar and covered with eider down, so that he may remember for
the future that honourable karls do not steal the belongings of their

Footnote 17:

  This is the old Norse word for our ‘Villain!’

Tables are eventually cleared much more quickly than they were filled.
Places are now changed. The jarl and his brother play chess, others play
at dice. A wrestling-match is soon fixed up, in which the combatants are
strapped together at the waist and each will try to throw the other.

Following this there is a tug-of-war across the fire. An ox-hide is
brought in and an end seized by each of two men standing on opposite
sides of the hearth stones. Each tries to pull the other into the fire.
But they are fairly equally matched, and for some time neither succeeds.
Then tempers rise. The shouts of the supporters of each urge them on,
and one succeeds in pulling the other on to the fire. As he has drunk
deeply of strong ale, he is not content with his victory, but throws the
ox-hide over his fallen opponent and then jumps upon him to mark his
defeat. When the defeated karl’s friends succeed in pulling him out of
the fire, he is, naturally, somewhat scorched.

Now comes in a juggler. He can perform many tricks, and among them is
that of keeping three daggers in motion, so that one is always in his
hand and the two others in the air. Further, he offers to show his skill
on the following day by stepping from oar to oar on the outside of a
ship while it is being rowed. He will step thus from stem to stern and
back again, and moreover will keep his three daggers moving all the
time. The challenge is accepted and he shall have his choice of presents
from Hrafn if he can succeed in doing what he says he will.

Challenges are in the air, it seems. Here is Bersi, one of Hrafn’s
karls, challenging Egil, a karl of Ulf, because he finds that while he
has been away from home Egil has married the maiden to whom he was
betrothed. And Bersi is not at all pleased with the course of events, so
he has challenged the other karl for his wife. To-morrow they will go to
the _holmgang_,[18] and fight it out; and if Egil is not the victor, he
will lose his wife and Bersi will gain one.

Footnote 18:

  The _holmgang_ was a duel fought according to fixed rules on a piece
  of ground specially marked out for the purpose. In earlier times it
  was fought on a _holm_, or island, whence the name.

The excitement caused by Bersi’s challenge is dying down when further
excitement arises from the entrance of a karl with news of a strange
sight to be seen in the sky. It had been a dark, cloudy night, but
suddenly the clouds broke up and there between two clouds appeared a
star with a long light streaming from it like a tail of fire. It is
there for all to see if they don’t believe him.

So a rush is made for the men’s door and the hall is left deserted.
Outside there are groups of wondering men looking upwards at a bright
‘hairy star,’ and asking one another with bated breath what evil fortune
to their land this marvellous sight portends.

                    TWO FAMOUS BATTLES OF LONG AGO.

In 901 died Alfred, King of the West Saxons, and Edward, his son,
succeeded him, to be succeeded in turn by his son Aethelstan in the year
925. King Alfred had, it will be remembered, agreed with Guthrum the
Dane to divide England into two parts, one of which each of them should

But Alfred’s son Edward enlarged his power so greatly that he was in 924
‘chosen to father and lord by the Scots King and all the Scots people,
by all the men of Northumbria—both English and Danes and Northmen—and by
the King of the Strathclyde Welsh.’ To Aethelstan was accorded still
greater honour, for it fell to his lot to be the first king crowned as
‘King of England.’

Now in the reign of Aethelstan there took place the greatest battle that
had yet been fought between the English and the Northmen. The compact of
Edward’s reign was short-lived; for in 937 the Danes of Northumbria
entered into a league with Constantine, King of the Scots, and Owen,
King of the Strathclyde Britons, against the King of England. Their
league was joined also by two Norse Kings from Ireland, named Anlaf, one
of whom had married the daughter of Constantine. To meet these
disturbers of the peace Aethelstan marched north, and at a place known
as BRUNANBURH the famous battle between them was fought.

So great was the victory here won by King Aethelstan that the chronicler
who records it bursts into song when he tells how

                Aethelstan the King, the lord of Earls,
                The bestower of gifts, and his brother also,
                Edmund the Prince, life-long honour
                Won in combat, with the edges of swords,
                At Brunanburh.

    All day, from the rising of ‘God’s candle’ until its setting, went
    on the fight; so that the battlefield streamed with blood, and many
    a Northman lay on the ground struck down with spears. Weary and
    sated with the fight fled the Scots, pursued by the West Saxons with
    swords new-sharpened on the grindstone. To none of those who, doomed
    to death, accompanied Anlaf over the sea did the Mercians refuse the
    hard hand-play. On the battlefield there lay five young kings put to
    sleep by the sword, with seven of Anlaf’s jarls and an uncounted
    host of shipmen and of Scots. Then fled the Northmen to the shore of
    the yellow flood; and so also fled Constantine, who had left behind
    his son, borne down with many wounds.

    Thus departed in their nailed ships those of the Northmen whom the
    spears had left alive, and the King and his brother sought again the
    West Saxon land, exulting in victory. Behind them they left the
    dusky-coated kite, the swart, horny-beaked raven, the white-tailed
    eagle, and the grey wolf—all eager to feast upon the corpses of the

Such is the picture of the battlefield painted in words by the Saxon
chronicler. And when we read it we wonder to ourselves: ‘Where was
Brunanburh, at which this great battle was fought?’ But the question is
one to which no certain answer can be given. The name ‘Brunanburh’ is
lost, and the nearest approach to it among the village names of to-day
is Bromborough, on the Cheshire shore of the Mersey.

This may possibly be the site of the battle; but it is curious that two
writers of old chronicles, both living within two hundred years of the
actual date of the battle, agree in saying that the Norse fleet invaded
England by the Humber. So also said the Bridlington monk, Peter of
Langtoft, who certainly ought to know; and a Lincolnshire hermit, who
translated Peter’s Norman-French into English, is very definite about

            At Brunesburgh on Humber thei gan tham assaile,
            Fro morn unto even lasted that bataile.

If Brunanburh did lie ‘on Humber,’ on which side of the river was it?
Some claim that the battle took place at Kirkburn near Driffield, and
others put it at Little Weighton, nearer the river.

But one thing is certain. King Aethelstan and his men must have marched
north by either the Watling Street or the Ermin Street. If the Norse
fleet did come into the Humber, he must have come north by the Ermin
Street, and his army could hardly have crossed the river under the
circumstances. However much, therefore, we should like to assert that
the greatest battle of olden times was fought in the East Riding of
Yorkshire, it would be wiser not to do so, but to let our somewhat
despised sister-county of Lincolnshire have the benefit of the doubt.

A glance at the map given at the end of this book will show about four
miles from the Humber, on the road from Barton to Caistor, a village
named Burnham. At this village there are still to be seen the remains of
an ancient entrenchment enclosing a space of about 64 acres. One of the
half-dozen ancient spellings of the name of the manor of Burnham is
_Brunan_, and the suffix _burh_ means ‘a fortified place.’

Further, men’s bones, Saxon coins, and a Saxon sword have been ploughed
up on the adjoining fields; while just south of Burnham there was in the
eighteenth century a road known as ‘Bloody Gate’ and just north of it
there is still a ‘Dead Man Dale.’ So we shall have to concede that the
southern bank of the ‘yellow flood’ has some considerable claims to the
possession of the site of the famous battle of Brunanburh.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Let us pass on to the middle of the next century. For twenty-eight years
England had been ruled by Danish Kings, when, in 1042, the Saxons came
into their own again and the third Saxon Edward began to rule in London.

But Danish jarls still ruled at JORVIK[19] and Jarl Siward, the eighth
of these, was the greatest of them all. In 1054 he took a large army and
a fleet into Scotland, where he fought against the Scots in
Aberdeenshire, and slew their king Macbeth. Siward’s son Osbern was also
slain in the battle, and when news of his son’s death was brought to the
old jarl, he rejoiced that his son had died a worthy death. In
Shakespeare’s play _Macbeth_ it is put thus. Ross, a Scots nobleman, has
just broken to Siward the news that his son ‘has paid a soldier’s

      _Siward._                     Had he his hurts before?

      _Ross._    Ay, on the front.

      _Siward._                     Why then, God’s soldier be he!
               Had I as many sons as I have hairs,
               I would not wish them to a fairer death.

Footnote 19:

  Pronounced _Yór-wik_.

One year later Siward’s own death took place, and these were his words
when he felt that he was fated to die not on the battlefield but in his

    ‘I feel shame not to have fallen in one of the many battles that I
    have fought, and to have been preserved to die like a cow. Close me
    in my mail of proof, gird my sword on me, fit the helmet on my head,
    and put a shield in my left hand and a gilded axe in my right, that
    I may die like a soldier.’

So died the lord of the manors of Barmston and Holmpton, and the
greatest of the Anglo-Danes of Northumbria. After his death his earldom
was given by King Edward to Tostig, the son of Earl Godwin the West
Saxon; and if one-half of the stories told about him by the old
chroniclers are true, the Northumbrians must have felt the change

One of Tostig’s little jokes was played at his half-brother Harold’s
hall at Hereford. The two had quarrelled at Windsor in the presence of
King Edward, and Tostig, expelled from the Court in disgrace, had ridden
to Hereford, where he found his brother’s servants busily making ready
for a visit from the King. To vent his anger on his brother he killed
the servants—so the story goes—chopped up their bodies, threw the legs,
arms and trunks into hogsheads of wine and barrels of cider, and gaily
sent word to the King that ‘he had provided against his coming plenty of
salt meat.’

Small wonder that the proud Anglo-Danes of the north refused to submit
for long to such a one of the despised West Saxons. In 1064 they
rebelled against their unpopular jarl, outlawed him, slew his servants,
both English and Danes, seized all his weapons and his gold and silver
in Jorvik, and sent for Morcar, the son of Jarl Aelfgar, to be their
jarl. Tostig fled to Baldwin, Count of Flanders, vowing vengeance on his
half-brother Harold, who had advised the King to fall in with the wishes
of the Northumbrians.

Two years passed away. Edward had died and Harold, Tostig’s
half-brother, had been chosen by the Witena-gemōt to be King of England.
Now was the time for Tostig to have his revenge. So he enlisted the aid
of another Harold—Harold Hardrada, King of Norway, a warrior huge of
stature and dauntless in courage, who had, when an exile from Norway,
won fame in Sicily, Greece and Africa, and who had formed at
Constantinople a bodyguard to the Emperor, consisting of five hundred
Northmen. Together they would conquer England, and Harold of Norway
should be its king, as Cnut, King of Denmark, had been before him.

With a fleet of 240 warships Harold of Norway set out for the conquest
of England, his royal banner, the ‘Land-Waster’ proudly flying aloft.
But omens of misfortune to come were not wanting; for he and his men had
bad dreams at night—dreams of the English host marching down to the
sea-shore led by a wolf on whose back was seated a ‘witch-wife.’
Moreover, the witch-wife fed the wolf with the corpses of Northmen; and
as fast as one was eaten, another was ready.

To a superstitious people, such as the Northmen were, these omens must
have seemed to bode terrible ill-luck. But Harold had never yet turned
back from an expedition, and he did not mean to start turning back now.
So over the sea to the Shetlands and the Orkneys his fleet sailed, then
down the eastern coast of the mainland till they reached the mouth of
the Tyne. Here they were joined by Tostig, and soon afterwards the
‘Land-Waster’ was unfurled in the North Riding of Yorkshire.

So far Harold of Norway had met with no resistance. But the fisherfolk
of Scarborough did withstand the attack made upon their little town;
whereupon, so the old Norse account of Harold’s invasion tells us—

    He went up on a high rock near the town, and set fire to a large
    pile which he made. They took large poles and lifted it up and threw
    it down into the town; soon one house after the other began to burn,
    and the whole town was destroyed. The Northmen slew many people, and
    took all the property they could get.

Then southward along the coast the fleet sailed, until they reached a
place called by the Northmen _Hellornes_, which was probably our
Hornsea. Here a pitched battle was fought; but the men of the East
Riding were no match for the invaders, and Harold and his Northmen got
the victory.

Next the mouth of the Humber was reached. Sailing up this and up the
Ouse they cast anchor at Riccall. Here one-third of the Norwegian host
was left to guard the ships while the remainder set out on a march to


  SEPᵀ. 25ᵀᴴ 1066.

But at Fulford, two miles from the city, they were met by the forces of
Morcar and his brother, Edwin of Mercia. The ensuing battle was fought
on a strip of land lying between the river Ouse and a ditch which was
‘deep, broad, and full of water.’ As at _Hellornes_, victory lay with
the North men; and so great was the slaughter of the Northumbrian and
the Mercians that the Northmen walked across the ditch ‘with dry feet on
human bodies.’ Four days later—September 24th—Jorvik surrendered, and
the Northmen moved their forces along the Roman road leading to the
Derwent, and took up their quarters at STANFORDBRYCG.

Meanwhile news of the invasion had reached Harold of England. Gathering
together what forces he could muster, Harold hurried north. Up the Ermin
Street, and round by Doncaster, Castleford and Tadcaster, he marched. On
the day on which York surrendered he was at Tadcaster; the next day he
had passed through York and had surprised the Northmen at Stamford

                  *       *       *       *       *

The battle that took place between the two Harolds was preceded by
negotiations. To his half-brother, Tostig, Harold of England sent envoys
offering peace:—

    ‘Harold thy brother sends thee greeting, and the message that thou
    shalt have peace and get Northumberland; and rather than that thou
    shouldst not join him he will give thee one-third of all his realm.’

    ‘Then something else is offered than the enmity and disgrace of last
    winter,’ answered Tostig. ‘If this had been offered then, many who
    are now dead would be alive, and the realm of the King of England
    would stand more firm. Now if I accept these terms, what will my
    brother Harold offer to the King of Norway for his trouble?’

    ‘He has said what he will grant King Harold of Norway. It is a space
    of seven feet, and it is so long because he is taller than most
    other men.’

Tostig’s reply to his half-brother’s terms was a noble one:

    ‘Go and tell my brother, King Harold, to prepare for battle. It
    shall not be said among Northmen that Jarl Tostig left Harold, King
    of Norway, and went into the host of his foes when he made warfare
    in England. Rather will we all resolve to die with honour, or win
    England with a victory.’

After the failure of these negotiations, both sides made ready for
battle. And then happened another omen boding ill-luck for the Northmen;
for their King, who was riding a black horse with a white mark on its
forehead, was thrown to the ground by the stumbling of his horse.

In Roman times the passage across the Derwent at the spot where the
battle took place had been made by a stone-paved ford; but this had, in
later times, been replaced by a wooden bridge, whence the name it then

At the outbreak of hostilities some of the Northmen were on the right
bank of the river, and were gradually forced back over the bridge by
Harold of England’s men. The last of them to cross was a second
Horatius, for he kept the bridge against the whole English army.
Wielding his huge battle-axe, he had slain no fewer than forty of his
enemies before he was himself slain by a soldier in Harold’s army, who
floated down the river in a tub and stabbed him with his spear through
one of the spaces between the wooden planks of the bridge.

The old Norse account of the battle reads very much like the accounts of
the battle of Hastings, which was so shortly to follow. Harold of Norway
ordered his men to take up their positions with shield against shield on
all sides. The outer rank were to press the spikes of their spears into
the ground and to point the heads against the breasts of the attacking
horsemen; the next rank were to point their spear heads against the
breasts of the horses. If all of them stood firm and took care not to
break away, Harold of England’s onset might be completely checked.

But what the English would be unable to do in the battle to come, the
Northmen were unable to do at Stamford Bridge. They broke their lines in
pursuit of the English, and the battle was lost. Harold Hardrada rushed
hither and thither dealing such blows with his battle-axe that ‘neither
helmet nor coat of mail could withstand him; he went through the ranks
of his foes as if he were walking through air, for all who came near him
fell back.’ But to no purpose, and an arrow which struck him in the
throat brought him his death-wound. Soon afterwards fell Jarl Tostig,
and though the Northmen who had been left in charge of the fleet at
Riccall hurried to the battle, they were not able to prevent the
‘Land-Waster’ from falling into the hands of Harold of England.

When darkness had set in, the victorious army was on its way back to
York. Thither came Olaf, the son of Harold Hardrada, and the Jarls of
Orkney to swear peace and give hostages. And thither also came at full
speed a messenger who brought news that William of Normandy had landed
with his army on the southern coast of Harold’s kingdom.

                        HOW THE NORMANS CAME TO

The tale of the Northmen’s invasions of England could be matched by the
tale of their invasions of the northern coasts of France. Early in the
tenth century a Viking known among his people as Rolf the Ganger[20]
made a descent upon Rouen and entered into a treaty with Charles the
Simple, King of Paris, by which a large tract of land around Rouen was
ceded to him and his followers, in return for their aid against Charles’

Footnote 20:

  To ‘gang’ meant to walk, and Rolf the Ganger was given this nickname
  because, being extra tall, he found it more comfortable to walk when
  on land than to ride one of the small ponies of his native country.

Such was the beginning of the province of Northern France known in later
history as Normandy. After forty years of sea-roving Rolf settled down
to rule his new and fertile dukedom; and as with the Northmen in
England, so with him and his men in France. The Northmen married wives
of their new country, and their children grew up to speak the mother’s
tongue rather than the father’s. Thus the descendants of heathen
Northmen became Christian Frenchmen.

To Rolf the Ganger’s dukedom there succeeded in turn William Longsword,
Richard the Fearless, Richard the Good, Robert the Devil, and William,
whom his enemies called William the Bastard—‘the Tanner’s Grandson’—but
who was destined to become famous as William the Conqueror of England.

How Harold of England, after hearing of William’s landing on the coast
of Sussex, marched southward to his death at Hastings, and how William
of Normandy was crowned King in his stead at Westminster on Christmas
Day in the same year, does not concern us here. But what we are
concerned with is the course of events that led to William’s coming
north to the city of York.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The events of the last three months of the fateful year 1066 by no means
proved that England was a conquered country. True, the Witena-gemōt had
accepted William as their king; but that was only because there was no
one else fit to lead the Saxon forces, and because Anglo-Danes and
Saxons mistrusted each other. Edwin of Mercia and his brother Morcar
submitted to William and were allowed to retain their earldoms. Oswulf,
who now ruled Northumbria, did not submit, so William appointed a
certain Copsige[21] to supplant him. Copsige came north to dispossess
Oswulf, and was immediately slain.

Footnote 21:

  Pronounced _Kóp-si-ga_.

In 1067, during William’s absence in Normandy, rebellions broke out in
the south and west of England; and when the King returned, he began the
conquest of the western portions of the country. Exeter submitted after
a siege lasting eighteen days, but no sooner had the western rebellion
been subdued than Mercia and Northumbria were in revolt.

Next year the King marched north and reached York, the inhabitants of
which rather unexpectedly surrendered their city; and on William’s
departure he left William de Malet, one of his Norman knights, in charge
of it. But after a few months the men of York again rose in revolt and
Malet was hard pressed, although he succeeded in holding out till
relieved by the King.

All over England these rebellions were going on. But none was more than
partly successful; and for the reason that ‘Englishmen could not agree
to act together. One district rose at one time and one at another. Some
were for Sweyn, some for Edgar, some for the sons of Harold; Edwin and
Morcar were for themselves. So there was no common action against
William, and the land was lost bit by bit.’

In the autumn of 1069 it seemed as if there really was to be made in the
North of England a united effort to throw off the yoke of the Frenchmen.
Sweyn Ulfsson, King of Denmark, sent a large fleet of ships into the
Humber under the command of Jarl Asbiorn, his brother. Outside the walls
of York the Danish shipmen were joined by Edgar the Aetheling, by
Gospatric, the dispossessed successor of Oswulf, and by Jarl Waltheof,
Siward’s son.

Then began a second siege of York. The French garrison, under William de
Malet and Gilbert of Gaunt, retreated to the two wooden castles which
William had caused to be erected, and set fire to the portions of the
city surrounding these in order to give themselves greater security. For
two days the flames raged, destroying many houses and the Minster of St.
Peter. Meanwhile the allies entered the city. Then the Normans attempted
a sally from their castles, but unsuccessfully. Their forces were cut to
pieces, and William de Malet and Gilbert of Gaunt were taken prisoners.

So far all had gone well with the armies of Jarl Asbiorn and Jarl
Waltheof, and had they only held the city when taken and awaited the
arrival of King William, they would have had every chance of repeating
their success. But a fatal dissension once more broke out, and Asbiorn’s
men went back to their ships and sailed first to North Lincolnshire and
then to Holderness, while Waltheof withdrew his men to the marshes
between the Trent and the Ouse.

For the third time King William marched north to York; and this time he
determined on vengeance. ‘Par splendeur Dex,’ he swore that he would
utterly root out the Northumbrian people; and in fulfilment of his oath
he carried out that ‘Wasting of the North’ which changed the fertile
Plain of York into a desolate waste. For sixty miles north of York every
town and village was sacked and burnt, every inhabitant slain or driven
out, all farming-stock and farming-implements destroyed, and nothing
spared save only what belonged to St. John of Beverley. Then, having
wreaked his revenge, William caused himself to be re-crowned at York,
and there he kept his Christmas feast.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The system followed out by William the Conqueror after his subjugation
of a district was everywhere the same. Lands were taken from their
English owners and given to the King’s Norman followers, while strong
castles were built to afford protection to the Norman lords.

Thus Drogo de Bevrere, a Flemish knight who had married the King’s
niece, was rewarded for his services with the _Isle of Holderness_, and
built himself a castle at Skipsea, where the earthworks of a long-dead
chieftain were still standing. No remains of Drogo’s castle now exist,
nor have we in the East Riding the remains of any Norman castle such as
those existing at Knaresborough, Helmsley, Pontefract, Scarborough,
York, and elsewhere in the other Ridings of Yorkshire.

With this parcelling out of the land among William’s Norman followers
there became fixed two principles on which the whole ‘Feudal System’ was

    (1) All land belonged to the King by virtue of his conquest of the

    (2) All land was held in return for services rendered.

Under the Feudal System the King would make a large grant of land to one
of his followers, who thus became a _tenant-in-chief_ of the King. This
tenant-in-chief would sub-divide his land among his particular
followers, each of whom might sub-divide his portion. Thus Drogo de
Bevrere was a tenant-in-chief, and one of his tenants was a certain
Lanbert, who held lands at Sutton ‘two miles long and a half a mile
broad.’ Drogo, Earl of Holderness, was a vassal of the King; Lanbert, a
vassal of Drogo.

For these lands no regular rent was paid. Instead, there was the
obligation of military service, each holder of land being bound to serve
the King in war for forty days every year as his services were required.
This service had to be performed at the vassal’s own cost, and with
proper equipment. By this means the King could always be assured of an
army equipped at short notice, and at no cost to himself.

In addition to this military service there were money payments to be
made at certain irregular intervals. An _aid_ was due from a vassal to
his overlord on each of three occasions:—

      (1) The knighting of the lord’s eldest son; (2) The marrying of
      his eldest daughter; (3) The ransoming of his own person.

Of these occasions the first and second would, as a rule, occur only
once in a vassal’s life-time, while the third might not occur at all.
For all tenants-in-chief it did occur when King Richard I. had to be
ransomed from his enemy, the Emperor Henry VI., into whose hands he had
happened to fall. The monks of the Abbey of Meaux, being
tenants-in-chief, then found themselves called upon to pay, as their
share of the total ransom of 150,000 marks, the sum of 300 marks; to
raise which they were compelled to sell their stock of wool and their
church plate.

On the death of a vassal and the succession of his heir, another money
payment became due to the vassal’s overlord. This was known as a
_relief_. Again, if on a vassal’s death his heir or heiress had not yet
come of age, his estate passed for the time being into the hands of the
overlord, who managed it and took the profits. This right was known as
_wardship_, and it might be rather dangerous for the ward.

Thus, in the early years of the thirteenth century, Thomas, the parson
of Routh, held certain lands under William de Stuteville, the lord of
the manor. Thomas died, and the lord of the manor claimed wardship over
his young daughter Agnes. But before Agnes had come of age, William de
Stuteville died also, and the wardship passed into the hands of his
widow Cecilia. Unfortunately for Agnes her new guardian was not
overburdened with principles of honour; for, having two daughters of her
own—who were, we may suppose, not sufficiently good-looking to find
husbands readily—she offered with them as dowry the lands of Agnes. Thus
two lucky bridegrooms, Stephen of Pokthorpe and Henry of Hutton, were
enriched by Dame Cecilia, each with one-half of the lands of Agnes, the
parson’s daughter. And poor Agnes never succeeded in getting her lands
back, though she tried her best.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The various money payments due to a vassal’s overlord depended as to
their amount on the value of the estate held. Therefore, in order that
the King should know exactly what sums were due to him from his
tenants-in-chief, he caused a great survey of England to be made. The
vastness of the undertaking may be gauged by the fact that each estate
in all the counties of England except Northumberland, Cumberland,
Westmorland, Durham, and Monmouth—which last was then reckoned as a
Welsh county—was to be reported on by the King’s officers, who were
instructed to make enquiries as to its value and to record the result of
their enquiries.

These officers were to set down the area of each estate, great or small,
the area of that part of it which was ploughed land, the area of that
part which was grass land, the name of its holder, the name of its
holder in the last year of the reign of King Edward the Confessor, the
amount of stock and of farming-implements on it, the number and
condition of the people living on it, its annual value in the time of
King Edward, and its annual value at the time of the investigation—the
last two items being the most important of all.

In this manner was constructed what is known as THE DOMESDAY BOOK—the
book by which a judgment could be made as to the amount of the money
payments due to the King from each of his tenants-in-chief. The work was
planned at the Witena-gemōt held at Christmas 1085, and was carried out
during the following year.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Domesday Book is one of the most valuable historical records
possessed by the nation, and much information as to the England of 1086
has been gleaned from its parchment leaves. The entries in it are of
course in Latin, and the following translation of the portion dealing
with the manor of Patrington will serve as an example of the facts
recorded in it.

                          LANDS IN HOLDERNESS.

                    LAND OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.

    In _Patrictone_ with the four berewicks _Wistede_, _Halsam_, _Torp_,
    _Toruelestorp_, there are thirty-five carucates and a half, and two
    oxgangs and two parts of an oxgang to be taxed. There is land to
    thirty-five ploughs.

    This manor was, and is, belonging to the Archbishop of York.

    There are now in the demesne two ploughs and eight villeins and
    sixty-three bordars, having thirteen ploughs. There are six sokemen
    with two villeins and twenty bordars, having five ploughs and a
    half. There are thirty-two acres of meadow there. Two knights have
    six carucates of the land of this manor; and two clerks two
    carucates and three oxgangs, and the third part of an oxgang. They
    have there four sokemen and five villeins, and three bordars with
    five ploughs.

    In the time of King Edward the value was thirty pounds, at present
    ten pounds and five shillings.

    Arable land three miles long and one mile and a half broad.

All this reads very strangely to us living in the twentieth century. Put
into present-day language it would read something like the following:—

The manor of Patrington, with the neighbouring hamlets of Winestead,
Halsham, [Welwick] Thorp, and Tharlesthorp,[22] measures 4300 acres,[23]
and its thorough cultivation would provide work for thirty-five teams of
oxen, reckoning eight oxen to each team.

Footnote 22:

  Tharlesthorp is one of the ‘lost towns of the Humber.’ Its probable
  site is marked on the map on the opposite page.

Footnote 23:

  A ‘carucate’ was the amount of land that a team of eight oxen could
  plough each year. It varied in size according to the nature of the
  soil, but may be roughly taken as being equal to 120 acres. An oxgang
  was one-eighth of this.

It belonged to the Archbishop of York in the reign of King Edward the
Confessor, and is still held by him.

Attached to the lands of the manor-house there are eight serfs who have
among them sixteen oxen, and sixty-three cottagers, who own 104 oxen.
There are also six small farmers who have under them two serfs and
twenty cottagers, and work forty-four oxen. Parts of the manor lands are
held by two knights and two parsons. The former are tenants of 720
acres, the latter of 290 acres. On their lands there are four small
farmers, three cottagers and five serfs, possessing among them forty



The land on which wheat, barley and oats are grown measures three miles
by one and a half miles, and there are thirty-two acres of meadow land.

In King Edward’s time the annual value of the manor was £600, but is now
only £205.[24]

Footnote 24:

  The value of money was in 1086 approximately twenty times its value at
  the present day. The Domesday ‘pound’ meant, not a coin, but a pound
  weight of silver.

The value of the manor of Patrington was, in 1086, only just over
one-third of its value twenty-five years earlier. This is one example of
the results of the ‘Wasting of the North.’ Others are to be found in the
records given of the manors of Burstwick and Kilnsea, each of which had
been worth fifty-six pounds, but was then worth only ten pounds. The
manors of Withernsea and Hornsea had similarly decreased in value from
fifty-six pounds to six pounds. All these belonged in 1086 to Drogo de
Bevrere, Lord of Holderness. The manor of Beeford had experienced a
still greater decrease in value; for it had sunk from twenty pounds to
ten shillings. Others again, such as estates at Barmston, Drypool,
Routh, and Sigglesthorne are recorded by the ominous word ‘waste.’ Such
entries tell a very sure tale of the effects of King William’s

On the map on page 93 are shown most of the manors and a few of the
hamlets recorded in that part of the Domesday Book which deals with the
Holderness division of Yorkshire. In many cases the spelling is very
quaint; but most of the names are recognisable if we remember that U and
V are different forms of the same letter, and that our letter W was then
what, according to its name, it ought still to be. We must remember also
that the men who took down the records were Frenchmen, who found it
difficult in many cases to pronounce the names they heard the English
witnesses use, and who had to spell these names as best they could
according to their sound.

                  *       *       *       *       *

For more than nine hundred years the Domesday Survey remained the only
survey made of English lands as a whole, and not till 1910 was an
attempt made to compile the second Domesday Book. In that year
commissioners started on the same task as was performed by the King’s
officers in the year 1086; and the task has been undertaken for the same
purpose—to enable the King’s taxes to be gathered in correctly.

                              WERE BUILT.

In these days of bicycles most of us have experienced the pleasure of
seeing, over the tree-tops in the distance, the spire or the
square-capped tower of one of our village churches. For us on that
occasion, perhaps, it marked the goal of a long journey, and we
therefore hailed it gladly. Then probably we thought no more about it.

Yet that village church was worth a few minutes of our thoughts. To one
who knows how to see it was worth walking round, and worth also looking
into. For it had a tale to tell—a tale that stretches back into the
centuries long past, a tale of the joys and sorrows of the people whose
places we now fill, a tale which ought to make us realise that we of the
twentieth century are not the only clever people who have lived in the
East Riding of Yorkshire.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

                   A Norman Font in Kirkburn Church.


Let us learn how to read the tale aright. In the first place we must
know the names of the different parts of a church. If it is small, it
will be simply a rectangular building, running east and west, and
divided by an open arch or by a woodwork screen into two parts, a _nave_
and a _chancel_. The former is, on service days, occupied by the
congregation of worshippers, the latter by the clergy and the choir. At
the east end of the chancel is the _altar_ or _communion-table_, at the
east end of the nave are the _lectern_ and _pulpit_, at the west end of
the nave is the _font_.

If the church boasts a _tower_, this will be at the west end, where also
will probably be the main entrance door. This may, however, be on the
south of the nave near the west end. On the south of the chancel may be
another smaller door, once the _priests’ door_; and by it in the wall
may be the _sedilia_, or priests’ seats, three in number. Close to these
may be the _piscina_, or drain, at which the holy vessels were once
washed; and in the wall on the opposite side may be the _aumbry_, or
cupboard, in which the holy vessels once stood.

But such small churches are not common. Generally the nave has along
each side what is called an _aisle_, in which case its central roof is
supported on a double row of pillars. Possibly the chancel also has
aisles. The walls above the lines of pillars may be pierced with
windows, which thus look out above the roofs of the aisles. These
windows are known as _clerestory_ windows.


_Photo by_]                              [_C. W. Mason_

                     A Piscina in Patrington Church


In cathedrals and very large churches there is a story which runs along
each side of the nave and chancel, between the capitals of the pillars
and the clerestory. This is called the _triforium_. Beverley Minster has
a triforium, but there is no passage round it, and it is really a blind
story. A portion of it can be seen in the photograph of the Percy Tomb
on page 230. Bridlington Priory Church has a triforium on the north side

In churches of large size the building is not simply a rectangular one
with or without aisles, but is formed of two rectangular buildings
crossing each other at right angles. The nave and chancel have added to
them a _north transept_ and a _south transept_, and above the
crossing-place rises a _central tower_ on four huge _piers_.

These transepts, as well as the nave and chancel, may have aisles. But
this is customary only in cathedrals. Holy Trinity Church, Hull, the
third largest church in Britain,[25] has aisles only to the nave and
chancel; Patrington Church—the ‘Queen of Holderness’—has aisles to the
nave and to each transept; and Hedon Church—the ‘King of Holderness’—now
has aisles only to its nave, though its transepts formerly had an aisle
on the east.

Footnote 25:

  The following are the _internal areas_ of the three largest churches
  in Britain:—

              St. Nicholas’, Great Yarmouth 25,023 sq. ft.
              St. Michael’s, Coventry       24,015    "
              Holy Trinity, Hull            21,756    "

                  *       *       *       *       *

Many were the difficulties that the builders of our ancient churches had
to overcome. In the East Riding one difficulty was the obtaining of
suitable building-material. Stone blocks were costly, for these had to
be brought by water from the quarries of the West Riding. So usually the
builders had to make the best use they could of the materials they
obtained locally—boulders from the cliffs of the sea-shore, blocks of
chalk from the Wolds, or clay bricks from the low-lying bank of the

Footnote 26:

  The brickwork of the chancel and transepts of Holy Trinity, Hull, is
  probably the ‘earliest existing example of mediæval brickwork in
  England.’ These portions of the church were built during the first
  quarter of the fourteenth century.

Another difficulty was sometimes encountered in obtaining suitable
foundations. The clay soil on which the church of Holy Trinity, Hull, is
built was not of sufficient depth to afford foundations for the heavy
central tower which it was intended to build.

Twentieth-century builders would drive piles down into the clay to make
a firm foundation; the fourteenth-century builders solved the problem by
constructing four huge rafts of trimmed oak trunks, each consisting of
two rows of trunks crossing at right angles. On these rafts they raised
the piers for their tower; and when, in 1906, it became necessary to
take out the tree-trunks and replace them with steel girders and cement,
many of the trunks were found to be as sound as on the day that they
were placed in position six hundred years ago.

                  *       *       *       *       *


_Photo by_]                              [_J. Ball_

   Part of the Foundations of the Tower of Holy Trinity Church, Hull.


The greatest charm of our ancient churches lies in the fact that, except
in a very few instances, a church is not built in the same style
throughout. It is quite evident, if we have a seeing eye, that additions
and alterations have been made at different times. The nave and the
chancel were plainly not designed by the same architect; the north side
of the church differs from the south; here has been added a new door,
there a new window; the roof has been taken off, the worn ends of the
rafters sawn away, and the rafters used again, so that the roof has to
be of less slope than it was before.


All these are the signs of life and growth. If we wish, we can read by
them how our forefathers prospered in their worldly business, and how
they gave thanks to God for their prosperity; or how the coming of the
Plague brought them poverty and distress, and perhaps put a stop to
their building operations, which were not completed till many years
afterwards, and then in a style quite different from that in which they
had been begun.

Often these alterations and rebuildings were put on record, and some of
the records remain to our day. Thus John Skinner, of Westgate, Hedon, by
his will made in 1428, left the sum of forty shillings towards the
building of the new tower of St. Augustine’s Church. On the south face
of the tower of Aughton Church is an inscription which is now illegible,
but which once told in the Anglo-French language that Christopher Aske,
the second son of Sir Robert Aske, rebuilt the tower in 1536.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

            The ‘Beverley Imp’—St. Mary’s Church, Beverley.


Cut into the stone of the same tower is in two places the likeness of an
_aske_ or newt, a punning allusion to the name of the builder. In the
same way, the tower of Hemingbrough Church is ornamented with a row of
‘dolly-tubs’ or ‘weshing-tuns’—an allusion to the name of Prior
Wessington, in whose period of rule the tower was rebuilt.

Most interesting of all such records are the inscriptions on the pillars
of the north side of the nave in St. Mary’s, Beverley. They show that
when the tower fell in 1520 and destroyed that side of the nave, the
destruction was repaired by a combined effort on the part of the
parishioners. A family named Crosslay provided the wherewithal for
rebuilding the half pillar at the west end, and the two pillars next to
it towards the east; the ‘good wives’ of the parish rebuilt the next two
pillars; and, as will be shown later, the remaining pillar was rebuilt
by the Gild of Minstrels.[27]

Footnote 27:

  See page 185.

Hence the inscriptions which we may read to-day high up on the pillars:—

           XLAY          AND HIS WYF             TO PYLLORS
                         FE MADE THES            AND A HALFFE

                 THYS TO PYLLO                  WYFFYS GOD
                 RS MADE GVD                    REWARD THAYM

But though no written or inscribed record may exist, it is yet possible
to tell approximately the date at which either a church was built, or
some particular portion of it was rebuilt. This is so because men built
in different styles at different times—the fashionable mode of building
changed as the centuries went on. Let us see how we can recognise these

                  *       *       *       *       *

When the Normans came to England, they brought with them great zeal for
church-building, and many churches built by them remain to our day on
the Wolds of the East Riding.

The NORMAN style of building was one of round-headed arches and of
narrow round-headed windows with the sides widely splayed, so that the
window-opening inside is very much larger than the narrow slit which
appears on the outside of the wall. The walls were very thick, the
masonry was rough, the joints between the stones were very clumsy, and
the buttresses, if used at all, did not project more than a few inches
from the walls. The early Norman churches had very plain chancel or
tower arches, such as we see at Speeton, Reighton, and Rudston; but
those built later had arches magnificently carved with zigzags or
_chevrons_, and with animal forms. Good examples of these may be seen at
North Newbald, Kirkburn, Nunburnholme, Etton, and Garton-on-the-Wolds.


The Norman style of building lasted from 1066 to 1190. Then came a
change. Instead of using a semi-circular or one-centred arch, architects
found out the advantages of a two-centred arch. They also made the
discovery that the walls need not be so thick, if the thickness of the
buttresses was increased. Thus came about what we call the EARLY ENGLISH
or LANCET style of building, which was fashionable for the ninety years
from 1190 to 1280. Beautiful examples of this style can be seen in the
churches of Filey, Hedon, Middleton-on-the-Wolds, and Kirk Ella.

Again came a change, a growth of ideas. Men grew tired of the simple
form of _Lancet_ window, which we to-day consider so beautiful because
of its simplicity. First they experimented by piercing an ornamental
hole through the stonework above a group of lancets. This gave what we
call _Plate Tracery_, examples of which are not numerous in our Riding.

Then a further experiment was made. Instead of building the head of a
group of lancets in solid stone, some architect-builder hit upon the
idea of making a pattern of shaped bars of stone, and of filling in the
pattern with glass cut to fit the spaces. This at once proved popular,
and an entirely new fashion in window designs set in.

At first the patterns made in stone were simple _Geometrical_ ones, such
as those in the chancel windows at Rudston. But gradually, as one set of
builders vied with another in building the most beautiful church, the
patterns became more complicated and _Curvilinear_ in form. These last
two styles together made up what is usually known as the DECORATED style
of building, and were in fashion from 1280 to 1380.



  STILLINGFLEET.                           HESSLE.

Lastly came another great change, due to the discovery of methods for
producing stained glass. The windows of Norman churches had been very
small, and the interiors of the churches had been very dark. How dark
they were may be judged from the present interior of the church of
Garton-on-the-Wolds when the doors are both shut. Very early the
worshippers experienced a desire for more light, and at Garton they
solved the problem by knocking down some of the wall and inserting a
much larger _Decorated_ window.


_Photo by_]                              [_C. W. Mason_

      Part of the South Wall of the Church at Garton-on-the-Wolds.


But when stained glass became reasonably cheap, there were few
church-people who could endure the thought that some neighbouring church
had stained-glass windows when their church had none. So there began a
competition among them as to who should be able to show the greatest
area of stained glass in their church windows. Walls were therefore
pulled down, and windows enlarged, or perhaps a nave or chancel was
entirely rebuilt, for the reception of this glass; until where there had
once been a stone wall with a few narrow slits in it, there was now a
series of wide expanses of glass separated with narrow strips of wall.

For convenience also, the bars of stone which formed the window tracery
were made straight instead of curved. This is the style which we call
the _Perpendicular_ style, and it grew in popular favour from 1380 until
1547, when the Reformation put an end to further growth.

                  *       *       *       *       *

All the three styles, _Early English_, _Decorated_, and _Perpendicular_,
make up what is known as GOTHIC architecture. The name is unfortunately
a meaningless one; for it does not in any way refer to the architecture
of the Goths, as the name NORMAN does to the architecture of the

The great difference between the two styles is that whereas the roof of
a _Norman_ building was supported by the walls, the roof of a _Gothic_
building was supported not by the walls, but by the buttresses, some of
which might be constructed in the form of bridges. Such buttresses are
known as _flying buttresses_.

It would be almost true to say that we might knock down every inch of
wall in Beverley Minster or Patrington Church and yet leave standing the
framework and roof of the buildings, with the western towers of the one
and the central spire of the other. Such buildings are perfect in
design, and their perfectness is due to the knowledge and skill which
were possessed by their architect-builders.

Gothic architecture grew like a plant, and reached its full development
in the _Perpendicular_ style, when the enthusiasm for church-building
was at its height. Most of our village churches show signs of having
been in part rebuilt during the period when the _Perpendicular_ style
flourished, and one of its most marked features is a lofty central or
western tower, such as we see at Hedon, Howden, and Driffield.

For a long time after the Reformation there was no fresh
church-building, and little church-repair. What little attention our
ancient parish churches had at the repairers’ hands was often of the
kind that is called ‘churchwarden’ restoration, an example of which we
see in the accompanying photograph of a portion of Welwick Church. Now,
happily, such is a thing of the past, and our church restorers aim at a
restoration which is true to its name.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

             ‘Churchwarden’ Restoration at Welwick Church.


It is unusual to find an ancient parish church built in one style
throughout. But Filey Church is almost entirely on the border-line
between _Norman_ and _Early English_; Patrington Church is almost
entirely _Decorated_; and Skirlaugh Church, which was built by Walter
Skirlaw, Bishop of Durham, about 1403, is entirely _Perpendicular_.

Modern churches are, on the other hand, usually in one style throughout.
The churches of Kilnwick Percy, East Heslerton, and Sledmere will serve
as good examples of modern _Norman_, modern _Early English_, and modern
_Decorated_ styles.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

            A Grotesque ‘Poppy-Head’ at Holy Trinity, Hull.


In and about many of our ancient parish churches are preserved features
which remind us of the customs and beliefs of long-past days. At
Easington we may see the ancient tithe barn, in which was stored the
parson’s tithe of corn when tithes were paid not in money but in kind.
At Barmby-on-the-Marsh, North Frodingham and Swine are preserved the
church chests in which the parish records were kept. Holy Trinity, Hull,
has only recently parted with the library of which its parishioners
enjoyed the use long before the days of ‘Free Libraries.’

In the churches at Barmston, Burstwick, Goodmanham and Thwing may be
seen the _squint_, or hole cut through a pier of the tower so that the
people worshipping in the transept might see the ‘elevation of the host’
before the high altar. At Millington, Nunburnholme and Sancton there
remain the _low-side_ or _lepers’ windows_, so built that the poor
unfortunates outside the walls of the church might not be deprived of
the sight of the same.


Just within the south door of the church at Great Givendale stands the
_stoup_ or holy-water vessel, from which all worshippers were once
sprinkled; and across the chancel arches at Flamborough and Winestead
stand the ancient _rood screens_. At Kirkburn we may see a modern
replica of an ancient rood screen in all the glory of brilliant colours;
and the interior surface of the walls and roof of the church at
Garton-on-the-Wolds reproduces the ancient custom of painting in colours
every square inch of available space within a church.

In several churches there are grotesque carvings in wood and
stone—gargoyles, corbels, poppy-heads, and misericords—carvings so
grotesque and irreligious that we can only wonder at the feelings which
prompted their construction.

Brasses and altar tombs show us plainly how the lords and ladies were
dressed in former days, and an occasional brass of a parish priest
serves to point out the differences between the parish priest of the
fifteenth century and his successor, the ‘parson’ of to-day.

                           THE BIRTH OF HULL
                    THE ROMANCE OF THE DE LA POLES.


To say exactly the date of birth of the city which to-day the
inhabitants proudly call ‘The Third Port’ is one of the things that are
beyond man’s power. It used to be thought that Hull was founded by King
Edward I., but we know now that this was wrong; for there are in
existence old title deeds which show that the city goes back in point of
time more than one hundred years before ‘Edward of the Long Shanks’
became King of England.

On the other hand, we are certain that there was no town of Hull in the
time of William the Conqueror. Had there been, we should find mention of
it in the Domesday Book. Hessle is mentioned in this, and so is Ferriby.
But, though we find in the Domesday Book no mention of Hull, we do find
mention of Myton, a hamlet belonging to the Manor of North Ferriby, and
recorded at the time of the survey as ‘waste.’

Later on we find this hamlet grown into a manor, and meanwhile there was
growing up alongside it another small settlement to which became
attached the names _Wyke_, _Wyke-upon-Hull_, and _Hull_. Its position
was the angle formed where the small river Hull empties itself into the
mighty Humber, and its first inhabitants would doubtless be fishers and
other sea-faring men, who found the place convenient for beaching their
boats. Whether they were Angles or Danes we cannot definitely tell, for
its name, _Wyke_, might have been given by either of these peoples.

The first mention of Wyke is in a grant of land made in the year 1160,
and after this date its growth must have been rapid. Less than forty
years later it was one of the ports to which was given the privilege of
exporting wool; and in 1203 the taxes collected on wool and other
exported goods at Hull amounted to no less than £344, while those
collected in London amounted to only £836.


The export trade in wool grew by leaps and bounds during the thirteenth
century, and Hull was the port in the north of England that derived most
benefit from this growth. At the close of the century there were ‘some
sixty houses in the town, mostly built of clay and timber, and
one-storied, with perhaps a chamber or two in the thatched roof; a gaol;
a court-house; a church[28] ...; a monastery of White Friars; with some
seven acres of land set apart for markets and fairs, and lying around
and about where the Market-place now runs.’

Footnote 28:

  This was a chapel, dedicated to the ‘Holy Trinitie,’ which James
  Helward, a townsman, founded in 1285. It stood where the chancel of
  Holy Trinity church now stands, and was pulled down when the present
  transepts and chancel were built a few years later.

Such was Wyke, or Hull, when in 1293 the monks of Meaux Abbey, its
owners, sold the greater part of it to King Edward I., in exchange for
other lands. Its annual value was £81 12s. 4d., and that of the part
sold was £78 14s. 8d. With it were sold some farm lands and buildings at
Myton, worth not quite half as much.

When the town thus passed into the King’s hands, he had to appoint a
Warden to collect his rents, and the first King’s Warden rejoiced in the
name of Richard Oysel. Six years later the townsmen obtained from the
King a charter granting them all the privileges belonging to the
inhabitants of a ‘Free Borough.’ Among these was the right of holding a
market twice weekly, and a fair lasting for thirty days each year.


_Photo by_]                             [_J.R. Boyle_

 Photograph of the Charter granted by Edward I. to the Townsmen of Hull
                                in 1299.
                        (One-fifth actual size).


Under its new name of the _King’s Town upon Hull_ the port naturally
drew to itself merchants from the less-privileged towns of the
neighbourhood, and among those who came to take advantage of its
privileges was a wealthy merchant of Ravenser named William de la Pole.
With the migration of this Ravenser merchant began an uninterrupted
course of prosperity both for his family and for the King’s Town.

William de la Pole’s two elder sons, Richard and William, came into
great prominence as merchants. The ‘great Hull Firm of De la Pole
Brothers’ has been a modern description of their business enterprise,
and the adjective ‘great’ is rightly used. For not only was Richard de
la Pole King Edward III.’s wine merchant, but the two brothers were also
for many years the King’s bankers. As royal wine merchant, Richard had
some twenty deputies in other ports of England, and as royal bankers the
‘Firm’ lent large sums of money to the King for the carrying on of his
wars with Scotland and France.

In 1327, for instance, these Hull merchants lent the King sums amounting
to £10,200; and in February of the next year the King, while at York,
paid two wine bills, one of two thousand marks and the other of £1,200.
Later on in this year, the brothers undertook to find £20 per day for
the upkeep of the King’s household, and as much wine as was necessary.

In 1337 Edward declared war against France, and that war was carried on
mainly with supplies of money provided by the De la Pole Brothers.

Within two years of the opening of war, the King had borrowed money on
the crown jewels, on the crown itself, and even on his own person.
Edward was actually stranded in France unable to move for lack of money,
when his ‘beloved merchant,’ William de la Pole, came to his assistance
with new supplies; and the King acknowledged himself bound to him for
the astonishing sum of £76,180, a sum equal to more than a million
pounds in our money.

‘How was this immense sum raised?’ we may quite naturally ask. Probably
a large portion of it was borrowed by the lender from others who were
quite ready to put their spare cash into the hands of such a far-sighted
and reliable man of business as William de la Pole. And how was the loan
repaid by the King?

The answer to the second of these questions gives the secret of the
wealth of the ‘Hull Firm.’ Edward repaid his loans not with money but by
grants of the customs and duties payable on exported goods at the
various ports of the kingdom. In other words, if the King borrowed
£1000, he gave to the lender of this sum permission to collect all the
dues at, say, the port of Bristol, for the next five years; and as the
trade of Bristol was then rapidly growing, the lender very probably
received during those five years twice as much value in dues as he had
lent in money to the King.

Such services as these, rendered at a critical moment, did not go
unrewarded in other ways. In 1332 Edward visited his new ‘King’s Town’
on his way to Scotland, and was the guest of William de la Pole, whom he
knighted before his departure.

At the same time the townsfolk were granted the dignity of having a
Mayor and four Bailiffs instead of a Warden, and Sir William was,
naturally, the man chosen by them to hold this office. Thus the long
line of Mayors of the city of Hull goes back to Sir William de la Pole,
who was Mayor for three years, 1332–1335. Later on other honours were
showered upon him, and when he died his body was buried in the church of
the Holy Trinity, where the alabaster effigies of himself and Dame
Katherine his wife may still be seen.

As William de la Pole was a great favourite of King Edward III., so his
son Michael was equally a favourite of Edward’s grandson, King Richard
II. Michael de la Pole had gone to Spain in the train of John of Gaunt,
Edward’s third son, and his retinue had consisted of 140 men-at-arms,
140 archers, 1 knight banneret, 8 knights bachelor, and 130 esquires.

In 1376 Michael was not only Mayor of Hull but also ‘Admiral of the
King’s Fleets in the Northern Parts.’ Seven years later he became a
Knight of the Garter and Lord Chancellor of England. In another two
years he was raised to the peerage as Earl of Suffolk, the first example
in our history of a prosperous merchant becoming a peer of the realm. As
Earl of Suffolk, Michael began the building at Kingston-upon-Hull of a
mansion which was known when finished as Suffolk Palace, and which stood
on the ground where has recently been built the General Post Office.

But the first Earl of Suffolk was by no means a favourite with
Parliament, whatever he might be with the young King; and though he had
as Lord Chancellor advised the members of Parliament to ‘avoid all
corruptions,’ he was accused by them of enriching himself at the expense
of the nation. As the result of the charges laid against him by his many
and powerful enemies he was exiled, and died at Paris four years after
the creation of his peerage.


  _From Gough’s ‘Sepulchral Monuments.’_

[Illustration: ARMS OF THE DE LA POLES.]

Richard II.’s deposition by Parliament followed ten years after his
favourite’s death, and Henry IV. became King. This King’s son, Henry V.,
attempted to rival in France the exploits of his great-grandfather; and
in his retinue when the English army sailed from Harfleur were two
Michael de la Poles, father and son. Both were of high honour in the
King’s train, both set out in hopes of winning still higher honour in
the glorious conquest that was to be, but both were fated to die a
soldier’s death on the soil of the country which they had hoped to
conquer. The elder Michael, second Earl of Suffolk, died of dysentery
before the walls of Harfleur in September 1415; the younger Michael,
third Earl of Suffolk, fell mortally wounded in the battle of Agincourt,
five weeks after the death of his father. His body was brought home to
England, and lay in state in Saint Paul’s Cathedral before it was buried
in Oxfordshire.

You will find an account of the Earl of Suffolk’s death in Act IV.,
Scene 6, of Shakspeare’s play _Henry the Fifth_; and when you next read
of the wars of Edward III. and Henry V. in France, do not fail to
remember, if you yourself belong to the city of Hull, that good silver
crowns from Kingston-upon-Hull provided the wherewithal for the battle
of Crecy, and that good honest men from Kingston-upon-Hull fought,
and—in one case at least—died in the battle of Agincourt.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Two years after this battle, King Henry was again fighting in France,
and in his retinue was again an Earl of Suffolk. This was William, the
fourth Earl, brother of him who had been slain at Agincourt. ‘Thirty
lancers and four score and ten archers’ was the portion of the army
furnished by this Earl, and for seventeen consecutive years he served in
France as a soldier of the King. While Henry VI. was the infant King of
England, Suffolk was in command of the English army in France, and it
was his misfortune to be beaten by the ‘Maid of Orleans.’ In this war he
was taken prisoner by the French, and ransomed for the sum of £20,000.

After Suffolk’s return home as a defeated soldier we find him playing
the part of a successful ambassador. The marriage of King Henry with
Princess Margaret of Anjou was arranged by him, and for his services he
was raised to the dignity first of a Marquis and secondly of a Duke. At
the same time his heirs were granted the privilege of carrying at the
coronation of all the King’s successors a golden sceptre with a dove
upon the top—a privilege embodied in the design of the Common Seal of
the Corporation of Kingston-upon-Hull.


But this marriage brought the newly-created Duke of Suffolk into great
disfavour with Parliament; for he was accused of having delivered the
important province of Maine into the hands of the French, this being one
of the conditions of the marriage treaty. His enemies also accused him
of having murdered the Duke of Gloucester.

To save his favourite Duke the King banished him for five years, but his
enemies were determined that he should not escape their vengeance.
Realizing the danger he was in, he set sail from Ipswich, and hoped to
reach Calais in safety. Before his departure he wrote, on the 30th of
April, 1450, the following letter to his young son:—

    My dere and only welbeloved sone, I beseche oure Lord in Heven, the
    Maker of alle the world, to blesse you, and to sende you ever grace
    to love hym, and to drede hym; to the which, as ferre as a fader may
    charge his child, I both charge you and prei you to ... do no thyng
    for love nor drede of any erthely creature that shuld displese

    Secondly, next hym, above alle erthely thyng, to be trewe liege man
    in hert, in wille, in thought, in dede, unto the Kyng ... to whom
    bothe ye and I been so moche bounde to....

    Thirdly, in the same wyse, I charge you, my dere sone, alwey, as ye
    be bounden by the commaundement of God to do, to love, to worshepe
    youre lady and moder, and also that ye obey alwey hyr
    commaundements, and to beleve hyr councelles and advises in all
    youre werks....

       Wreten of myn hand,
       The day of my departyng fro this land.

           Your trewe and lovying fader,


It was indeed the day of Suffolk’s ‘departyng fro this land,’ as the
following portion of a letter written in London on the 5th of May of
that year will show. The writer tells first how news had then reached
London that on April 31 the Duke of Suffolk had been captured off Dover
by a ‘shippe callyd Nicolas of the Towre,’ whose master ‘badde hym
“Welcom, Traitor.”’ Then—

    Yn the syght of all his men he was drawyn ought of the grete shippe
    yn to the bote ... and oon of the lewdeste of the shippe badde hym
    ley down his hedde, and he should be fair ferd wyth, and dye on a
    swerd; and toke a rusty swerd, and smotte of his hedde withyn halfe
    a doseyn strokes, and toke awey his gown of russet, and his
    dobelette of velvet mayled, and leyde his body on the sonds of

Although the first Duke of Suffolk suffered this ignominious death, the
tide of fortune for his family still rose. John, his son, the second
Duke, married the sister of King Edward IV.; and in the year 1484 their
son John, Earl of Lincoln, was declared heir-presumptive to the throne
of England.

                  *       *       *       *       *



This is the high-water mark of the family fortunes. The battle of
Bosworth, and the accession of King Henry VII. a year later, altered
everything. The Earl of Lincoln took up arms against King Henry on
behalf of the pretender, Lambert Simnel, and was killed at the battle of
Stoke in 1487. His younger brother, Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk,
was considered a man too dangerous to be allowed to live and was
beheaded by Henry VIII. in 1513; and his remaining brother, Sir Richard
de la Pole, having fled to Italy, was killed in the battle of Pavia in

                     =Sir WILLIAM DE LA POLE.=
            A merchant of Ravenserodd, who migrated to Hull.
               |                                      |
    =Sir Richard de la Pole.=            =Sir William de la Pole.=
       A merchant of Hull;               A merchant of Hull, founder
            d. 1346.                     of the Hull Charterhouse and
               |                         first Mayor of Hull (1332–5);
               |                                   d. 1366.
               |                                      |
                                            =Michael de la Pole,
                                              Earl of Suffolk.=
                                      Mayor of Hull 1376, and Admiral
                                    of the King’s Fleets in the Northern
                                       Parts; Italian Ambassador and
               |                         Lord Chancellor of England;
               |                          d. 1389 in exile at Paris.
               |                                      |
         =Richard, Duke                   =Michael, Earl of Suffolk.=
        of Buckingham and                   Fought at Harfleur, and
            Chandos.=                       died of dysentery, Sept.
            d. 1889.                              18, 1415.
            |                                     |
        =Michael,                     =William, Earl of Suffolk.=
    Earl of Suffolk.=                Commander of the English army
   Slain at Agincourt,             in France; became =Marquis=, and
     Oct. 25, 1415.              later =Duke, of Suffolk=; was accused
                                      of various crimes, exiled,
                                      and murdered at sea, 1450.
                                           Duke of Suffolk.=
                                          Married Elizabeth,
                                         sister of Edward IV.
                                         and of Richard III.;
                                               d. 1491.
             |                         |                    |
      =John de la Pole,        =Edmund de la Pole,    =Sir Richard
      Earl of Lincoln.=         Earl of Suffolk.=      de la Pole.=
 Declared heir-presumptive        Beheaded by          Fled to Italy,
   to the English throne       Henry VIII., 1513.      and was killed
 1484; Commander-in-Chief                              at Pavia, 1525.
    in Lambert Simnel’s
 rebellion; killed at Stoke

                      PEDIGREE OF THE DE LA POLES.

In all English history there is no stranger family history than that of
the De la Poles. For had there been no battle of Bosworth, the
great-great-great-great-grandson of a Hull merchant would, in all
probability, have become King John II. Such, however, was not to be, and
there is now living no descendant of the first William de la Pole in the
male line. A few years ago the female line was represented in the Duke
of Buckingham and Chandos, who was lineally descended from Richard de la
Pole, the elder partner in the ‘great Hull Firm of De la Pole Brothers.’

                        MONKS, NUNS, AND FRIARS.


Scattered over some of the pleasantest parts of Yorkshire are to be
found the ruined homes of men and women who centuries ago formed a very
distinct class among the people of our country. These men and women were
the monks, friars, and nuns of mediæval England, and their homes were
known as monasteries and friaries.

The foundation of monasteries was due to the growth of an idea that men
and women could serve God better by withdrawing entirely from worldly
affairs, and by giving themselves up to a life of continual prayer and
worship. Many were established in England during the tenth and eleventh
centuries, but the great period of their foundation was that from 1066
to 1216. During these years no fewer than 556 monasteries were founded
in our country, and 65 of these were in Yorkshire.

[Illustration: A CISTERCIAN MONK.]

According to whether a monastery was independent of all others or not,
it ranked as an Abbey or a Priory; and according to the particular code
of rules under which its inmates lived, it was inhabited by
Benedict were popularly known as _Black Monks_, and their three Abbeys
in Yorkshire were at Whitby, Selby and York. They had no House in the
East Riding, but there were Benedictine nunneries at Nunburnholme,
Nunkeeling, Wilberfoss and Yedingham.

The Order of the Cistercians, or _White Monks_, received its name from
the Abbey of Citeaux in Normandy. In this the rules were stricter and
the life harder than among the Benedictines. The Cistercians believed
that the work of a man’s hands was as acceptable an offering to God as
the recitation of prayers and the chanting of psalms, and hence they
became great farmers and wool-growers.[29] Yorkshire was particularly
their county, and the great Abbeys of Fountains, Rievaulx, Jervaulx and
Byland were some of the wealthiest and most powerful in England. In the
East Riding the Cistercians had an Abbey at Meaux and a nunnery at

Footnote 29:

  In 1280 the monks of Meaux owned 11,000 sheep and 1000 beasts.

[Illustration: A BENEDICTINE NUN.]

A still stricter Order of monks was that of the Carthusians, who
received their name from the Abbey of Chartreuse in the south-east of
France. From the popular corruption of the word ‘Chartreuse’ into
‘Charterhouse,’ their monasteries became generally known as
_Charterhouses_. One of these was established at Hull by Sir Michael de
la Pole,[30] and there was in the North Riding another at Mount Grace,
near Northallerton.

Footnote 30:

  Close to this Carthusian monastery Sir Michael also built—in 1384—a
  _Maison Dieu_, or Hospital, for twenty-six poor men and women, ‘feeble
  and old.’ Its buildings were pulled down during the second siege of
  Hull, but afterwards replaced by others. This is the ‘Charterhouse’
  that exists to-day, the present buildings dating from 1780.

The life of a monk or a nun was one spent apart from the world but, at
the same time, in common with all other inmates of the monastery or
nunnery. The inmates worked together, prayed together, had their meals
together, and slept in a common dormitory.

Their life was also one of absolute devotion to carrying out the rules
of their Order. Each inmate took, on entering the religious life, the
three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. By the first, no monk or
nun might own separate possessions except the necessary clothing and
bedding. Thus, one mattress, two pairs of blankets, two counterpanes,
one cowl and frock, two tunics, two pairs of vests, four pairs of
breeches, two pairs of shoes, four pairs of socks, two pairs of
day-boots, one pair of night-boots, one night-cap, two towels, one
soiled-linen ‘pokett,’ and one shaving cloth formed the wardrobe of a
Black Monk. In addition he might possess a silver spoon, and then his
outfit was complete. By the second vow he bound himself never to marry,
and by the third to obey implicitly the orders of his superiors.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Houses of these monks and nuns were, with slight exceptions here and
there, constructed on certain definite lines, which can best be
illustrated by a plan of the Cistercian Abbey of Kirkstall, near Leeds.
Surrounding all was a wall, not shown in the plan.

The arrangement of the various buildings was very simple. Foremost in
importance ranked the _church_, which was always the first building to
be erected and that on which the greatest wealth was lavished. To the
south of this were attached the domestic buildings, grouped round a
central _cloister court_. Of these the most important were the _chapter
house_, in which the monks assembled each morning to hear a chapter from
the Latin rules of their Order; the four _cloisters_ or covered walks in
which the daily tasks of the monks were performed; the _frater_ or
_refectory_, in which their midday meal was served; and the _dorter_ or
_dormitory_, in which they slept. This last ran above the line of
buildings to the south of the south transept, and had a staircase
leading directly into this as well as one leading into the east



  _From ‘Transactions of the East Riding Antiquarian Society,’ Vol.

The other buildings included the _sacristy_ or treasure-house; the
_library_; the _locutorium_ or parlour, which was a meeting-place for
conversation as well as a school for the novices; the _infirmary_ for
sick monks; the _calefactory_, or warming-house, where a fire was kept
burning from the first day in November till the following Easter; the
_kitchen_; the _cellarium_ or store-room; the _hospitium_ or
guest-house; and the _Abbot’s house_.

Attached to each House of the Cistercians was a band of _conversi_, or
lay brethren, the uneducated portion of the community, who did all the
rough work of the House. Their frater and dorter were separate from the
other buildings, the dorter running over the cellarium; and they
attended service in the nave of the church, whereas the monks used the
choir or chancel.

Such was the general plan of a Cistercian monastery or nunnery. That of
the Benedictines did not differ from it except that their churches were
larger and more magnificently built than those of the Cistercians, and
their fraters ran east and west instead of north and south.

Look at the outer wall of the south aisle of Bridlington Priory Church,
and you will at once notice something strange. The windowless wall and
blocked arches are due to the fact that the Abbot’s house adjoined the
church at this spot. Look along the wall farther to the east, and you
will see plainly the brackets on which once rested the roof beams of one
of the four cloisters.

In some cases the domestic buildings lay to the north of the church, but
this was exceptional. Advantage was usually taken of the protection
afforded by the church against the biting north winds of winter, an
advantage not to be despised by those who had to live in unwarmed stone
buildings on the bleak moorlands of Yorkshire. One can imagine a
shivering monk returning from his two hours’ service in the church at
two o’clock on a cold winter’s morning, and piling on the bed his whole
wardrobe in a vain endeavour to keep the marrow of his bones from
freezing into solid ice. It was worth something to be an Abbot. For the
Abbot’s house had fire-places, and there would be little fear of his
forgetting to make use of such a comfortable privilege.


                  *       *       *       *       *

As was mentioned earlier in the chapter, the monk lived in common with
his fellows. In winter his time-table was as follows:—

      7 a.m.—Prime—a prayer,[31] hymn, and three psalms.
      8 a.m.—Mixtum or breakfast.
   8–30 a.m.—Morning mass.
      9 a.m.—Chapter, followed by confession of sins and punishment for
     10 a.m.—High mass.
     11 a.m.—Dinner.
    12 noon.—Manual work.
      5 p.m.—Vespers.
   6–30 p.m.—Collation—a short reading in the chapter house.
      7 p.m.—Compline—a service in the church.
   7–30 p.m.—Bed.
 12 midnight—Matins and Lauds—services in the church.
      2 a.m.—Bed.

Footnote 31:

  The prayer with which the daily life began was this: ‘O Lord God
  Almighty, Who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, so assist
  us by Thy grace, that we may not fall this day into sin, but that our
  words may be spoken and our thoughts and deeds directed according to
  Thy just commands.’

Strict regulations were made with regard to the church services, manual
work, and meals. Each monk had some definite occupation for his working
hours. He was a stonemason, a carpenter, a worker in metals, a scribe,
or a farmer; and his work must be carried out in silence—a very needful
exception being made in the case of the blacksmiths.

Each monk’s dinner allowance was one pound of bread and a pint of wine
or ale, with two cooked dishes and fruit or salad. Mondays, Wednesdays,
Fridays, and all the days in Lent were fast days, when no meat might be
eaten. On these fast days there were allowed as cooked dishes to every
two monks either two plaice or mackerel, or four soles, or eight
herrings or whiting, or ten eggs. No breakfast was the rule on fast
days, and to avoid excess of blood due to good living, each monk was
‘cupped’ four times a year.

Table manners were also looked after. ‘No one was to clean his cup with
his fingers, nor wipe his hands, or mouth, or knife, upon the
tablecloths.... Salt was to be taken with a knife, and the drinking-cup
was to be held always in both hands.’



  The two arches at the back formed the lavatory, where the monks
  washed their hands before passing into the frater by the door
  on the left.

More severe by far was the life of the Carthusians. They lived solitary
lives, each in his separate two-roomed cell, never talking to others,
and not even seeing others except at matins and vespers. A Carthusian
never ate meat and always wore a hair shirt next his skin. It is
therefore not surprising that this Order did not become a popular one.

                  *       *       *       *       *

So far we have been dealing with monks and nuns. Besides these there
were the REGULAR CANONS—men who lived under a _regula_, or rule, as did
the monks, and who took the same three vows, but who were generally
priests, while the monks were generally laymen. The Augustinian Canons
had priories at Bridlington, Haltemprice, Kirkham, North Ferriby and
Warter, and there was a Gilbertine nunnery at Ellerton and a House for
both Gilbertine Canons and Benedictine Nuns at Watton. Here the canons
and nuns had each their separate domestic buildings, but they shared the
church, the canons using one half of it and the nuns the other half.



  Formerly one of the gateways to the Priory grounds.

Quite distinct from monks and canons were the FRIARS. Monks were
concerned with one thing only—the salvation of their own souls. Hence
their monasteries were, as a rule, built in desolate spots, far removed
from the centres of population. The churches of the canons were, in most
cases, partly used as parish churches, the prior of the convent being
also the rector of the parish. Friars were concerned with the salvation
of the souls and bodies of other people, hence they established
themselves in populous towns. _Fratres_, or _frères_, they were to all
poor people, whether they were Dominican Friars, Franciscan Friars,
Carmelite Friars, or Austin Friars.


  (_From Abbot Gasquet’s ‘English Monastic Life.’_)

The followers of St. Dominic were the teachers, the followers of St.
Francis the doctors, of the middle ages. _Black Friars_ and _Grey
Friars_ they were in the language of the common people. Beverley had its
Dominican and Franciscan Friaries, while Kingston-upon-Hull had its
Carmelite and Austin Friaries—the names of the two latter remaining
to-day in our ‘Whitefriargate’ and ‘Blackfriargate.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

It is difficult for us to realise what enthusiasm there was in the olden
days for that which was called ‘the religious life.’ ‘It is good for us
to be here, for here a man lives more purely, falls more rarely, rests
more safely, and dies more happily’ was the honest thought of each of
the _religious_ in early days.

But as with all other human institutions, these good ideals perished in
the course of time. Men did not continue to live up to the rules of
their Order. Even in Chaucer’s time—that is, before the year 1400—the
typical monk had travelled far away from his vows of poverty and

             Full many a dainty horse had he in stable.
                  *      *      *      *      *      *
             Greyhounds he had as swift as fowls in flight;
             Of riding and of hunting for the hare
             Was his delight, for no cost would he spare.
                  *      *      *      *      *      *
             He was not pale as a tormented ghost,
             A fat swan loved he best of any roast.

Chaucer’s friar was likewise a wanton and merry man, who knew the
taverns well in every town.

              His tippet was aye stuffèd full of knives,
              And pins also, fit for to give fair wives.
              And certainly he had a merry note,
              Well could he sing and play upon a rote.[32]

Footnote 32:

  A violin with three strings.




Each of two East Riding villages, Harpham and Cherry Burton, claims to
be the birthplace of Saint John of Beverley. His date of birth is even
more uncertain than his place of birth; but we know that he was sent to
school at the monastery at Canterbury, and afterwards became an inmate
of the famous monastery of St. Hilda at Whitby. Then he was for nineteen
years Bishop of Hexham, and finally, in 705 or 706, was ‘translated’ to
York, and thus became the fifth in the long line of eighty-nine
Archbishops from Paulinus to Cosmo Lang.

While John was Bishop of Hexham he purchased a plot of ground in
Beverley, and on it built a church which he placed in charge of a small
number of canons. The surrounding country was then nothing but swamp and
forest—the swamps of the river Hull and the wild woodland whose name has
come down to us as ‘Beverley Westwood.’ So fond of this church was John,
that in 718 he gave up his Archbishopric and retired to Beverley, where
he died three years later.

John’s church suffered the fate which came to nearly all the monasteries
and churches of those far-off times. The ravaging Northmen fell upon it,
and it was not till the reign of King Aethelstan that it recovered from
their attacks.

Then its fame began to grow. In 934 Aethelstan was marching north to
make war upon the Scots, and when at Lincoln met—so the story runs—a
band of pilgrims who joyously declared that they had been healed of all
manner of diseases by visiting the tomb of the blessed John of Beverley.
Their story induced the King to pay a visit to the same tomb; so he
journeyed directly north, crossed the Humber, and went on to Beverley,
while his army went round by the longer branch of the old Roman road to

Arriving at Beverley, Aethelstan besought the aid of the holy Bishop
John, and placed his knife on the high altar as a pledge of the rewards
that he would bestow upon the church if he were successful in his
journey. Thereupon a vision of John of Beverley appeared before his
eyes, and he heard the words, ‘Pass fearlessly with your army, for you
shall conquer’—words which certainly came true enough.

Believing that his success was due entirely to the power of the holy
Bishop whose banner he had brought with him from Beverley, the King, on
his return, liberally fulfilled his pledge, and endowed John’s church
with grants of lands, tolls, and the right of Sanctuary.

                   =Swa mickel fredom give i ye,=
                   =Swa bert may think or egbe see=—

is the way in which a charter of much later date than the time of
Aethelstan describes the King’s gifts to John of Beverley’s church.


So great after this became the fame of the miracles performed at the
tomb of the founder of the church, that in 1037 the Pope ordered that
John of Beverley should thenceforth be ranked as a Saint. His bones and
other relics were then laid in a magnificent shrine in front of the high
altar, and the story of the fate which came upon the sacrilegious
Toustain in 1069 is sufficient evidence of their power.[33]

Footnote 33:

  See page 152.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The charter of Aethelstan was renewed by Edward the Confessor, Henry I.,
and Stephen; and in the reign of the last-named King the banner of St.
John was for the second time in the forefront of a battle against the
Scots. This was the _Battle of the Standard_, when the banners of the
four northern Saints—St. Peter of York, St. Cuthbert of Durham, St.
Wilfrid of Ripon, and St. John of Beverley—brought victory to the
English host.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

  ‘Early English.’ Doorway in the South Transept of Beverley Minster.


Once again an English King visited Beverley and carried north with him
the banner of St. John. The King was Edward I., the ‘Hammer of the
Scots,’ and the Household Accounts of his reign show that in 1299 there
was paid:

    To master Gilbert de Grimsby, vicar of the collegiate church of St.
    John de Beverley, for his wages, from the 25th day of November, on
    which day he left Beverley to proceed, by command of the King, with
    the standard of St. John, in the King’s suite aforesaid, to various
    parts of Scotland, until the 9th day of January, both computed, 46
    days, at 8½d. per diem ...

                                                              £1 8s. 9d.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

     Small ‘Decorated’ Doorway at the west end of Beverley Minster.


Edward II., Henry IV., Henry V., and Henry VI. all paid visits to the
shrine of St. John of Beverley, and his power was once more demonstrated
in the victory of the English army at the battle of Agincourt. For
during the time that the battle was being waged, did not the tomb of the
Saint sweat drops of holy oil? So at least said the pilgrims to the
shrine, and certainly they ought to have known whether it did or not.

Royal gifts and pilgrims’ offerings brought great prosperity to the
church of St. John of Beverley. But evil days were fast approaching, and
in 1547 Royal Commissioners were sent to report on it. They reported
that there were attached to the church a Provost, 9 Canons, 7 Parsons, 9
Vicars, 15 Chantry Priests, 4 Sacristans, 2 Incense Bearers, 8
Choristers, and 22 others, a total of 77 officers, who shared among them
an income of £900 derived from lands and tithes. Two years later its
revenues were declared confiscated to the Crown, and its inmates reduced
in number to 1 Vicar and 3 Assistants.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Of the building as it was in its earliest days we know little. In
Aethelstan’s time it was probably entirely of wood. The erection of a
stone church is believed to have taken place in the reign of Edward the
Confessor, but we know that in 1188 the chancel and transepts of this
church were destroyed by fire.

Rebuilding was commenced shortly afterwards, and a lofty tower was built
on the weak foundations of the older one. As a result the new tower soon
fell, and about 1225 the building of an entirely new church was taken in
hand. This was the time when what we call the _Early English_ style of
building was in vogue, and there is nothing of this style in all England
finer than the chancel and transepts of Beverley Minster.[34]

Footnote 34:

  The name _Minster_ became attached in mediæval times to the great
  churches which were not parish churches but were governed by a
  _College_, or body of secular canons.

If you look at the old engraving of the Minster given on page 137 you
will notice that this one style of building was not followed throughout
the church. Just past the transepts the style changes into the
_Decorated_ style. The reason is that there was a long interval of
nearly one hundred years during which the canons had not enough money to
continue their building operations, so that the work came to a
standstill. Meanwhile the Norman nave was still standing; and when at
last money again became plentiful, a larger nave in the new and
fashionable style was built around the old one. A curious result of this
mode of building is seen to-day in that the pillars of the nave are not
exactly opposite to one another, because the builders were not able to
measure directly across from one to the other.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

 Part of the Arcading on the south side of the Nave in Beverley Minster,
     showing the change of style from ‘Early English’ to ‘Decorated.’


Another glance at the old engraving will show that a further change in
men’s ideas of building took place before the church was finished. The
ravages of the ‘Black Death’ stopped progress for a time; and when the
great twin towers of the west end were built, the _Perpendicular_ style
of building had become fashionable. Then, in order that the east window
should be in fashion with the west window, it was rebuilt ‘in the latest
style.’ Thus we have in the church three successive styles of building,
quite different from one another, and yet so blended that they make one
harmonious whole.

After the confiscation of the church property in 1549, the Minster fell,
naturally, into sad disrepair. Its beautiful octagonal chapter house was
sold and pulled down. One hundred and ten years ago the Minster was
reported to be almost a ruin. So bad was its condition that the
beautiful gable of the north transept had bulged outwards no less than
four feet, and was saved from destruction only by the skill of a
carpenter named Thornton, who erected a huge screen of timber, and
forced the wall back to its upright position.


  The cat and the fiddle._’


In 1886 a great architect, Sir Gilbert Scott, was employed to make
necessary restorations. First of all he took down the dome-like roof,
with gilded ball above it, seen in the old engraving of the Minster.
True, the Minster still lacks the central tower which, like the
cathedrals of York, Durham, and Lincoln, it was originally planned to
have; but better none at all than the unsuitable dome which our
ancestors built a century ago. The beautiful choir screen was designed
also by Sir Gilbert Scott, and was carved by a Beverley craftsman, Mr.
James Elwell.

Since 1886 the main work of restoration has been the filling in of the
numerous niches around the walls, each of which before the Reformation
had its statue, great or small. Only one of these ancient statues
remains, a statue of one of the Percy family, on a buttress of the north
face of the north tower. There are now in position on the walls of the
Minster 182 statues—108 outside and 74 inside—most of which have been
provided through the generosity of Canon Nolloth.


There is much of interest to see around the Minster. The best view of
the great towers is obtained from the entrance to Minster Moorgate; that
of the interior of the nave from the upper floor at the west end, which
is reached by a staircase in the north tower.

Climb to the top of the tower and you will, if the day is fine, be
rewarded with a wide-reaching view over Beverley Westwood and the Plain
of Holderness. Go into the chancel and examine the Percy Tomb. You are
looking at the most magnificent stonework of the fourteenth century in
the whole of Europe. Lift up the seats in the canons’ stalls and you
will see the best collection of carved _miserere_ seats in England. Sit
in the ancient _Frith-Stool_ and you can imagine yourself to be either
an innocent victim of oppression or a criminal of the deepest
dye—whichever you prefer. Stand before the great east window, and admire
the beauty of the old stained glass of which it is composed. Or stand
before the great west window and you will see portrayed in its coloured
glass Augustine and Aethelberht of Kent and St. John of Beverley, the
marriage of Edwin and Ethelburga, the baptism of Edwin by Paulinus, and
Coifi, the heathen high priest, with his broken idols—an epitome of the
early church history of our country.


The Church in the Middle Ages had a tremendous hold over people’s minds,
and this was largely due to the power which it wielded over their
bodies. Foremost amongst the rights then possessed by it was the right
of ‘Sanctuary,’ by which the poor and injured could gain safety from the
attacks of their oppressors, and one who had unwittingly committed a
crime might save himself from a criminal’s death. This right belonged,
in greater or less degree, to all the churches scattered up and down the

Let us imagine a by-no-means uncommon event in the years just after the
Black Death. A husbandman is working for his master as a free labourer
and small cottager. His father before him had also been a free labourer,
but his grandfather had in his youth been a serf of the lord of a
neighbouring manor. This grandfather of his, because the serfs had
increased beyond their lord’s requirements, had been allowed with others
to go free; and taking advantage of his freedom he had sought and
obtained work as a free labourer under a new master. But now, after the
Black Death, labourers are scarce; and the present lord of the manor is
causing to be looked up all the descendants of those serfs whom his
ancestor had set free. Thus the lord’s bailiff has been making enquiries
about our freeman, and has sent two servants to arrest him and take him
back to the serfdom that his grandfather had once suffered.

But our freeman is a man of spirit, and will not be taken without
resistance. Knives are drawn, and he defends himself. In the scuffle one
of his assailants stumbles and falls, and unluckily for himself and for
our freeman, he happens to fall upon his own weapon, which pierces his
body and so causes his death. His comrade, chicken-hearted, fears to
continue the struggle alone, and makes off to the village for help.

What is our freeman to do? If he remains where he is and allows himself
to be taken, not only will he be claimed as a serf by the lord of the
neighbouring manor, but he will also be charged with causing the death
of the lord’s servant.

Little chance is there of his proving himself innocent of his
assailant’s death; for the dead man’s companion will not fail to swear
that the death-blow was struck by him. In any case he will be thrown
into the town jail for an indefinite length of time, perhaps not to come
out alive, or to come out maimed for life. Were not three prisoners, two
men and a woman, thrown into the jail last year on suspicion of having
been concerned in a murder, and were they not kept there till one of the
men died, the other lost a foot, and the woman lost both feet, from
disease produced by the foul condition of the cell into which they were

So thinks our freeman to himself. It is little comfort to him to
remember that when the two prisoners who remained alive were eventually
tried, they were found ‘not guilty’ of the charge laid against them, and
were told by the justices that they could depart.

                  *       *       *       *       *

What can our freeman do? In a short while the lord of the manor’s other
servant will come up with help against him, and he must then be
overpowered. He can only flee. But whither? In the distance he can just
distinguish the outline of the great church of St. John of Beverley. If
he can only reach that church and knock on the small door that holds the
sanctuary knocker he will be safe.


_Photo by_]  Sanctuary Cross at Bishop Burton.   [_C. W. Mason_


So off he sets on a six-mile run, with life before him and death behind.
He has a good start over his pursuers, whom he can just make out
half-a-mile or so away, but will he be able to hold out till he reaches
the goal set before him? Nearer and nearer becomes the church, and
although his pursuers are gaining on him, yet his heart is cheered by
the sight of the boundary cross which tells him he has little more than
a mile now to run, and which in itself gives him a certain amount of
protection. For should he now be taken, he is under the protection of
St. John, and his pursuers will lay hands on him at the risk of a fine
of eight pounds payable to the Church.

Spurred on by fresh hope he reaches his goal, and has just sufficient
strength to clang the knocker before he falls heavily against the heavy
door. ‘Oh that the door may be opened quickly!’ His prayer is answered;
for a watching priest has seen the pursuit. He draws back the bolt,
drags in the senseless form, and clangs to the door again just as the
pursuers reach it.

For a space of thirty days our freeman will now be safe, and during
these thirty days he will be fed and lodged by the canons of the
Minster. But first he will be required, with his hand placed on the
great written copy of the Bible possessed by the Minster, to take an
oath read out to him by the Coroner in the following words:—

    ‘Sir, take hede on your oth—

    Ye shalbe trew and feythfull to my Lord Archbisshop of York, Lord
    off this towne....

    Also ye shall bere gude hert to the Baillie and xij governars of
    this town....

    Also ye shall bere no poynted wepen, dagger, knyfe, ne none other
    wapen, ayenst the Kynges pece.

    Also ye shalbe redy at all your power, if ther be any debate or
    stryf, or oder sothan case of fyre within the towne, to help to
    surcess it.

    Also ye shalbe redy at the obite[35] of Kyng Adelstan ... at the
    warnyng of the belman of the towne, and doe your dewte in

Footnote 35:

  A service held in memory of the death of a benefactor.

Then having taken the oath he will be required to ‘kysse the book.’

But in the eyes of the law our freeman is a felon—a man over whose head
there hangs a charge of murder, and who will have little chance of
proving his innocence of this charge. He must avail himself of the law
established of old and confirmed by King Edward II.—

    Let the felon be brought to the church door, and there be assigned
    unto him a port, near or far off, and a time appointed to him to go
    out of the realm, so that in going towards that port he carry a
    cross in his hand, and that he go not out of the King’s highway,
    neither on the right hand nor on the left, but that he keep it
    always until he shall be gone out of the land; and that he shall not
    return without special grace of our lord the King.

Such were the rights of sanctuary possessed by the Minster at Beverley.
For the space of a mile around the church in every direction the peace
of St. John extended, and within this circle—the boundaries of which
were marked by the erection of a ‘sanctuary cross’ on each of the roads
entering Beverley—partial safety was assured to all fugitives. But the
nearer a fugitive got to the high altar of the Minster the safer he
became. Seated in the _Frith-Stool_ that stood by the side of the altar
he was absolutely safe; for none—not even the King himself—dare violate
its sacred peace.

The Beverley frith-stool now stands in the chancel near the north-east
transept. A plain, massive seat of stone it is, so massive and so simple
in design that its age seems greater than that of the Minster itself.
Possibly it dates back to the days of the Saxon King Aethelstan. It was
once engraved, we know, with a Latin inscription, the translation of
which ran thus:

    This stone seat is called FREEDSTOLL, that is, chair of peace, on
    reaching which a fugitive criminal enjoys complete safety.

A frith-stool very similar to the Beverley one exists at Hexham Abbey in
Northumberland, and in the village church of Halsham in our East Riding
there is what is thought to be another. Here, however, the ‘chair of
peace’ is built into the wall of the chancel between the sedilia and the
priests’ door. No other examples are known in Yorkshire.


Of sanctuary knockers still existing the finest is the Norman one on the
north door of Durham Cathedral, but nearer home there is a good example
on a door of All Saints’ Church at York. That which once existed, and
which was so freely used, on a door of Beverley Minster has long ago
disappeared, nor is there any known example in the East Riding.


_Photo by_]                              [_W. Watson_

        Sanctuary Knocker on a Door of All Saints’ Church, York.


As an instance of the protection afforded to the people by the existence
of this right of sanctuary, and of the power of the Church over the
minds of even such Kings as William the Conqueror, may be given the
story told by Alured,[36] a priest of the Minster of St. John in the
reign of William’s son, Henry I.:—

    At the time when William was engaged on his ‘Wasting of the North’
    he had once pitched his camp seven miles from Beverley, and had
    caused all the people of the district to flee to the church for
    protection. Certain soldiers coming up intent on plunder made their
    way to the church, and their leader, Toustain by name, did not
    hesitate to spur his horse within its open door. But the vengeance
    of St. John came down upon him for his impious deed, his horse
    stumbled on the threshold, and Toustain fell with broken neck.
    Moreover, when his men picked him up, his head was found to be
    twisted towards his back, and his feet and hands were distorted like
    those of a mis-shapen monster. Fear came upon all the Norman
    soldiers, and when William was informed of the miracle that had
    happened, fear came also upon him; so that he confirmed all the
    privileges of the church, gave it a grant of lands at Sigglesthorne,
    and decreed that the lands of the blessed Saint John should be
    everywhere spared from the ‘Wasting.’

Footnote 36:

  An old spelling of ‘Alfred.’

In affording protection to the innocent, the injured, and the oppressed,
the Church was carrying on a good work. But we must remember that the
same protection was afforded to those actually guilty of all possible
crimes. The registers kept at Beverley show that during a space of sixty
years in the reigns of King Edward IV., Richard III., Henry VII. and
Henry VIII., those who claimed the right of sanctuary included:—

          186 who were charged with murder,
           54  ”   ”      ”     ”   felony,
            1  ”  was     ”     ”   horse-stealing,
            1  ”   ”      ”     ”   treason,
            1 who was charged with receiving stolen goods,
            7  ”  were     ”    ”   coining,
          208  ”   ”      ”     ”   debt,
           35  ”   ”      ”     ”   other crimes.
          493 who were charged with various offences.

In the Beverley registers there are 469 entries, of which all but a few
are written in Latin. One of the English entries will give an idea of
the kind of record kept:—

                           John Spret, Gentilman.

    Memorandum, that John Spret, of Barton upon Umber, in the Counte of
    Lyncoln, gentilman, com to Beverlay, the ferst day of October, the
    vij yer of the reen of Keing Herry the vij, and asked the lybertes
    of Saint John of Beverlay, for the dethe of John Welton, husbondman,
    of the same town, and knawleg[37] hymselff to be at the kyllyng of
    the saym John with a dagarth,[38] the xv day of August.

Footnote 37:


Footnote 38:


It is evident from these 469 entries that the Beverley Sanctuary must
have been of special repute. For the criminals who asked the liberties
of Saint John of Beverley came from parts of Britain as wide apart as
Lowestoft, Honiton, Haverfordwest, Anglesey, and Durham. No fewer than
thirty came from London, Beverley itself provided five, _Preston in
Holdernes_ three, and _Kyngestone super Hull_ ten; while others came
from _Heydon_, _Hezell_, _Hoton Cransewik_, _Hogett super le Wolde_,
_Otteryngham_, _Wetherwyk_, and fifty other towns and villages in the
East Riding.

All ranks and conditions of life are represented among these entries,
from the _armiger_ or knight, and _generosus_ or person of noble birth,
down to the common _laborer_. The _goldsmyth_, the _surgyon_, the
_grosiar_—an alderman of London—the _yoman_, the _chapman_, the
_shepard_, and the _husbondman_ are there. So, sad to relate, is the
_capellanus_, or chaplain; and among the tradesmen there are the
_berbrower_, _bocher_, _bowyer_, _brykemaker_, _capper_, _coke_,
_flecher_,[39] _fysshemonger_, _payntour_, _pewterer_, _plommer_,
_pursor_, _pynner_, _saddiler_, _salter_, _syngyngman_, and

Footnote 39:

  A _flecher_, or _fletcher_, was an arrow-maker.

                  *       *       *       *       *

  Under such circumstances as these, it is not wonderful that complaints
  of the misuse of sanctuary rights became frequent. In 1324 ten
  prisoners escaped from Newgate Jail, of whom five took refuge in one
  or other of the London churches, and thence escaped out of the
  country. In 1376 Parliament complained to the King that certain people
  got money or goods on loan, made pretended gifts of all their property
  to their friends, then went into sanctuary, and stayed there till
  their creditors were glad to accept some small portion of the debt in
  payment for the whole; after which they came out, received back their
  pretended gifts, and lived merrily on their ill-gotten wealth. Cases
  even occurred in which thieves and murderers left their place of
  sanctuary at nightfall, committed fresh crimes during the night, and
  returned to the ‘chair of peace’ again before daybreak.

  So great did the scandal of this misuse of the privileges afforded by
  sanctuaries eventually become, that in 1623 Parliament passed a law

    No sanctuarie or priviledge of sanctuary shal be hereafter admitted
    or allowed in any case.

  The law was again passed in 1697, but it was not until the reign of
  George I. that the last sanctuary in our country was demolished.

                               AT SPURN.

In the old Norse account of the life of Harold Hardrada it is stated
that after the battle of Stamford Bridge Olaf, the King’s son, ‘led the
fleet from England, setting sail from _Hrafnseyri_.’ This is the
earliest mention that we have of the bank of sand and shingle which is
known to-day as Spurn Point, and the name of the place—‘Hrafn’s
gravel-bank’—is evidence of both its general appearance and its
ownership in the year 1066.

For two centuries after this we have no mention of it, but in the
meanwhile there had grown up two settlements to each of which the name
Ravenser was attached. _Ald Ravenser_—that is, Old Ravenser—was ‘inland,
distant both from the sea and the Humber’; while _Ravenserodd_, or as we
should write it, Ravenser Point, lay ‘between the waters of the sea and
those of the Humber,’ and was ‘distant from the main land a space of one
mile and more.’ Connecting the two was a sandy road ‘covered with round
and yellow stones, thrown up in a little time by the height of the
floods, having a breadth which an archer can scarcely shoot across, and
wonderfully maintained by the tides of the sea on its east side, and the
ebb and flow of the Humber on its west side.’

Of the birth of the former of these towns we know nothing, but the birth
of the latter was described by one of the jurors in a lawsuit brought in
the year 1290 by the men of Grimsby against the men of Ravenserodd.
Several years before a ship had stranded on a sand bank, and the wreck
had been taken possession of by an enterprising fellow who used it as a
store for meat and drink which he sold to sailors and merchants. Then
others came to dwell on the sand-bank, and in 1235 or thereabouts the
Earl of Albemarl, Lord of Holderness, began there the building of a

                  *       *       *       *       *

The growth of this town must have been rapid; for in 1251 the King
granted to the Earl of Albemarl the right to hold in Ravenserodd a
weekly market and a fair lasting sixteen days. Then trouble began
between the men of the town and the men of Grimsby, and the latter
complained that

    the men of the said town of Ravenserodd go out with their boats into
    the high sea, where there are ships carrying merchandise, and
    intending to come to Grimsby with their merchandise. The said men
    hinder those ships from coming to Grimsby, and lead them to Ravenser
    by force when they cannot amicably persuade them to go thither.

So we see that ‘peaceful picketing’ was not altogether unknown in these
parts six hundred years ago.

At intervals during the reigns of Edward II. and Edward III. the men of
Ravenser were called upon to provide a ship for the King’s wars against
Scotland. In each case the ship was to be furnished with from thirty to
a hundred of ‘the stoutest and strongest men of the town, with armour,
victuals, and other necessaries.’ In 1332, also, an expedition of five
hundred men-at-arms and two thousand archers set sail from Ravenser for
Scotland, having on board Edward Baliol, Lord Beaumont, Lord de Wake,
and others who wished to see Baliol crowned as King of Scotland. Their
wishes were fulfilled, for the expedition was successful and Baliol was
crowned at Scone.

From about this time the fortunes of Ravenser began to decline.
Probably the superior privileges granted by King Edward to his
_Kyngstown-svper-Hvll_ provided very largely the cause of the decline.
The climax of its misfortunes came with a succession of extremely high
tides about the year 1356—tides which ‘sometimes exceeding beyond
measure the height of the town, and surrounding it like a wall on
every side,’ caused its absolute destruction. In 1400 Ravenserodd was
recorded to be ‘altogether consumed,’ while nothing remained of Ald
Ravenser but a single manor-house.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Such was the condition of the once prosperous port when in the month of
June, 1399, Henry, Duke of Lancaster, and grandson of King Edward the
Third, landed on its site with sixty followers. As Henry of Bolingbroke,
Earl of Hereford, he had in 1398 been banished by King Richard II. for a
term of six years, in order that a duel between him and the Duke of
Norfolk might be prevented. As Henry, Duke of Lancaster, he now returned
to claim the estates of his father, John of Gaunt, which estates Richard
had confiscated on their holder’s death.

When Henry of Lancaster landed at _Ravenserespourne_, he found its sole
occupant to be a hermit, by name Matthew Danthorpe. This hermit was
engaged in building a chapel on the desolate bank of shingle; and great
must have been his surprise when a ship carrying a company of well-armed
men bore down upon his hermitage instead of passing up the river, as
ships were accustomed to do.

Still greater must his surprise have been when he found that the ship
belonged to a royal Duke, and that its arrival was shortly followed by
arrivals from inland of the great Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland,
and the Earl of Westmorland. His surprise was, probably, not unmixed
with fear. For he was building his chapel without having obtained a
license from the King, and rumours were soon flying about that Henry of
Lancaster had come to claim something more than the estates which were
his by right of descent.

These flying rumours soon became certainties. Other lords and barons
rallied round the standard of Henry, and before long his sixty followers
had become as many thousands. At the time of his landing King Richard
was in Ireland; and when, after being long delayed by contrary winds, he
landed on the coast of Wales, he soon fell into the hands of Henry and
was taken a prisoner to the Tower of London. On the 30th of September
Henry, addressing the Members of Parliament, spoke as follows:

    ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, I, Henry of
    Lancaster, challenge this realm of England ... as I am descended by
    right line of the blood coming from the good lord King Henry the

Then Parliament declared the abdication of King Richard the Second and
the accession of King Henry the Fourth.

And what meanwhile of the hermit of _Ravenserespourne_? Had Henry
forgotten him? On the last day of September Henry was proclaimed King,
on the first day of October he signed at Westminster a royal license
making known that:

    Of our special grace we have pardoned and remitted to the said
    Matthew all manner of trespasses and mistakes committed by him in
    this matter....

    And moreover, of our more abundant grace, we have given and granted
    to the said Matthew the aforesaid place, to hold to his successors,
    the hermits of the aforesaid place, together with the chapel
    aforesaid, when it shall be built and finished, and also the wreck
    of the sea, and waifs, and all other profits and commodities
    contingent to the sands for two leagues round the same place, for

The landing of King Henry IV. at Ravenser Spurn was commemorated by the
erection of a cross at the place of landing. Was it a grateful Matthew
Danthorpe who erected it? Very possibly. At any rate it was erected
within fourteen years of Henry’s landing. Many years afterwards it was
removed to Kilnsea; later still it was removed to Burton Constable, and
finally to Hedon, where it stands to-day in the garden of Holyrood

                  *       *       *       *       *

The reign of Henry IV. was followed by that of his son and that of his
grandson. Then came in 1471 one of the most curious parallels in history
that it is possible to imagine. The ‘Wars of the Roses’ had been
discomforting the land for sixteen years. Henry VI. had been deposed in
1461, and Edward IV. had been elected in his place. But in 1470 Henry
had once more been placed upon the throne and Edward had fled to
Holland. A year later the latter returned, and landed on the same spot
where Henry Bolingbroke had landed seventy-two years earlier.

The parallel, however, does not end with his landing. As Henry of
Lancaster proclaimed that he had come merely to claim his ancestral
lands, so Edward of York proclaimed that he had returned for this same
purpose only. As a Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, was the chief
supporter of Henry of Lancaster, so a Henry Percy, Earl of
Northumberland, came to the support of Edward of York. And as Henry of
Lancaster was fated to depose and put to death King Richard II., so
Edward of York was fated to overthrow and cause to be murdered King
Henry VI.

It had been Edward’s intention to land on the coast of Norfolk. But
finding a landing there impossible because of the guard kept by the
Earls of Warwick and Oxford, he had headed his four large and fourteen
small ships for the mouth of the Humber. The following is part of the
account of his landing given by Ralph Holinshed, a chronicler living in
the reign of Queen Elizabeth:—

    The same night following, a great storme of winds and weather rose,
    sore troubling the seas, and continued till the fourteenth day of
    that moneth being thursday, on the which day with greater danger, by
    reason of the tempestuous rage and torment of the troubled seas, he
    arriued at the head of Humber, where the other ships were scattered
    from him, each one seuered from other; so that of necessitie they
    were driuen to land in sunder where they best might, for doubt to be
    cast awaie in that perillous tempest. The king with the lord
    Hastings his chamberleine, and other to the number of fiue hundred
    men being in one ship, landed within Humber on Holdernesse side, at
    a place called Rauenspurgh, euen in the same place where Henrie erle
    of Derbie, after called king Henrie the fourth landed, when he came
    to depriue king Richard the second of the crowne, and to vsurpe it
    to himselfe.

    Richard, duke of Glocester, and three hundred men in his companie,
    tooke land in another place foure miles distant from thence, where
    his brother king Edward did land. The earle Riuers, and with him two
    hundred men, landed at a place called Pole, fourteene miles from the
    hauen where the king came on land. The residue of his people landed
    some here, some there, in place where for their suerties they
    thought best. On the morrow, being the fifteenth of March, now that
    the tempest ceased, and euerie man being got to land, they drew from
    euerie of their landing places towards the king, who for the first
    night was lodged in a poore village, two miles from the place where
    he first set foot on land.


_Photo by_]                             [_C.W. Mason_

                      Henry of Lancaster’s Cross.
              Now in the garden of Holyrood House, Hedon.


The landing of Edward IV. at Ravenser Spurn was not entirely to the
liking of the men of Holderness. At first he was opposed by forces
raised by ‘Syr John Westerdale,’ the vicar of Keyingham, and by a
certain Martin atte See, or Martin de la Mare, a descendant of the first
inhabitant of Ravenserodd. The vicar of Keyingham was afterwards cast
into a London prison for his opposition, but Martin de la Mare was won
over to Edward’s side, and was knighted eleven years later.

By his will Sir Martin de la Mare directed that he should be ‘beried in
the queere of the parissh churche of Alhalowes in Barneston in
Holdernes;’ and on the left-hand side of the chancel in this church
there is an altar tomb, with a beautiful alabaster effigy, which until
recently was thought to be his. It is, however, now known to be that of
another knight who was buried at Barmston some fifty years before the
death of Sir Martin de la Mare.

                        LIFE IN A MEDIÆVAL TOWN.



What sort of life did the townsfolk lead five centuries ago? Suppose the
townsfolk of to-day could suddenly be transported back five hundred
years, what would be the things likely to strike them as most strange?

One of these would certainly be the way in which the town was cut off,
as it were, from the surrounding district. Thus Hedon was cut off by two
Havens, one natural, the other artificial, and by another artificial
watercourse called the Town Moat. Beverley was entirely surrounded by a
similar moat, part of which remains in our own day, and entrance to the
town was gained by _Bars_ spanning the roads. Those at Beverley were
known respectively as the North Bar, Newbiggyn Bar, Keldgate Bar,
Norwood Bar, and South Bar.


_Photo by_]  North Bar Without, Beverley.   [_C.W. Mason_


How early these Bars were built we do not know, but there have recently
been discovered the complete accounts for the rebuilding of North Bar in
1409. This is the Bar which exists to-day, and it has, in its five
hundred years’ existence, undergone little change, except for the
cutting through it of two side-passages for foot traffic. It still has
the massive oak folding doors which were shut every night at sunset, and
the groove can yet be seen in which the portcullis worked. If you ride
on through the Bar to York, you will enter that city by the Walmgate
Bar, and above your head as you pass through this you may see the bottom
spikes of its still remaining portcullis.

Hull was defended even more strongly than Beverley; for in 1322 the King
granted to its townsfolk leave to defend themselves with a wall as well
as a moat. A portion of the wall which they built is represented on the
old plan of Hull reproduced in part on the opposite page.

This plan shows the town as it was about the year 1380, and makes very
clear the difference between a town and a village five centuries ago. On
the left bank of the river Hull is the village of _Dripole_, with its
church and few scattered houses; on the right bank is the town of
_Kyngeston-upon-Hull_, with its churches, houses, and gardens closely
packed together within a castellated wall, and protected by a riverside
battery armed with three small cannon. The shipping on the river is seen
to be also protected, and this with an iron chain drawn across the mouth
of the river.

In the part of the plan not here given, there is shown a more ominous
sign of authority. Outside the Beverley Gate stands a gibbet on which
hang the bodies of three culprits as warnings of the fate that comes to

                  *       *       *       *       *

To those accustomed to the wide and well-paved streets of our modern
towns, the streets of a mediæval town would appear very strange. On the
plan of Hull the two main streets, then known as _Aldgate_ and
_Lowgate_, are shown fairly wide. But _High Street_, which follows
regularly in its course the windings of the river Hull, is much
narrower; and the by-streets of the town are so narrow as not to appear
at all.



  Showing the ancient _King’s Head Inn_, now pulled down.

Streets in mediæval times were astonishingly narrow. The ‘High Street’
of Hull has changed little during the last five hundred years, and
to-day there are portions in which two carts cannot pass each other. The
extreme width of the western half of Grimsby Lane, one of the by-streets
connecting High Street and the Market Place, named after Simon de
Grymesby, Mayor of Hull in 1391, is only nine feet. So also the main
street in Beverley now barely allows two vehicles to pass each other,
and some of the side lanes entering it, such as Laundress Lane and
Tindall Lane, are even narrower than the Grimsby Lane just mentioned.

In all these cases the roadway has remained practically the same width
for a space of five centuries. But five centuries ago the condition of
the road and the amount of air-space above it were very different from
what they are to-day. Mediæval houses were built of thick beams of
timber, with the intervening spaces filled in with brick and plaster,
and security of the floors was obtained by making the second story
project a foot or two beyond the first, and the third project similarly
beyond the second. The result was a very firmly built house, but a very
narrowly confined roadway.


The difference between the mediæval and the modern style of road
planning is shown in the above diagram, which gives to scale the
building-lines of High Street and King Edward Street—the oldest and the
newest business streets in the city of Hull.

Mediæval streets were paved with round cobble stones—such stones as
still form the pavement of the market-places of Beverley and Hedon. It
is on record that in the year 1400 two Dutch ships brought into Hull
cargoes of these stones amounting to 56,000 in number. But the method of
drainage was then exactly the opposite of what it is to-day; for the
middle of the road was the gutter, or _kennel_. If we imagine that there
were then no ‘dust-carts,’ and that each householder got rid of refuse
by the simple process of casting it out into the kennel for the next
shower of rain to wash away, we shall come to some idea of the general
condition of the streets in a mediæval town.

Little wonder that in mediæval towns were bred foul diseases that broke
out at intervals and sometimes carried off half the population in the
course of a few months. In 1349—the year of the ‘Black Death’—1361,
1369, and 1451 the _Plague_ visited the East Riding, and there are to be
seen in the chancel floor of Holy Trinity Church, Hull, the tombstone
and brasses of a merchant named Richard Byll, who was one of its victims
in the last-mentioned year.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Five centuries ago one of the privileges of a free borough was the
holding of a market for the sale of goods by people who were not
burgesses of the town. Every free borough had its market-place, which
usually lay under the shadow of the parish church, as it does to-day at
Beverley, Driffield, Hedon, Howden and Hull. The markets were held on
certain fixed days of the week, and Tuesdays and Fridays have been the
market-days at Hull since the granting of King Edward I.’s charter in
the year 1299.

While the position of the market, and probably also its general
appearance, have not altered during all these centuries, certain of its
adornments have entirely disappeared. Beverley is the only town in the
East Riding that has preserved its market cross. From all the towns of
the East Riding have disappeared the stocks, the pillory, and the


To the stocks and the pillory went in former times such men and women as
‘John Fleshewer, butcher,’ of Hedon, who in 1420 was brought before the
town bailiffs on the charge that he ‘did sell flesh not useable, old,
useless, and worthless,’ and ‘Agnes, wife of John Piese, schipman,’ also
of Hedon, who ‘did sell two penny wheat loaves of bread, not useable and
fusty.’ In the ducking-stool went to the town moat or the river the
scolding woman whose temper and tongue were equally beyond their owner’s
control. So the stocks, pillory, and ducking-stool proved themselves to
be not only ornamental but also very useful.

The daily work of wage-earners five hundred years ago was very different
from what it is to-day. There were then no such things as our huge
factories in which thousands of ‘hands’ are employed day after day at
the same monotonous toil. Work was more varied and the conditions were
much freer. But hours were longer and pay was considerably less. The
legal hours of the day labourer from March to September were 5 a.m. to 7
p.m., with two hours allowed for breakfast and dinner. On the other
hand, ‘Bank Holidays’—or Holy-Days, as they were then called—were far
more numerous. _Holy-days_, in fact, reduced the working-days of the
year to only 264 in number.

The building-accounts for the Beverley North Bar in 1409 give a record
of all the wages paid; and from these we find that the wages of a
bricklayer were 6d. per day, of a labourer 4d., and of a carter with his
horse and cart 12d.[40] What would the ‘British workman’ of to-day think
of the following scale of wages, which formed the _statute yearly wages_
in 1444:—

                                               With food and

                                       s.   d.       s.   d.

           Bailiff of husbandry        23    4 or     5    0

           Hind, carter, shepherd      20    0  ”     4    0

           Labourer                    15    0  ”     3    4

           Woman servant               10    0  ”     4    0

           Child under 14               6    0  ”     3    0

Footnote 40:

  The total cost of the building operations, from the surveying of the
  ground to the ‘roseynyng’ of the doors, was £96 17s. 4½d.—about £2000
  in our money.

The work of the _Trade Gilds_ in regulating the trade and industries of
a town will be described in another chapter, but here is the place to
refer to the work of the RELIGIOUS or SOCIAL GILDS which were so
prominent a feature of mediæval town life. These were voluntary
associations of men and women, who undertook to pay sums of money into a
common fund, on which all members could draw during old age or during
periods of sickness. In other words they were the Friendly Societies—the
‘Hearts of Oak,’ ‘Ancient Order of Foresters,’ and ‘Oddfellows’—of our
own times.

At Hull there were six of these Gilds, the most important being the Gild
of St. John Baptist, the Gild of Corpus Christi, and the Gild of the
Holy Trinity. In the case of the first of these a member undertook to
pay two shillings of silver each year, in four instalments, and derived
the following benefits, on becoming ‘infirm, bowed, blind, deaf, dumb,
maimed, ... either in youth or age.’:—

    (1) weekly, one halfpenny of silver;

    (2) at the Festival of St. Martin in winter 5s. of silver for one

The entrance fee to this Gild was 13s. 4d., but that to the Gild of
Corpus Christi was 3 lbs. of silver. Here, however, the ‘sick pay’ was
correspondingly higher, being 14d. weekly; and if any brother or sister
was in need 20s. was ‘granted on loan.’

In the reign of Edward VI. nearly all the Religious Gilds came to an
end. Henry VIII. had intended their suppression, but it fell to the lot
of Protector Somerset to be their actual destroyer. On the plea that
they were engaged in religious services not in accordance with
Government ideas, they suffered the fate of the monasteries; and their
property in lands, houses, and plate—their invested funds we should call
it to-day—was diverted to other purposes.

Of the Gilds at Hull the sole one to survive was the _Gild of the Holy
Trinity_, which was founded in 1369 and later became identical with the
_Shipman’s Gild_. This identity with the Shipman’s Gild in 1547 saved
its life, and in place of being swept away its privileges were
increased. It had many private benefactors, chief among whom was Thomas
Ferries, who in 1631 gave it the estate of the Whitefriars on which its
buildings now stand. King Charles II. granted it a charter in which it
is stated that the Gild

    hath much tended to the furtherance of Navigation, the increase of
    shipping, and the well breeding of Seamen in that Town and Port.


The Corporation of the HULL TRINITY HOUSE consists of twelve Elder
Brethren, six Assistants, and an indefinite number of Younger Brethren.
From the Elder Brethren two Wardens are chosen annually. They maintain
several almshouses for mariners and their dependents, and one of the
best navigation schools in the country; they also grant out-pensions to
a large number of worn-out seamen.

                  *       *       *       *       *

We have dealt with the work of the townsfolk in the fifteenth century,
but what of their amusements? Here they were certainly nothing like so
well off as their descendants of the twentieth century. Of theatres and
kinematograph shows they had none. Football matches they had
occasionally. But it was with this difference—that a football match then
was not one in which thirty men played while thirty thousand looked on
and yelled their applause or disapproval. A football match in those days
meant one in which the ‘field’ was the main street of the town, the
‘goals’ were the town wall or moat at either end of the street, and the
‘players’ were the whole body of townsfolk. Such a match is still played
annually in at least one town of Northern England.

For the rest the people had their Church-Ales, their Miracle Plays, and
their Fairs. CHURCH-ALES were parish feasts held in and around the
church on the eve of the church’s saint’s-day; and to them each
parishioner contributed his share—a dozen loaves, a cheese, or a few
gallons of ale—the whole being then sold as required, while all present
made merry. Church-Ales were, in other words, the ‘Parish-Teas’ and the
‘Knife-and-Fork Suppers’ of our own degenerate days.

As has been said, there were in mediæval towns no theatres. Still the
townsfolk had their plays. In very early times the play-house was the
church, the plays were representations of events recorded in the
Scriptures, and the performers were the clergy.

In the thirteenth century, however, it became the custom for these
MIRACLE-PLAYS, as they were called, to be performed no longer in the
church, but on moveable platforms, known as ‘pageants,’ in streets and
market-places, or on village greens, at the different fairs and
festivals throughout the country. Yorkshire seems to have taken a
prominent share in their creation; for we have to-day a manuscript of
forty-eight plays performed regularly at York for two hundred years, and
another of thirty plays performed at Wakefield. We know also that at
Beverley such plays were produced each year on the festival of Corpus
Christi—the Thursday after Trinity Sunday—from 1407 to 1604, and that at
Hull the play of _Noah_ was performed in the streets once each year for
a space of three centuries.


What the performance of a Miracle Play was like may be judged pretty
well from the accompanying illustration. The pageant was a large
‘two-decker’ vehicle, which could be drawn by men or horses from one
‘station’ to another.


  (_From an old French Miracle Play_).

It was the custom at York for the first play in the series—_God the
Father Almighty Creating and Forming the Heavens_—to begin on Corpus
Christi morning at 5 o’clock. This was at the gates of the Priory of
Holy Trinity. When this part of the Creation had been satisfactorily got
through, its pageant passed on to take up its second station ‘at the
door of Robert Harpham’; while another play showing _God the Father
Creating the Earth_ took its place. And so on through the whole series,
each play being thus performed at twelve different stations during the
course of the day.

The performers of these plays were the members of the various Trade
Gilds of a town. So far as the number of plays allowed, each Gild might
have its own play, and the plays were as far as possible appropriately
distributed. Thus at York the Goldsmiths had allotted to them _The Three
Kings Coming from the East_, the Vintners had _The Turning of Water into
Wine_, and the Butchers had _The Crucifixion_. At both York and Hull the
Shipmen, or Mariners, had the play of _Noah_.

Stage properties were well looked after. The ‘ark’ used in a French
performance of _The Deluge_ is here shown, while that used in the
corresponding play produced each ‘Plough Monday’[41] by the Hull Shipmen
was equally elaborate though built more in resemblance to an ordinary
ship. It had mast and rigging, and pictures of the animals that ‘went in
two by two’ hung round its sides painted on boards. From one festival to
another it remained suspended from the roof of Holy Trinity Church.

Footnote 41:

  The first Monday after ‘Twelfth Night,’ _i.e._ the Monday following
  January 6th.

Some curious items occur in the old accounts of the Hull Trinity House
in this connection:—

          To Robert Brown, playing God                    6d.

          To Noah and his wife                        1s. 6d.

          To a shipwright for clinking Noah’s
            ship, one day                                 7d.

          For three skins for Noah’s coat, making
            it, and a rope to hang the ship in the
            kirk                                      2s. 5d.

When, in 1494, the Gild of the Holy Trinity had to purchase a new Ark,
the accounts show also that the cost amounted to the tremendous sum of
£7 4s. 11d.

The lower stage of the pageant is, in the illustration, shown to be
curtained off. This lower stage was the actors’ dressing-room, and also
served very conveniently as the ‘lower regions’ from which through a
trap-door the Devil would emerge with horns and tail complete. God was
stationed on a raised platform at the back of the upper stage, and
appeared in the full dress of a Pope, saints had gilded hair and beards,
and angels were dressed in white surplices through which their gilded
wings projected.

Most impressive and realistic these must have seemed in the eyes of the
beholders. But there were also ‘realistic effects’ to be seen—lightning,
earthquakes, and the destruction of the world by fire—as the following
items show:—

     Payd for the baryll for the yerthequake              iiij_d._
     Payd for starche to make the storm                     vj_d._
     Payd for settynge the world of fyer                     v_d._

How realistic also must have been the crossing of the Red Sea! For the
children of Israel did actually cross it in the sight of all. ‘Halfe a
yard of Rede Sea’—there it is down in black and white among the
properties belonging to _Israel in Egypt_.

                  *       *       *       *       *


  (_From an old Manuscript_).

The mediæval Miracle Plays have long been dead in our country, but we
still have with us the remains of the great mediæval FAIRS. In the days
when few people travelled if they could possibly stay at home, and when
for the whole of the winter months the state of the country roads
prohibited all travelling except that on horseback, fairs were a
necessity. The right to hold an annual fair was therefore an eagerly
sought privilege.

Thus Beverley, Bridlington, Hedon, Howden, Hull—all these towns very
early obtained the right to hold annual fairs. The Hedon townsfolk had
their fair every year ‘on the feast of St. Mary Magdalen, and for seven
days after,’ from the year 1162; and this fair continued to be held on
Magdalen Hill down to 1878. The charter for the holding of a fair at
Hull was granted in 1299, and the eleventh day of October, 1911, saw
Hull Fair still in full swing.

To these mediæval fairs would come a large concourse of merchants,
minstrels, pedlars, jugglers, and rogues. To them would come also
householders and the stewards of manor-house and castle, eager to buy
cloth, silks, ribbons, pots and pans, boots and shoes, wine, wax, malt,
a store of butter to last over the winter, or a store of salt for
preparing the winter meat supply.


  A fifteenth century wood-carving in St. Mary’s Church, Beverley.

Among the entertainment providers would come the owner of the ‘wild
beast show’—the show consisting of a solitary elephant or dromedary, or,
much more frequently, an ape and a bear. If it is a bear that is the
showman’s stock-in-trade, then there will be a chance for dogs that have
grown sated with indulgence in the sport of bull-baiting to experience a
new sensation.[42]

Footnote 42:

  The old ‘bull ring’ to which bulls were tethered at a bull-baiting in
  the market-place of Kilham is now built into the bank of the
  churchyard wall.

Hither also would come that strange product of the middle ages—the
pardoner. He professes to have from the Pope power to grant pardons for
sins committed, or even for sins to be committed, if only satisfactory
payment is forthcoming. To prove his genuineness he has a wallet full of
parchments, brought straight from Rome, and all duly stamped with large
seals. And if that is not enough for his credulous audience he has holy
relics to show—a piece of the sail of St. Peter’s boat, and a feather
from the wing of the angel Gabriel.

He has also the shoulder bone of a holy Jew’s sheep, which is guaranteed
to cure disease in any cow, calf, ox, or sheep, if the bone be but
washed in a bucket of water and the sick animal’s tongue well cleaned
with this water. ‘One penny’ is all his charge. ‘Bring your buckets full
of water. Now’s your chance! If you lose it, your sick cow, calf, ox, or
sheep may be dead in the morning, and you’ll be sorry ever afterwards
that you didn’t take my advice.’

Thus does the rascal do a roaring trade.


With the Trade Unions of our days almost everyone is to some extent
acquainted. Certainly everyone who lives in a town is acquainted with
them. For, in the first place, most workmen in a town belong to a trade
union; and, in the second place, many who are not ‘workmen’, in the
usual meaning of the word, are made uncomfortably aware of the existence
of one or other of the Trade Unions when what is called a ‘Strike’ takes

Many people, if asked their opinion, would say that Trade Unions are a
purely modern institution—that it is only in our own times that workmen
have found the usefulness of binding themselves together in a ‘Union’
for the obtaining of benefits which singly they could not expect to
gain. But such an opinion would be wrong. Trade Unions, though called by
a different name, existed in our country six, seven, and even eight
hundred years ago.

What we call by the name of Trade Unions were in former times known as
CRAFT GILDS. They had this name because they were clubs, or
fraternities, or brotherhoods, of men who were engaged in some branch or
branches of handicraft, and who paid a fine—originally known as
_gildi_—to obtain the privileges of membership.

In all towns there were found these Craft Gilds. Thus in 1406 Beverley
had thirty-eight, and the Craft Gilds of Kingston-upon-Hull in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries included those of the Weavers, the
Tailors, the Glovers, the Joiners, the Carpenters, the Shipwrights, the
Bricklayers, the Cobblers, the Shoemakers, the Coopers, the Brewers, the
Innholders, the Bakers, and the Barber Chirurgeons. Each of these crafts
had its own Gild. But, on the other hand, the Goldsmiths, Pewterers,
Plumbers, Glaziers, Painters, Cutlers, Musicians, Stationers,
Bookbinders, and Basketmakers had to be content with one Gild among
them; and a strange medley their Gild must have been.

There was one great difference between these Craft Gilds and our Trade
Unions. Whereas the men who belong to the latter are the employed
workmen, those who belonged to the former were both the employers and
the employed, both the masters and the men. Hence the rules of the Gilds
were framed not only to protect the workmen against hard and unjust
masters, but also to protect the masters against dishonest and careless
workmen, and, in addition, to protect the public from being defrauded by
either dishonest masters or idle workmen. How each of these good results
was effected will be seen from the following extracts, taken from the
rules of different Craft Gilds belonging to Kingston-upon-Hull.

                  *       *       *       *       *

First, we will consider the protection of the workman. Before a _Weaver_
might set up in business for himself he must pay xij_d._ to the Alderman
of his Gild for the inspection of his workhouse by the searchers, who
would search whether his workhouse were ‘good and able’ or not. If they
were satisfied on this point, then the owner was permitted to begin
business on payment of an ‘upsett’ of iij_s._ iiij_d._ No woman was
allowed to work at this trade within the town upon pain of xl_s._ Nor
might a _Tailor_ keep any manner of workman tailor employed within his
dwelling-house. Again, no _Joiner_ might withhold his servant’s wages
over the space of six days after the same were due. If he did, the
servant could get from the Warden an order for their payment, and the
master’s penalty for disobeying this order was xij_d._

For the protection of the masters there were corresponding laws:—

    If any of the brotherhood of the _Bricklayers_, being at work with
    any man, do, in the time of his work, resort unto the alehouse or do
    play at dice, cards, or any other unthrifty game, he shall forfeit
    and pay for every time so doing viij_d._

So also, in the rules of the _Shipwrights_, a very heavy penalty was
imposed upon the workman who for mere caprice threw down his tools and
left his work unfinished:—

    If any person shall be lawfully retained in work by the day, and
    shall unjustly and unlawfully leave or depart from the same until
    such time as the same work shall be fully finished, he shall forfeit
    and pay to the master warden for every such offence forty shillings
    of lawful money of england.

The protection of the public was equally well looked after. No person
might set up or keep an Inn, unless he could make and furnish four
comely and decent guest beds; and every _Innholder_ was obliged to have
in his house, ready-made, four bottles of hay, to be shown to the
searchers at all times when they came to make search. Thus the comfort
of both man and beast was ensured to travellers.

All manufactured goods were to be open to inspection by the searchers of
the particular Gild, and any scamped or fraudulent goods were ‘seized
and forfeited.’ Thus a rule of the _Shoemakers’ Gild_ stated that—

    The searchers shall well and diligently search and try all boots,
    shoes, buskins, slippers and pantoufles,[43] whether they be made of
    leather well and truly tanned and curried, and well and
    substantially sewed with good thread, well twisted and made and
    sufficiently waxed with wax well rosined, and the stitches hard
    drawn with hand leathers.

Boots and shoes made under these regulations were intended to last in
wear for a substantially long time, and brown paper inner soles and
wooden heels would stand a poor chance of passing the inspection of the
searchers. On the shelves of the Hull Museum may be seen some pairs of
boots made and worn two hundred and fifty years ago, and still almost
‘as good as new.’

Footnote 43:

  The French name for slippers.

A rule of the _Brotherhood of Cobblers_ reads quaintly. But, doubtless,
it proved a very useful rule:—

    If any cobbler shall keep any work brought to him longer than two
    days, without consent of the owner, he shall forfeit for every
    offence the sum of two shillings and sixpence.

One is bound to imagine that there was in those days a brisk trade in
‘Boots Mended While You Wait.’

Prices were also well looked after. ‘That no one presume to sell a pound
of candles for more than one penny, or a gallon of the best ale for more
than the same, or a gallon of small ale for more than a half-penny’—so
runs one of the laws as to prices. Bakers’ charges were regulated
according to the price of wheat. A farthing and a half-penny were fixed
as the price of loaves, but the weight of the loaf varied. Thus in 1267,
when wheat was one shilling a quarter—

                 White bread      cost ½d. per 13 lbs.
                 Wheat bread        ”   ”   ”  20  ”
                 Horseloaves[44]    ”   ”   ”  27  ”

Footnote 44:

  Horse loaves were coarse bean bread, something like the modern
  dog-biscuit, and used as a winter food for horses.

The employment of cheap unskilled labour was expressly guarded against.
In general, no master might keep more than one or two apprentices, and
each apprentice must serve for a space of seven years. By the latter
rule there was a kind of guarantee that an apprentice would learn his
craft thoroughly before becoming a journeyman. No alien might be taken
as an apprentice, and in many towns night-work was forbidden, as being
usually inferior to day-work.

                  *       *       *       *       *

When an apprentice had ‘served his time’ and learned his craft, he
might, in his turn, become free of his Gild and so earn the right to
sell the product of his hands. But this right to sell was carefully
guarded, as the following regulations of the _Coopers_ and the _Bakers_

    No cooper, unless he be first free burgess of this town and free of
    this company, shall keep any shop in this town upon pain of 5s.

    No person or persons dwelling without this town shall sell any bread
    or cakes within this town otherwise than on the Tuesdays and
    Fridays, market days, in open market.

If a craftsman was thus protected against undue competition from
outsiders, so he was protected against undue competition from those who
had a desire to encroach on someone else’s preserves. Carpenters might
not work as joiners or as shipwrights, cobblers might not work as
shoemakers, nor might shoemakers work as cobblers. ‘Every man to his own
trade’ was a maxim of the middle ages, and there was then no call for a
‘William Whiteley’ or a ‘Selfridge’s, Ltd.’

Sunday labour and Sunday trading were expressly forbidden in all Gilds:—

    No shopwindows of the fraternity of _Shoemakers_ shall be opened
    upon the sabbath days in pain of every default viij_d._

    No brother exercising the crafts or mysteries of a _Barber_ or
    _Peruke-maker_ shall upon the Lord’s day, commonly called Sunday,
    either out or in time of divine service, work, or keep open his
    shop, on pain to forfeit for every time he shall be found so doing
    the sum of ten shillings.

Again, it is interesting to find that ‘Sunday Closing’ was provided for
in the following regulation:—

    No _Vintner_ or _Aleseller_ shall sell any ale or wine unto any one
    before 11 o’clock on Sunday, unless to strangers, under penalty of
    vj_s._ viij_d._

                  *       *       *       *       *

Most interesting of all the thirty-eight Craft Gilds of Beverley is that
of the Minstrels. The charter of this Gild was confirmed by ‘the
gracious goodness of our most virtuous sovereign Lord and Lady, King
Philip and Queen Mary,’ and is said to date ‘from the time of King
Aethelstan, of famous memory.’


In 1520 the tower of St. Mary’s Church, Beverley, fell, and destroyed in
its fall the greater part of the nave of the church. Various families of
the town undertook the rebuilding of some portion of this, and one
portion—the north-east pillar and the wall and roof above it—was rebuilt
at the expense of the _Gild of the Minstrels_. This fact is recorded on
a tablet placed high up on the pillar, where may be read these words:—

                              THYS PYLLOR
                              MADE THE

Attached to the east face of the pillar are also figures of five
‘meynstyrls,’ each gaudily coloured and holding his particular musical
instrument—a tabor and pipe, a large viol, a shawm, a cittern, and a
wait or hautboy.

Besides these numerous Craft Gilds there were MERCHANT GILDS, or, as we
should call them to-day, ‘Trading Companies.’

The distinction between the two kinds of Gilds is not always clear, and
in some cases a trader belonged to both. But in general the Craft Gilds
contained men who by their daily work changed the form of a thing, while
the Merchant Gilds contained those whose daily work consisted of trading
in a thing without changing its form. Thus, the Merchant Tailors bought
and sold cloth, but the Tailors made the cloth into clothes. And just as
to-day it is ‘much more respectable’ to be an egg-merchant than to be a
pastry-cook, so, five centuries ago, it was equally ‘more respectable’
to be a merchant-tailor than a tailor pure and simple.



Chief among the Merchant Gilds of Kingston-upon-Hull were the _Gild of
the Merchant Adventurers_, originally known as the ‘Brotherhood of St.
Thomas of Canterbury,’ and the _Hull Merchants’ Company_. During the
reigns of the Tudor and Stuart Kings, these did much to foster the trade
of Hull with the great ports on the other side of the North Sea.

A charter was granted to the Hull Merchants’ Company by Queen Elizabeth,
and King Charles II. renewed it on receipt of ‘fifty pounds of good and
lawful money of England.’ The members of the Company met in the
Merchants’ Hall—the upper story of the red-brick building on the south
of the Market Place, now known as the Choir School—and a ‘merchant’s
mark’ is still to be seen cut in three stone panels in the front wall of
the building. They were a wealthy Company, and at one time had much
power. Fines or ‘upsetts’ for the privilege of membership ranged from
6s. 8d. to £20.

It is interesting to find that the Hull Merchants’ Company acted as a
Post Office for foreign correspondence. ‘Masters of ships’—so ran one of
the laws governing their Exchange—must

    hang up a bagg a week before their sailing, that merchants may putt
    their letters therein, and soe the masters to take the same away the
    night before they intend to saile.

Equally interesting is it to find that the Hull merchants of the
seventeenth century were, evidently, firm believers in the modern
doctrine of ‘Protection.’ For, by one of the statutes regulating the
trade of the port, all alien merchants must bring their goods to the
Exchange and must pay one penny in the pound for the privilege of sale.

                  *       *       *       *       *

What an insight into the working-lives of the townspeople, whether
traders or craftsmen, we have given us in the ancient documents of the
Merchant Gilds and Trade Gilds! As Canon Lambert says in his _Two
Thousand Years of Gild Life_, they ‘bring back into view the everyday
life of the town in the centuries of which they treat. As we study them
we can mingle again in the vigorous life of the narrow streets. We can
learn how it was that the men of that time built houses of which the
mortar stands to-day as hard as stone; we can picture the barber looking
askance at the upstart man who presumed as surgeon to molest his ancient
right of letting the blood of his customers at the fall of the leaf; we
can look into the mysteries of the brewing-vat as it was before tea had
usurped the time-honoured place of the pewter at the breakfast tables of
society; we can see the shipwrights who made the ships of Elizabeth at
work; we can walk, as it were, along the small booths and shops, and
judge of the quality of the goods which had come from Hamburg or
Muscovy, or which had been fashioned with such care in the workshop
behind the parlour.’

Of the _Religious_ or _Social Gilds_, which existed at even earlier
times than the Merchant and Craft Gilds, something was said in Chapter
XVIII. The fate which overwhelmed the Religious Gilds during the reign
of Edward VI. had, doubtless, some effect on the Trading Companies and
Brotherhoods of Craftsmen. But the last-named were very largely excepted
from the Suppression of the Gilds in 1547, and their gradual decay and
final extinction were due to the introduction of new industries and new
methods of working. The _Hull Merchants’ Company_ became extinct in
1706, there was still existing at Beverley in 1752 the _Brotherhood of
the Barkers or Tanners_, and the last entry in the Book of the _Hull
Fraternity of Coopers_ is dated 1788.

                        THE PILGRIMAGE OF GRACE.

In a previous chapter were described the various buildings of a
monastery and the mode of life of its inmates. And at the end of the
chapter reference was made to the gradual loss of those high ideals
which had been the origin of the many hundred monasteries that existed
in our country at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The results of
that loss will now be described.

The benefits to the country at large arising from the establishment of
these religious houses had been great. They served as hotels for the
rich and as almshouses for the poor. The Cistercian monks were pioneers
in agriculture. Both monks and friars got together libraries of
books—that at Meaux Abbey contained 324 volumes in 1539—and were mostly
diligent scribes. Thus they helped to spread the means of learning.

But by the beginning of the sixteenth century many Houses had outlived
their usefulness. Their inmates had decreased in numbers until only six
monks remained where sixty had once been. Laxity of discipline crept in
with this decrease of numbers. Hence it seemed right to suppress the
small and useless religious houses, and to apply their revenues to other
useful purposes.

This was the thought in the minds of both Cardinal Wolsey and the Pope
of Rome when in 1524 the one applied for a certain Papal Bull and the
other granted it. It was to the effect that various small monasteries to
the annual value of three thousand ducats should be suppressed, and
their revenues used to endow the new ‘Cardinal College’ which Wolsey was
then planning to build at Oxford. Four years later permission was
granted to suppress others to the annual value of eight thousand ducats.
In the following year King Henry VIII. was given permission to suppress
others to the annual value of ten thousand ducats, and to apply their
revenues to the foundation of new cathedrals.

‘Very right and proper,’ you will probably think. ‘The money was going
to be put to a better use.’ Yes, but these suppressions might point out
to some unscrupulous adviser of the King a means whereby large supplies
of money could easily be obtained; and if the King happened to be in
need of money and was not very scrupulous as to the manner in which that
money were obtained, it might become a very dangerous precedent.


_Photo by_]  The Gateway of Kirkham Priory.   [_H.F. Farr_


This is just what it did become. King Henry VIII. was not a particularly
scrupulous man in more ways than one, and his chief adviser after
Cardinal Wolsey’s death was particularly unscrupulous. Acting on the
advice of Thomas Cromwell, Parliament, at the close of 1535, ordered a
‘Visitation’ of the monasteries throughout the country, and the
presentation of a report based on the results of this. Accordingly, two
‘Visitors’ were appointed, who in the short space of six weeks visited,
or were said to have visited, eighty-eight monasteries in the dioceses
of Coventry, Lichfield and York.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

         Ruins of the East End of the Church of Kirkham Priory.


The report presented to Parliament was named THE BLACK BOOK, and its
nature was such that in February, 1536, Parliament ordered the
suppression of all monasteries that had an annual income of less than
£200. As a result 376 religious houses were suppressed, their inmates
were transferred to the larger houses or left to shift for themselves,
and their lands, to the annual value of £32,000, were forfeited to the
King. All the monasteries and nunneries in the East Riding thus came to
an end except those at Kirkham, Meaux, Watton and Bridlington, whose
annual incomes amounted to £269, £299, £360 and £547 respectively.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In most parts of the country this suppression of the smaller monasteries
caused no great stir. Undoubtedly some of them needed suppression.
Undoubtedly, too, the report which got about, that the confiscation of
the wealth of the religious houses would provide so much money for the
government that there would thenceforth be no taxes for the common folk
to pay, tended to prevent an outcry from being raised by the people. But
in two counties there were rebellions. The first, in Lincolnshire,
proved of little account; but the second, which had its origin in
Yorkshire, was a formidable rising to which was given the name of _The
Pilgrimage of Grace_.

In this rising all the north of England was concerned. The great Abbeys
of Yorkshire exercised a powerful influence over the minds of the
people, and a widespread religious ferment broke out. Lord Darcy, Earl
of Holderness, Sir Robert Constable of Flamborough, Sir Thomas Percy,
brother of the Earl of Northumberland, and many other northern nobles
threw in their lot with the rebellious commoners. Soon forty thousand
men were enrolled under the command of Robert Aske, a Westminster lawyer
and brother of John Aske, the lord of the manor of Aughton-on-Derwent.

The demands of Aske and his followers were:—

    (1) The restoration of the suppressed monasteries;

    (2) The expulsion of counsellors of low birth from the King’s court;

    (3) The holding of Parliament and of a Court of Justice at York as
    well as at London.[45]

Footnote 45:

  This third demand resulted in the formation of the ‘Council of the
  North,’ which met at York during the next hundred years.

Thus the rebellion had both a religious and a political aspect, but the
former was that which was most apparent. The suppression of the smaller
monasteries was to be followed by the closing and pulling down of the
smaller parish churches, and the church plate was to be confiscated as
had been that of the abbeys and priories. That was—so people said—the
intention of Thomas Cromwell, the counsellor of low birth against whom
their second demand was aimed. So the men of the North were up in arms
in defence of their religious liberties; and as they marched behind the
processional crosses brought from their parish churches, they wore on
their sleeves a roughly-made badge of the ‘five wounds of Christ.’

                  *       *       *       *       *


  The letters ‘I G’ stand for the Latin
  words _Itinerarium Gratiae_—the
  Pilgrimage of Grace.

Robert Aske had been crossing by the ferry from Brough to Barton at the
close of the ‘long vacation’ of 1536 when he was told by the boatmen
that the Commons were ‘up’ in Lincolnshire. Another London barrister,
William Stapleton, the son of Sir Brian Stapleton of Wighill, similarly
heard of the Lincolnshire rising while he was waiting at Hull to cross
the river. He had been staying with his eldest brother, ‘a very weake,
craysid and ympotent man’, in the Grey Friary at Beverley. This was
apparently a much-frequented health resort; for his brother was ‘lying
there for chaunge of ayer as he had doon the somer before from Maye till
after Mydsommer.’

It was three o’clock on the morning of October 5th when Christopher
Stapleton’s servant brought word to William that

    all Lyncolnshere was up from Barton to Lincoln ... and that
    Grauntham way was stopped as well as Lincoln, so that no man could
    passe to london vntaken.

So William Stapleton had perforce to remain waiting in Hull.

Meanwhile Robert Aske was sending out letters to the men of the East
Riding, and on Sunday, October 8th, the town bell at Beverley was set
ringing and the townsmen ‘took oathe to the comons.’ Then

    with greate noyse, showtes, and cryes they made proclamation everye
    man to appere at Westwood grene the morrowe after with suche horse
    and harnes as they had upon payne of death.

Great was the alarm of the ‘weake, craysid’ Christopher at these doings,
and he gave orders to his people that they should keep themselves within
doors. But his wife had determined otherwise, and went out to talk over
the hedge and learn what was happening. ‘Where is your husband and his
folkes that he cometh not as other dooth?’ she was asked, and her reply
made quite clear which way her sympathies lay. ‘They be in the freers,
goo pull them oute by the heddes.’

Christopher Stapleton’s wife had evidently paid more heed to the advice
of a certain Carthusian monk, ‘Sir Thomas Johnson, otherwise called
Bonadventure,’ who was at that time an inmate of the Grey Friary, than
she had to the commands of her husband.

The lady’s suggestion came very near being carried out on the following
morning. But appearances were saved by William Stapleton and his brother
Brian’s coming out on the ‘Westwood grene’ to take their oath, while
‘certayne honnest men’ were sent to record the oath of Christopher.
Whereat Christopher’s wife and the Carthusian monk were ‘very joyous and
merye,’ while outside on the ‘grene’ there were unanimous cries:
‘Maister William Stapulton shelbe our Captayne.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

William Stapleton thus became one of the leaders of the insurgents. By
his orders Hunsley beacon and Tranby beacon were fired; men came in from
_Newbalde_ and _North Cave_, _Brantyngham_, _Cottingham_ and _Hassell_;
and a small army of nine thousand marched to _Wighton Hill_, there to
meet Robert Aske, who had ‘raysed all Howdenshire and Marshelande.’

Following the plan of campaign decided upon at Weighton, Aske with the
main part of the army of insurgents marched to York, which surrendered
on October 16th, and thence to Pontefract, which he captured four days
later. Meanwhile Stapleton laid siege to Hull, encamping his men close
to the Beverley Gate. The city was being held for the King by Sir Ralph
Ellerker and Sir John Constable, neither of whom would hear of
surrender; for they were determined, as Sir John Constable put it,
rather to ‘dye with honneste than lyve with shame.’

An easy way to effect the capture of the town was pointed out by one of
Stapleton’s men, who said that

    with one barell of pyche fiered and sent downe with the tyde he
    would sett on fyer all the shippes in the haven.

But Stapleton would have none of such methods, and, much to the disgust
of the more unruly of his men, he even forbade the firing of the
windmills near the Beverley Gate.

The leader of this besieging force was a strict disciplinarian. He would
allow no pillaging, and gave orders that every man must pay honestly for
what he took. But ‘spoylinges and prevy pickinges’ did happen,

    wheruppon he badde watche and take some therewith, and prove what he
    shuld doo. And theruppon they toke one Barton a fletcher whiche the
    said William had put in trust to kepe their vittall, and also one
    nawghty fellow a saynetewary[46] man of Beverley and a comen picker
    taken with picking muche thinges.

    Wheruppon ... he cawsed to take the same twoo, and made them beleve
    they shulde dye, and theruppon assigned a freer to them being in his
    companye, advysing them to make them clene to God ...; after the
    whiche so doon the said William callid for one Spalding a waterman
    and in the presence of all men causede them to be called oute, and
    the seyntuary man was tyed by the middell with a rope to thende of
    the bote and so haled over the water and seuerall tymes put downe
    with the oore over the hedde. And thother seeing him thought to be
    so handiled, howbeit at the request of honest men he being a
    howsekeper, he was suffered to goo unponyshed and so bothe bannyshed
    the hoost.

Footnote 46:



_Photo by_]                             [_C.W. Mason_

                     Howden Church from the South.
       Showing how the east end of the church has been destroyed.


A very satisfactory mode of punishment it turned out to be. For after
this ‘there was never spoile in the company of the said William.’

The conclusion of the _Pilgrimage_ must be briefly told. The defenders
of Hull finally surrendered on honourable terms. Aske, after taking
Pontefract, went south to Doncaster, where negotiations were opened with
the Duke of Norfolk, Commander-in-Chief of the King’s forces. As a
result of these negotiations Aske was granted a safe-conduct to visit
the King in London, and returned home on January 8th, with a promise
that the King would visit York next Whitsuntide and hold there a
Parliament at which all grievances should be considered. Satisfied with
this success Aske disbanded his men.

All might now have gone well. But unfortunately for those who had been
concerned in the rebellion, a certain Sir Francis Bigod and John Hallam,
a servant of Sir Robert Constable, formed plans for seizing the towns of
Scarborough, Beverley, and Hull, and beginning the rebellion again.
Their attempts failed, and were made the occasion of a withdrawal of the
terms previously offered by the King, and the taking of ruthless
measures to stamp out the insurrection.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The results of the Pilgrimage of Grace proved terrible for the
ringleaders. Robert Aske was decoyed to London, arrested, tried at
Westminster, exhibited as a traitor in each of the towns where he had
been welcomed as a deliverer of the people, and finally hanged, drawn,
and quartered at York. Sir Robert Constable was hanged in chains on the
Beverley Gate of Hull, Lord Darcy was beheaded on Tower Hill, Sir John
Bulmer was hanged at Tyburn, and his wife was burnt at the stake. The
abbots of Fountains, Rievaulx, and Jervaulx, together with the Prior of
Bridlington, were also hanged at Tyburn; and an excuse was thus made for
the forfeiture of their Houses to the King.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

               Howden Church—Ruins of the Chapter House.


When, in 1536, the decree for the suppression of the smaller monasteries
was issued, Parliament thanked God that ‘in divers and great solemn
monasteries of the realm, religion is right well kept and observed.’ The
Abbots of some of these were induced to surrender voluntarily—‘willingly
to consent and agree’ to the destruction of their Abbeys and the
confiscation of all their property. The Abbots of others were convicted
of high treason, and their Abbeys declared forfeited. One hundred and
fifty surrendered during 1538–9, and by 1540 all had been suppressed.

The sale of the Abbey lands realised a sum of money equal to £8,500,000
in the money of to-day, and the value of the plunder from the
shrines—gold, silver gilt, and silver crosses, chalices, and
candlesticks—was not less than another million pounds. The total cash
value to the King amounted to nearly £15,000,000 in our money. Of this
huge sum about one-half was spent on public purposes—the foundation of
new bishoprics, the building of schools, and the organisation of
harbours and other national defences.[47] The remainder went into the
pockets of the King’s courtiers, many of whom rose from comparative
poverty to a position of wealth.

Footnote 47:

  See page 208 for an example of this.

                  *       *       *       *       *

What the _Suppression_ meant to the religious houses of the East Riding
may be judged from the following letter, written in 1538 by a servant of
Thomas Cromwell to his master:—

    Pleasythe your good Lordshipp to be advertysed. I have taken downe
    all the lead of Jervayse,[48] and made itt in pecys of half-foders,
    which lead amounteth to the numbre of eighteen score and five
    foders,[49] with thirty and foure foders, and a half, that were
    there before. And the said lead cannot be conveit, nor caryed unto
    the next sombre, for the ways in that contre are so foule, and deep,
    that no carrage can passe in wyntre. And as concerning the raising
    and taken downe the house, if itt be your Lordshipps pleasure I am
    minded to let itt stand to the Spring of the yere, by reason of the
    days are now so short it wolde be double charge to do itt now. And
    as concerning the selling of the bells, I cannot sell them above
    15s. the hundreth,[50] wherein I would gladly know your Lordshipps
    pleasor, whether I should sell them after that price, or send them
    up to London. And if they be sent up surely the carriage wolbe
    costly frome that place to the water. And as for Byrdlington I have
    doyn nothing there as yet, but sparethe itt to March next, bycause
    the days now are so short, and from such tyme as I begyn I trust
    shortly to dyspatche itt after such fashion that when all is
    fynished, I trust your Lordshipp shall think that I have bene no
    evyll howsbound in all such things, as your Lordshipp haith
    appoynted me to doo. And thus the Holy Ghost ever preserve your
    Lordshipp in honor. At York this fourteenth day of November by your
    most bounden beadsman.

                                                       RICHARD BELLYCYS.

Footnote 48:

  Jervaulx Abbey, in the North Riding.

Footnote 49:

  A _foder_ equals 2400 lbs.

Footnote 50:


That Cromwell’s ‘most bounden beadsman’ faithfully kept his promise we
see to-day in the condition of Bridlington Priory. What we call the
‘Priory Church’ is merely the nave of the church of the Augustinian
Priory. Chancel and transepts have equally disappeared. So have the
cloisters, chapter house, frater, dorter, Abbot’s house, and the
numerous farm buildings which once stood within the Priory walls. Of the
walls themselves nothing remains but the ‘Bayle Gate.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

A worse tale has to be told of the wilful destruction of the other
monasteries, nunneries, and friaries in our Riding.

Of Kirkham Priory, on the bank of the river Derwent, there are remains
only of the once beautiful gateway, the cloister court, and the east end
of the church. What is now the Swine parish church was once the chancel
of the nunnery church. Of the Black Friary at Beverley there are remains
of the boundary wall. The oriel window of the Prior’s house is to be
seen built into the modern ‘Watton Priory,’ and a few stones of the
Priory of Haltemprice are built into a farmhouse which now occupies part
of its site. Of the great Abbey of Meaux—founded in 1150 by William le
Gros, Earl of Holderness, in redemption of a vow that he would make a
pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and rebuilt four times during the next hundred
years—there now remains not one stone in place above ground. And of the
Friaries once flourishing in Hull nought remains but their mere names.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

               All that remained of Meaux Abbey in 1900.


‘Even where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, even there shall the
dogs lick thy blood also, O King.’ Such was the text which a certain
Grey Friar used when he had occasion to preach before King Henry. A bold
man he must have been thus to take his fate into his hands. What the
fate of Friar Peto actually was is not recorded, but we know that the
Grey Friars and the Carthusian Monks were treated with particular

Of the monks of the London Charterhouse five were hanged at Tyburn, and
their bodies afterwards cut up. Ten were removed to Newgate on May 29th,
1537. Sixteen days later the following report was issued:—

              There are departed                         5
              There are even at the point of death       2
              There are sick                             2
              There is healed                            1

Later on all but one are reported as dead, and three years afterwards
that one was hanged at Tyburn. With his name we are already
acquainted—‘Sir Thomas Johnson, otherwise called Bonadventure.’ Surely
never was monk given a less appropriate name than his turned out to be.


In four different centuries has England suffered the pangs of that
deplorable kind of war which we are accustomed to describe by the
adjective ‘Civil.’ And in each case has the cause of the war been the
same—a disagreement as to who should be the ruler of the country’s
destinies. In the twelfth century it was a struggle between the King and
a would-be Queen, in the thirteenth a struggle between the King and his
barons, in the fifteenth a struggle between two royal families, and in
the seventeenth a struggle between King and Parliament. It is the fourth
of these wars that has gained, from the bitterness of the struggle and
the catastrophe which ended it, the additional description of ‘Great.’

Both King and Parliament are among the oldest of our national
institutions. In the days of the Angles and Saxons the head of the
Government was the King, but his power had not been absolute. There was
a body of King’s Counsellors, the _Witena-gemōt_, who had power to
depose the King if necessary, and in whose hands rested the elections to
the throne.

No idea of hereditary right to the throne then existed, and after the
Norman Conquest the same right of election by the people—expressed
through the _Great Council_—remained. It was not, in fact, till the
accession of Edward I. that the principle of hereditary succession to
the throne of England became firmly recognised. Edward I. was the first
of our sovereigns to become King simply because he was the son of his
father, and without an expression of the will of the nation.

On the death of Queen Elizabeth it happened that the throne of England
fell to the King of Scotland—a King who may be described as one-fourth
English, one-fourth French, and one-half Scots, in blood. It is,
therefore, not altogether strange that James I., ‘the wisest fool in
Christendom,’ should fail to see things from an Englishman’s point of
view, or that he should be unable to understand English customs and
English institutions.

Thus it was that the King began to quarrel with his Parliament, and when
Charles I. became King in his father’s stead things grew rapidly worse.
According to his view, he was King of England by the manifest will of
God, and as the elect of God he was bound to consult none but God; while
all his subjects were bound to obey his will, as they would the will of

But according to the view taken by Parliament, the King was one factor
only in the Government. Commons, Lords Temporal, Lords Spiritual—the
‘Three Estates of the Realm’—had the King for their head. He was, as it
were, the keystone of the arch, of no power by himself, but of very
great power when fitted into his place in the government of the country.
Such was the view of Parliament in the early years of King Charles’
reign. Later on the Members of Parliament thought they had made a new
discovery—that the arch would hold itself up without the help of its

                  *       *       *       *       *

When Charles came to the throne, England was engaged in a war upon the
Continent. From his first Parliament the King demanded supplies of money
to carry on this war, but was told that he must first redress the
‘grievances’ under which the nation suffered. This not being the reply
that he had expected, he dissolved Parliament and began to raise money
by a system of compulsory loans obtained from all townsfolk who were
deemed wealthy enough to provide them. From the town of Hull the two
Commissioners, who attended at the Town Hall for the purpose, demanded
and received the sum of £332 13s. 4d.

At the same time seaport towns were ordered to provide armed vessels
towards a fleet of one hundred ships which was being equipped. Hull’s
share was three ships large enough to transport 1350 men.

As his second Parliament proved no more tractable than his first had
been, the King now decided to govern without a Parliament at all; and
this he did from 1629 to 1640. During this time he continued to raise
money by what many people considered to be illegal taxes—such as _ship
money_, or money provided by seaport and inland towns for the fitting
out of imaginary fleets; and _tonnage and poundage_, a levy on every tun
of wine imported and every pound’s worth of merchandise bought and sold.

It was only to be expected that some people would object to pay taxes
which were said to be illegal. In fact many people were to be found who
said, ‘We will pay no taxes which we, through our Members of Parliament,
have not sanctioned.’ The famous John Hampden was one of these; and when
the King’s Judges said to Hampden, ‘You and everybody else must pay,’
there were scores of people up and down the country who proclaimed
openly in the market-places, 'Well, we won’t pay, that’s all.’

Matters were thus getting into a very unpromising condition when, in
1639, the King levied an army of 22,000 men to make war upon the Scots,
who had shown just as strong objections to using the King’s prayer-book
as the English people had shown to paying the King’s taxes. At the head
of this army Charles marched north, and took up his quarters for a time
at York, from which place he paid a visit to Hull.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Let us now see what Hull was like when Charles visited it for the first

The plan of _Kyngeston-vpon-Hvll_ given overleaf is reproduced from the
very carefully drawn plan of a famous Dutch engraver named Hollar, and
shows the appearance of the town in 1640. Surrounding the town to the
north and west are the town wall and the moat, repaired and cleaned out
by royal orders the previous year. North Gate and Hessle Gate span the
moat and thus prevent ingress from both the Humber and the Hull. At each
of the intervening three gates—Low Gate, Beverley Gate, and Myton
Gate—the moat is spanned by a draw-bridge, and at the ends of Postern
Gate Street and Blanket Row there are in the moat stakes for the support
of bridges.


  (_From Hollar’s Plan. A.D. 1640_.)

Within the town wall are plainly to be seen the chief streets and
buildings. What was called _The Ropery_ is our Humber Street, which then
formed the actual bank of the Humber. Holy Trinity Church is far and
away the largest of the buildings. St. Mary’s Church has now no tower,
this having fallen in 1540—or, as tradition puts it, having been ‘pulled
down to ye bare ground’ by order of the King. The sites of the Black
Friary and White Friary are yet unbuilt upon.[51] The Suffolk Palace,
begun by Michael de la Pole in 1384, confiscated to King Henry VIII.,
and converted by him into a ‘Sitidell and a special kepe of the hole
town,’ rented of the Hildyards of Winestead by King Charles I. in 1639,
and used as a magazine for military stores, forms an imposing pile of
buildings. Its gardens stretch almost as far as the Beverley Gate.

Footnote 51:

  The church of the Black Friary and the tower of St. Mary’s Church are
  very plainly shown in the older plan given on page 165.

On the opposite side of the river Hull, the ancient village of _Dripole_
has disappeared, and its place is taken by a new line of fortifications
consisting of a ditch and wall, the latter strengthened by the addition
of two ‘Blockhouses’ and a ‘Castle.’

This line of fortifications, together with a strong bridge over the
Hull, was constructed by order of King Henry VIII. when he visited Hull
in 1541; and its cost, £23,000, was provided by the King from the
revenues of the suppressed monasteries. Large quantities of building
materials from the White and the Black Friaries were used in its

Footnote 52:

  In 1681 the North Blockhouse was abandoned, and a new Citadel built
  enclosing the Castle and the South Blockhouse. The whole was
  demolished about the middle of last century, with the exception of a
  small turret, which still remains built into the walls of the Humber
  Transport Company, but is shortly to be taken down and rebuilt in the
  West Park.

The welcome accorded to King Charles on this his first visit to Hull was
most cordial. Outside the Beverley Gate he was met by the Mayor,
Aldermen, and Recorder, who delivered to him the keys of the town, to be
received back from the King’s hands with gracious words. In the speech
made by the Recorder to his ‘Most Gracious Sovereign’ occurs this

    ‘We make bold, with the utmost zeal and fidelity that can be, to
    give your Majesty a full assurance of our most sincere loyalty, and
    will adhere to you against all your enemies with the utmost of our
    lives and fortunes.’

Then came the turn of the Mayor, who, in presenting the King with a long
ribbon, which Charles at once tied in a knot and placed in his hat,

    ‘Vouchsafe, great Sir, to accept the emblematic bond of our
    obedience, which is tied as fast to your Majesty, your Crown, and
    the Church, as our souls are to our bodies, and we are resolved
    never to part from the former until we part from the latter.’

But how hollow and insincere these words were was very shortly to be
made apparent. Probably Charles himself recognised their tone of
insincerity, and was doubtless much better pleased with the ‘purse of
curious workmanship, containing one hundred guineas’ which accompanied
the giving of the ‘Hull favour.’ That night the King lodged at the house
of Sir John Lister[53] in High Street—that known to us as ‘Wilberforce
House’—the next night he lodged at Beverley, and the following day he
again reached York.

Footnote 53:

  The King knighted his host during his visit.

                  *       *       *       *       *

These events were happening in the month of April, 1639. On the
twenty-third of the same month three years later, Charles paid his
second visit to Hull. And what a different reception was then to await

During these three years the relations between King and Parliament had
been steadily growing more strained. Each recognised the possibility of
there being in the future an appeal to arms; and each recognised, too,
the importance of possessing ‘the most important fortress in the whole
kingdom, and its vast magazine, which far exceeded the collection of
warlike stores in the Tower of London.’[54]

Footnote 54:

  In 1639 the military stores at the King’s Manor in Hull included 50
  cannon, 200,000 muskets, carbines, pistols, and swords, 1,800 spades,
  shovels, and wheelbarrows, with powder, shot, and match to the value
  of upwards of £6000. Other stores of armour, powder, cannon balls, and
  musket shot purchased in Holland were added in the same year.

It was the King’s misfortune that Parliament, and not he, secured
possession of Hull. Early in 1642 the Commons appointed Sir John Hotham,
Member of Parliament for Beverley, to be Governor of Hull; and sent him
down to take possession of the town, with orders not to deliver it up
without the King’s authority ‘signified by both Houses.’ On April 23rd
the King himself set out from York on the same errand, taking care to
send forward from Beverley an officer charged with the message that the
King would shortly arrive to dine with the Governor of the town.

But the result of this message was not what the King had expected it to
be. Having consulted Mr. Pelham, one of the two Members of Parliament
for the town, Sir John Hotham caused the bridges to be drawn up, the
gates to be closed, and the walls to be lined with soldiers. The Mayor
and townsfolk were ordered to keep within their houses.

It was eleven o’clock in the morning when the King, with a bodyguard of
some three hundred soldiers, arrived before the Beverley Gate, where
only three years before he had received such a cordial welcome. Now,
when he commanded Sir John Hotham to open the Gate, he was met with a
polite refusal. The Governor was very sorry to have to disobey the
King’s command, but ‘he durst not open the gates to him, being intrusted
by the Parliament with the safety of the town.’

A.D. 1642.]

To the offer of the King, that he would leave all his train outside the
Gate, with the exception of twenty horse, the Governor proved equally

From eleven o’clock till four o’clock the parleying of King and Governor
went on. Then the King ‘retired to a little house without the walls, and
after an hour’s stay returned’ and demanded a final answer. Would Sir
John Hotham admit the King to ‘a town and fort of our own, wherein our
own magazine lay;’ or would he forthwith be proclaimed a traitor?

Sir John chose the latter alternative, and was at once proclaimed guilty
of high treason by the King’s heralds. Then the King withdrew to
Beverley, and the first act of open hostility between Parliament and
King was ended. The Great Civil War had, in fact, begun.

                      HOW HULL WAS TWICE BESIEGED.

The events of April 23rd, 1642, were immediately followed by the sending
of letters to Parliament. Sir John Hotham forwarded an account of how he
had obeyed the orders of Parliament to the best of his ‘understanding
and utmost endeavours, though with some hazard of being misconceived by
His Majesty’; while the King wrote demanding that ‘his said town and
magazine might be immediately delivered up unto him, and that such
severe exemplary proceedings should be taken against those persons who
had offered him that insupportable affront, as by the law was provided.’

To the King’s letter no reply was given. But in reply to that of Sir
John Hotham a deputation of members was sent to thank him and the
soldiers under him for their services. Two warships were ordered to sail
immediately to Hull under the command of the Earl of Warwick; and the
following resolutions were passed by the two Houses:—

    (1) That Sir John Hotham has done nothing but in obedience to the
        commands of both Houses of Parliament.

    (2) That this declaring Sir John Hotham a traitor—being a Member of
        the House of Commons—is a high breach of the privilege of

Copies of these resolutions, and of the ‘Declaration’ which accompanied
them, were printed and spread abroad among the people. So also, from a
printing-press established in St. William’s College at York, were issued
pamphlets giving the King’s version of recent affairs. In one of these
King Charles states his views in these words:—

    We would fain be answered, what title any subject of our kingdom has
    to his house or land that we have not to our town of Hull? Or what
    right has he to his money, plate, or jewels, that we have not to our
    magazine or munition there? If we had ever such a title we would
    know when we lost it? And if that magazine and munition, bought with
    our own money, were ever ours, when and how the property went out of

The answer of the Houses of Parliament to the King’s questions was
contained in _A Declaration of the Lords and Commons on the 26th of

    By the known law of the kingdom, the very jewels of the Crown are
    not the King’s proper goods, but are only intrusted to him for the
    use and ornament thereof; as the towns, forts, treasure, magazine,
    offices, and people of the kingdom, and the whole kingdom itself,
    are intrusted to him, for the good and safety, and best advantage
    thereof; and as this trust is for the use of the kingdom, so ought
    it to be managed by the advice of the Houses of Parliament, whom the
    kingdom has trusted for that purpose.

While letters, pamphlets, and declarations were thus being composed,
both King and Parliament were making preparations for actual warfare.
And herein are seen the far-reaching effects of the prologue to the
drama of the Great Civil War. The King had not—so the Royalist
historian, the Earl of Clarendon, tells us—‘one barrel of powder, nor
one musket, nor any other provision necessary for an army; and, what was
worse, was not sure of any port to which they might be securely
assigned; nor had he money for the support of his table for the term of
one month.’

To purchase a supply of arms and ammunition by the sale of her own
jewels, as well as of the Crown jewels, which Parliament was shortly to
declare were ‘not the King’s proper goods,’ the Queen had sailed to
Holland; and as the result of her journey a small ship, named the
_Providence_, arrived in the Humber and was run ashore in Keyingham
Creek. Sir John Hotham, hearing of its arrival, sent out from Hull a
party of soldiers to seize its cargo. But his men were unsuccessful, and
thus a small supply of military stores reached the King at York.

Meanwhile Parliament was busy in borrowing money ‘to raise forces which
should defend the Protestant religion ... and the privileges of

These few words show us what was really the cause of the trouble. There
had been growing up in the country a strong religious spirit which we
call Puritanism, and the Puritans hated everything that savoured of
Roman Catholicism. The Queen, Henrietta Maria, was a Roman Catholic, and
the King was thought to have leanings to ‘idolatry’ himself. It was
feared, in fact, that King Charles’ intention of raising an army of
22,000 soldiers for service in Ireland, and of arming them from the
magazine at Hull, was only a subterfuge. What he really intended, so the
Puritans said, was to overawe Parliament, and make England again a Roman
Catholic country.

By the judicious spreading abroad of such pamphlets as the following—

    More news from Hull; or a most happy and fortunate prevention of a
    most hellish and devillish plot, occasioned by some unquiet and
    discontented spirits against the town of Hull, endeavouring to
    command their admittance by casting balls of wild fire into the
    town, which by policy and treaty they could not obtain

—Parliament succeeded in borrowing a large sum of money, and large
quantities of plate.

On June 3rd there assembled on Heworth Moor, close to the walls of York,
a huge gathering of the King’s adherents, whose help was asked in ‘the
defence of true religion, and of the laws and constitutions of this
kingdom.’ The King was here accompanied by his son, Prince Charles, a
bodyguard of 150 knights in armour, and some 800 soldiers. A month later
the Court was moved to Beverley, where the King took up residence in the
house of Lady Gee, a short distance within the North Bar.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: SIR JOHN HOTHAM.]

Now began the first of two sieges which the town of Hull sustained
during the war. The King’s forces are said to have amounted to 3,000
foot soldiers and 1,000 horsemen. Two hundred of the latter, under the
command of Lord Willoughby de Eresby and Sir Thomas Glemham, were sent
to establish forts at Paull and Hessle, on the shore of the Humber,
above and below the town. A similar number of the former were employed
in digging trenches to divert the stream which gave the town its

But the Royalists were no match for the defenders of the town. The
Governor called a Council of War, and the Council decided on a bold
stroke of defence—nothing less than the cutting of the banks of the
Humber and the Hull. This was immediately carried out, with the result
that the low-lying lands surrounding the town were submerged, and any
widely-planned measures of attack were rendered impossible. Sir John
Meldrum, a Scots officer whom Parliament had sent down to assist the
Governor, also organised a surprise attack on the King’s forces. The
foot soldiers fled at the first blow, and the horse soldiers, thus left
unsupported, were compelled to retreat to Beverley.

Luck was, it seemed, entirely against the King. Off Paull one of the
Earl of Warwick’s ships of war fought with and sank a vessel bringing
guns and ammunition to him, and in an engagement in the village of
Anlaby a barn was set on fire which contained a large portion of the
ammunition which he then possessed. These reverses caused the King to
decide on raising the siege, and on retiring to York.

The measures adopted by the Governor for the defence of Hull thus proved
entirely successful. But an interesting side-light on these measures is
thrown by _The Humble Petition of the Gentry and Inhabitants of
Holderness_, which was signed by ‘neer three hundred’ of his ‘Majesties
most loyall and oppressed subjects,’ and ‘delivered to His Majestie at
Beverley the sixth of July, 1642.’ The petitioners declare that they

    for the space of four moneths (with much patience and prejudice)
    endured great and insupportable Losse ...

    They further complain that the cutting of the river banks Drowning
    part, and indangering the rest of the Levell of Holderness, is a
    Presumption higher than was ever yet attempted by any Subject.

The answer of ‘the Kings most excellent Majestie,’ signed by Lord
Falkland, contains many fair words, and a promise that he will

    by drawing such Forces together as he shall be able to leavie,
    endeavour the Petitioners Relief in their present sufferings—

a promise which the ‘Gentry and Inhabitants of Holderness’ probably did
not consider altogether satisfactory.

Queen Henrietta Maria, who had during all this time been raising
supplies of money for her husband, set sail from Holland on February
2nd, 1643, bringing with her a supply reckoned by popular rumour at
£2,000,000. For nine days the small fleet accompanying her battled
against a storm, and the Queen’s personal bravery was shown when she
kept up the spirits of her terrified attendants with the jest that
‘Queens of England are never drowned.’

After a second start she eventually reached Bridlington Quay, and slept
once more on land. But in the early hours of the February morning the
little seaport was awakened with the noise of guns, and the crashing of
shot among the houses. Four ships of the Parliamentarians were outside
the harbour firing at the Dutch vessels which had brought over her and
her supplies.

Once again the Queen showed her courage. For, hurrying to a place of
safety in what scanty clothing she could lay hands on, she remembered
that she had left behind her little lap-dog, and would not rest content
until she had returned to her bedroom and rescued it. The rest of that
night the Queen spent taking refuge in a ditch, but the morning brought
to her aid some of the forces of the Earl of Newcastle, and the journey
to York was accomplished in safety.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Less than twelve months after the first siege of Hull, the town came
within an ace of falling into the hands of the King, and this through
treachery on the part of its former defender.

Sir John Hotham, who had on more than one occasion shown a certain
amount of indecision, and who was credited by some with secret leanings
to the King’s party, was greatly angered by the decision of Parliament
that its forces in the North of England should be under the command of
another Yorkshireman, Ferdinando, Lord Fairfax. Considering himself and
his services slighted, he now, with his son, Captain Hotham, plotted to
give up the town to the Queen.

But the plot was discovered, owing to counter-treachery on the part of
one of his relatives; and on June 29th Captain Mayer, in command of the
_Hercules_, then lying in the Humber, landed a hundred men and seized
the castle and block-houses.


Meanwhile the Mayor, Mr. Thomas Raikes, had placed a guard over the
Governor’s house, and had secured possession of Captain Hotham. The
Governor himself effected his escape, passed out of the town by the
Beverley Gate, attempted unsuccessfully to cross the river Hull at
Stoneferry and at Wawne, decided to attempt to reach his house at
Scorborough, was met in Beverley by his nephew, Colonel Boynton, and was
knocked off his horse and captured by one of the latter’s soldiers.

Both father and son were sent to London on board the _Hercules_, and
were then committed to the Tower. After an imprisonment lasting for
seventeen months they were tried at the Guildhall, and condemned to
death on a charge of ‘traitorously betraying the trust imposed upon them
by Parliament.’ New Year’s Day, 1645, saw the execution of Captain
Hotham on Tower Hill, the following day saw that of his father.

To return to the events of 1643—Lord Ferdinando Fairfax was appointed
Governor of Hull in place of Sir John Hotham, and to raise money for the
payment of his soldiers sold to the Trinity House his store of family
plate. The agreement made on the occasion runs as follows:—

    Whereas I Ferdinando Lord Fairfax, Lord Gen̄all of the Northerne
    forces raised for the Kinge, & Parlmᵗ; and Governor of the Towne of
    Kingston upon Hull, have received the some of ffoure hundered
    pownds, & foure shillings of the Guild, or Brotherhood of Maisters
    Pilotts, & seamen of the Trynity howse of the said Towne, for the
    use of the King, & Parlmᵗ: I doe hereby grant, bargaine, & sell
    sev̄all peices of silver plate conteining in weight one thousand six
    hundered ffiftie six ownces, to the said Trynity howse, & their
    successours for ever and have delivered the said plate to Willm
    Peck, & Willm Rayks Wardens of the said howse to the use thereof. In
    witnesse whereof, I have hereto sett my hand & seale the 4th day of
    September, Anno dni 1643

                                                           Fer: fairfax.

Two days before the signing of this agreement the second siege of Hull
had been begun by the Marquis of Newcastle, with a force of 4,000 horse
soldiers and 12,000 foot. This had been rendered necessary by the fact
that Newcastle’s _Cavaliers_ would not leave their Yorkshire homes on a
march southward, while the hated _Roundheads_ remained in possession of
a stronghold from which they could with ease ravage the surrounding
country. Hence Newcastle wanted, above all things, to gain possession of
the town.

The second siege of Hull was very largely a repetition of the first. The
besiegers cut off the water-supply, and also succeeded in mounting guns
within half-a-mile of the town walls. With these guns much damage was at
first done; for by constructing a furnace for the heating of balls, the
gunners were enabled to fire red-hot balls over the walls of the town.
But this was not for long, Lord Fairfax’s erection of a flanking battery
soon putting these guns out of action.


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

                         Hull’s Water Gate.[55]


At the beginning of the siege the Governor’s son, Sir Thomas Fairfax,
who had been driven out of Beverley, had taken refuge within the walls
with a large body of cavalry. But horse soldiers are not of much use in
repelling a siege, and their horses are likely to be a severe hindrance.
So it was in this case; and when the opportunity was afforded by the
arrival of some of Oliver Cromwell’s soldiers at Barton, Sir Thomas and
his ‘twenty troops of horse’ were ferried across to Lincolnshire.

Footnote 55:

  This passage, which connects Blackfriargate and Little Humber Street,
  was, in the seventeenth century, the only entrance to the town from
  the landing-place on the Humber. It is less than seven feet wide.

On the 22nd of September—a day being held in the town as one of fasting
and humiliation—Cromwell himself crossed over the Humber, bringing a
fresh supply of muskets and powder. The town was now once more entirely
surrounded by water. For a fortnight before this the former Governor’s
plan of cutting the rivers’ banks had been carried out, and the
Royalists thus compelled to abandon their positions.

Things were going badly for the besiegers. On September 28th their
powder magazine at Cottingham was blown up, but whether by accident or
by treachery is not known. On October 5th a reinforcement of 500 men
crossed over to Hull from Lincolnshire, and six days later the garrison
made a successful sally and captured one of a pair of huge guns known
familiarly as ‘the Queen’s pocket pistols.’ That night the Marquis of
Newcastle determined to raise the siege, and on the 12th of October the
besieging army withdrew to York, smaller by one-half than it had been
six weeks earlier.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The importance of the two sieges of Hull cannot be overestimated. Had
the first been successful, the King would have been in the position to
strike a decisive blow before the forces of Parliament were organised.
In 1643 the King’s plan of campaign was that his three armies—his own at
Oxford, that under Sir Ralph Hopton in Cornwall, and that under the Earl
of Newcastle in Yorkshire—should converge on London, the headquarters of

But for this plan to succeed two obstacles must be removed. The
Parliamentarians held the seaport towns of Plymouth and Hull. The siege
of each was undertaken; and the siege of each failed, mainly because
Parliament held ‘the command of the sea.’ Thus, in the words of the
great historian of the Great Civil War, ‘Hull and Plymouth saved the
Parliamentary cause.’


‘My ancestor came over with William the Conqueror,’ boasts one who is
proud of his long line of ancestors. ‘So did mine’—‘and mine’—‘and
mine’—might say a good number of us. Perhaps we could not prove our
statement, but never mind. If we cannot prove that an ancestor of ours
did come over with William the Conqueror, no one can prove that he

Of course we all of us had ancestors living somewhere or other in the
year 1066, but there are very few who can identify those ancestors. How
many of us can trace back our pedigree for a couple of hundred years?
Few probably. But the family descent of some of our countrymen and
countrywomen can be traced back for several hundred years. These are our
nobles and landed gentry.

Thus the descent of the present Baron Hotham of South Dalton can be
traced back, through the Sir John Hotham who defied King Charles I., to
an ancestor who in the twelfth century changed his name from De Trehouse
to Hotham; that of Major Chichester-Constable of Burton Constable to an
Ulbert Constable who lived in the reign of Henry I.; that of the Duchess
of Norfolk to a William Fitz Nigel, who was Lord of Flamborough in the
same reign; that of Mr. W. H. St. Quintin of Scampston Hall to a Sir
Herbert de St. Quintin who was one of the companions-in-arms of William
the Conqueror; and that of the Duke of Northumberland and Earl of
Beverley to a Willelmus de Perci, who ‘came over with the Conqueror’ in
the year 1067.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Proudest of all the proud nobles of the North were the PERCYS, whose
descent from Willelmus de Perci has just been mentioned. Willelmus took
his surname from the village of Perci in Normandy, and himself boasted a
descent from one of the companions of that Rolf the Viking who sailed up
the Seine in the year 912. _Als Gernons_ he was nicknamed, from his
habit of wearing whiskers, whence the name ‘Algernon’ which was given
generation after generation to the male members of the family.

In the Domesday Book Willelmus de Perci is recorded as the
tenant-in-chief of more than a hundred manors in Yorkshire, and of
twenty-three in Lincolnshire. Among the former were Leconfield,
Scorborough, and Nafferton; among the latter Immingham. Willelmus was
one of the Norman knights who accompanied Duke Robert of Normandy in the
First Crusade, and he died at Mountjoy within sight of the Holy City.

Century after century the Percys took part in all great affairs of
state. A Percy fought in the Battle of the Standard, another took part
in the signing of Magna Carta at Runnymede, another was taken prisoner
with the King at the battle of Lewes, another fought in the great naval
victory of Sluys, and helped to win the battle of Neville’s Cross six
years later.

The thirteenth Baron Percy was created Earl of Northumberland on the day
of Richard II.’s coronation. But he and his son ‘Harry Hotspur’—the hero
of the famous battle known as ‘Chevy Chace’—befriended Henry of
Lancaster when he landed at Ravenser Spurn. Afterwards, however, both
father and son rebelled, and Hotspur met his death at Shrewsbury, while
his father was slain at Bramham Moor, in Northumberland. Hotspur’s son,
the second Earl, fell at the battle of St. Albans which opened the ‘Wars
of the Roses,’ and his grandson, the third Earl, fell at Towton six
years later. Such a race of fighters were the Percys.

Most princely of the line was Henry Algernon Percy, the fifth Earl,
nicknamed ‘Henry the Magnificent.’ He took part in the Field of the
Cloth of Gold, and ruined himself by the expense there entailed. This
Henry Percy possessed a castle at Wressle, and a fortified manor-house
at Leconfield—the latter a large house standing ‘withyn a great Mote,’
and built ‘three partes ... of tymbere,’ the fourth part being ‘of stone
and some brike.’ The ‘Mote’ remains, but all traces of the ‘large House’
with its eighty-three rooms have disappeared.


_Photo by_]  Wressle Castle.   [_C.W. Mason_


Wressle Castle, or rather a part of it, still exists—the only ancient
castle in the whole of the East Riding. Built in the closing years of
the fourteenth century, it remained the chief Yorkshire seat of the
Percys till the time of the Great Civil War; when orders for its
destruction were issued by a Parliamentary Committee at York, although
the owner—the tenth Earl of Northumberland—had sided with Parliament
against the King.

The castle was built round a central courtyard, and in 1650 three sides
of the square were pulled down, only the south side being left standing.
A fire which broke out about 120 years ago completed the destruction of
the interior of this remaining side, so that what exists to-day is a
mere shell.

This block of buildings contained the Great Chamber or Dining Hall, the
Drawing-Chamber, and the Chapel. The last was afterwards used as the
Parish Church. On its ceiling was painted the Percy motto:—

                   =Esperance en Dieu ma Comforte.=

Above the chapel was a small chamber which is thus described by a
visitor in the reign of Henry VIII.:—

    One thing I likid exceedingly yn one of the Towers, that was a
    Study, caullid Paradise; where was a Closet in the midle, of 8
    squares latised aboute, and at the Toppe of every square was a Desk
    ledgid to set Bookes on Cofers withyn them, and these semid as
    yoinid hard to the Toppe of the Closet; and yet by pulling, one or
    al wold cum downe briste higthe in rabettes,[56] and serve for
    Deskes to lay Bokes on.

Footnote 56:

  _Rabbets_ are grooves cut in the edge of a piece of wood.

Much interesting information as to life in a mediæval castle can be
gleaned from what is known as _The Northumberland Household Book_.[57]
The original manuscript of this was prepared in 1512 by the orders of
Henry the Magnificent, and gives a detailed account of the estimated
household expenditure for a year and of the regulations of the

Footnote 57:

  A reprint was published in 1905 by A. Brown & Sons, Ltd.

From this book we learn that the staff at Wressle Castle consisted of
166 persons, of whom eleven were priests, and that ‘the Hole Expensys
... for oone hole Yere amounted to DCCCCXXXIIJ_L._ VJ_S._ VIIJ_D._’ It
is strange to find that beds, hangings, and furniture were moved from
one residence to another when the Earl travelled, and that there is no
mention of glass among the table requisites, vessels for eating and
drinking being solely of wood or pewter.

For travelling and for hunting the Earl’s stables contained _vj Gentle
Hors_, _iiij Palfreis_ (one for my Lady and three for my Lady’s
gentlewomen), _iij Naggs_, _iij Sumpter Hors_ and _Mail Hors_ (for
carrying the bed, coffers, and coats of mail), vij Hors for the use of
servants, and _vij Charriot-hors to drawe in the Charriot_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Very precise rules are given for the serving of meals. Breakfast was
served at eight, and dinner at eleven, each morning. Among the rules to
be observed for the serving of meals are these:—

    First when they go to Cover, Hee [the Usher] must go before them
      through the Hall, crying ‘By your leaves Gentlemen, stand by.’

      If any unworthy Fellow do unmannerly sett himself down before his
      Betters, he must take him up and place him lower.

      Let the best fashioned and apparrelled Servants attend above the
      Salte, the Rest belowe.

      If one Servant have occasion to speak to another about Service att
      the Table, let him whisper, for noyse is uncivil.

What my Lord and Lady had to eat for breakfast is shown in the following

                           thorowte the Yere.

                 BRAIKFASTIS for my Lorde and my Lady.

    FURST a Loof of Brede in Trenchors ij Manchetts[58] j Quart of Bere
    a Quart of Wyne Half a Chyne of Mutton or ells a Chyne of Beif

Footnote 58:

  Small loaves of white bread.

During Lent no breakfast was allowed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,
but on the other days of the week there were provided in place of

    ij Pecys of Saltfisch vj Baconn’d Herryng iiij White Herryng or a
    Dysche of Sproits.

What the Earl’s children had for breakfast in the nursery is similarly

             BRAIKFASTS for the Nurcy for my Lady Margaret
                         and Mr. Yngram Percy.

    ITEM a Manchet j Quarte of Bere and iij Muton Bonys boilid.

Or, during Lent:—

    ITEM a Manchet a Quarte of Bere a Dysch of Butter a Pece of
    Saltfisch a Dysch of Sproits or iij White Herryng.

Among the household necessaries to be provided are:—_Wheet_, _Malte_,
_Beefis_, _Muttuns_, _Gascoin Wyne_, _Poorks_, _Veelis_, _Lambes_,
_Stokfish_, _Salt Fishe_, _Whyt Hering_, _Rede Herynge_, _Sproits_,
_Salmon_, _Saltt Elis_, _Fieggs_, _Great Rasins_, _Hopps for Brewynge_,
_Hony_, _Oile_, _Waxe_, _Weik for Lightys_, _Bay Saltte_, _White
Saltte_, _Parishe Candell_, _Vinacre_, _Lynnon Clothe_, _Brass Pottis_,
_Mustarde_, _Stone Crusis_, _Rughe Pewter Vessel_, and _All Manner of
Spices_—_Piper_, _Rasyns of Corens_, _Prones_, _Gynger_, _Clovvez_,
_Sugour_, _Allmonds_, _Daytts_, _Nuttmuggs_, _Rice_, _Safferon_, and
_Coumfetts_—_See Cholys_, _Char Cholis_, _Fagoots_, and _Greet Woode_,
‘bicause Colys will not byrne withowte Wodd.’

For the great feasts during the year xx _Swannys_ were to be provided
from the Earl’s Carr at Arram, in addition to xxix _Does_ and xx _Bukks_
from his Parks at Leconfield and elsewhere. So also for my Lord’s table
were to be bought _Capons_, _Geysse_, _Chekyns_, _Pegions_ (‘iij for
j_d._’), _Cunys_ (‘ij_d._ a pece’), _Pluvers_ (j_d._ a pece’),
_Mallardes_, _Woodcokes_, _Seegulls_ (‘j_d._ a pece so they be good and
in season’), _Styntes_ (‘vj for j_d._’), _Quaylles_, _Snypes_,
_Pertryges_, _Redeshankes_, _Dottrells_, _Bustardes_ and _Larkys_ (‘xij
for ij_d._’). _Hearonsewys_,[59] _Bytters_,[59] _Fesauntes_ and
_Kyrlewes_ were to be paid for at the rate of ‘xij_d._ a pece’; but the
most expensive dish was one of _Cranys_, which cost ‘xvj_d._ a pece.’

Footnote 59:

  Herons and Bitterns are known to-day in the East Riding as
  ‘herrin-sews’ and ‘buttherbumps.’

What high junketings there must have been at Wressle Castle in the days
of ‘Henry the Magnificent’! Did the feasters afterwards pay for their
over-indulgence in rich food? An answer may perhaps be supplied from the
purchase of ‘xxx Saks of Charcoill for Stilling of Bottells of
Waters’—_Water of Roses_, _Water of Harts Tonge_, _Water of Parcelly_,
_Water of Walnott Leeffs_, _Water of Prymeroses_, _Water of Cowslops_,
_Water of Tandelyon_, _Water of Marygolds_ and many others—‘all worth,’
each penitent would doubtless declare, ‘xxj_s._ a bottell.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

In chapter XV. mention was made of the _Percy Tomb_ in the chancel of
Beverley Minster. The magnificent canopy of this was built in memory of
Eleanor Fitz Alan, wife of Henry Percy of Alnwick, who died in 1328.
Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland, lies buried in the _Percy
Chapel_ at the extreme east end of the Minster, and the wife of another
Henry Percy lies buried in Hessle Church. But of her burial there is no
record but a simple brass inscribed:—

                 =Here vnder lieth Daim an percy wyff=
                       =to sir Henry percy=....


_Photo by_]                              [_C.D. Holmes_

                   The Percy Tomb, Beverley Minster.


Other proud nobles of our Riding were the WAKES and the CLIFFORDS. Hugh
Wac married the daughter of Gilbert of Gaunt, the first Earl of Lincoln,
and his son Baldwin assisted at the coronation of King Richard I. A
descendant, the first Baron Wake, fought in the Scots wars of Edward I.
Thomas, the third Baron, was granted by Edward III. leave to convert his
manor-house at Cottingham into a castle. From him the Wakes of Somerset
claim descent.

On the chancel floor of Londesborough church may be seen the brass of
Margaret, Lady Clifford and Vescy, the wife of the Lord Clifford whom
Shakspeare calls ‘bloody Clifford.’ This Lord Clifford fought on the
Lancastrian side at the disastrous battle of Towton, and was one of the
many nobles there slain. During twenty-four years after the battle
Henry, Lord Clifford’s son, lived in disguise as a shepherd on the moors
round Londesborough and on the hills of Cumberland, thus earning the
name of ‘shepherd lord.’ But the battle of Bosworth Field restored the
fortunes of the family, and the ‘shepherd lord’ then regained ‘the
estates and honours of his ancestors.’

The descendants of Henry, Lord Clifford, became Earls of Cumberland, and
the heiress to the Earldom married Richard Boyle, the first Earl of
Burlington. Their great-grandson, the third Earl of Burlington, was
famed for the rebuilding of Burlington House, London, and for the
planting of the ‘Londesborough Clumps.’ This was between the years 1703
and 1753.

From the third Earl of Burlington the Londesborough estates passed in
descent to the Dukes of Devonshire, one of whom pulled down its ancient
Hall, and afterwards sold the estates to George Hudson, the ‘Railway
King.’ By further purchase they devolved upon the present Earl of

                  *       *       *       *       *

Older than the Cliffords are the CONSTABLES, of whom there are in the
East Riding two distinct families. Robert Constable, the son of Ulbert,
possessed the manor of Halsham in the reign of King Stephen; and from
him is descended Major Chichester-Constable, Lord of the Seigniory of
Holderness, and owner of Burton Constable Hall.


In the year 1133 was living a certain William Fitz Nigel, Constable of
Cheshire and Lord of Flamborough. From him descended Sir Marmaduke
Constable of Flamborough, who, when seventy-one years of age, fought
together with his four sons in the battle of Flodden. Sir Marmaduke lies
buried in the church at Flamborough, where, on his tomb, is a brass
inscription recording his exploits. Part of it is here given:—

    =Here lieth Marmaduke Cunstable, of fflaynborght, knyght,=
    =Who made aduentore into ffrance, and for the right of the same=
    =Passed over with Kyng Edwarde the fouriht, yt noble Knyght;=
    =And also with noble King Herre, the seuinth of that name.=
      .        .        .        .        .        .        .        .
    =But for all that, as ye se, he lieth under this stone.=



The Sir Robert Constable who took part in the Pilgrimage of Grace and
was hanged in chains over the Beverley Gate at Hull was Sir Marmaduke
Constable’s eldest son. With his execution the fifty-one manors that he
held were forfeited to the King, but some of these were restored to his
descendants by Edward VI. and Queen Elizabeth. The last of the
Constables of Flamborough took the side of the Parliamentarians in the
Great Civil War, and signed the death-warrant of the King.

From the second son of Sir Marmaduke Constable descended the Constables
of Everingham, to which house belongs the Duchess of Norfolk, daughter
of the late Baron Herries. From Sir Marmaduke’s nephew descended the
Constables of Wassand, whose representative to-day is Mr. Henry
Strickland Constable of Wassand Hall.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Another East Riding family whose ancestor ‘came over with the Conqueror’
is that of the ST. QUINTINS, whose name is derived from a town in the
north of France. Sir Herbert de St. Quintin held the manors of Skipsea,
Mappleton and Brandesburton in the reign of Henry I. On the floor of the
chancel of Brandesburton church are the brasses of Sir John de St.
Quintin, who died in 1397, and his wife Lora.

Several members of the family lie buried in Harpham Church, where are
the altar tombs of Sir William de St. Quintin, who died in 1349, and his
wife; the brasses of Sir Thomas de St. Quintin and his wife Agnes,
dating from about 1420; and the brass of another Thomas de St. Quintin,
who died in 1445.

Sir William St. Quintin was Member of Parliament for Hull in the reigns
of William III., Anne, and George I.; and Mr. William Herbert St.
Quintin, of Scampston Hall and Lowthorpe Lodge, is the present
representative of the family.

                  *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: BURTON AGNES HALL.]



The ancient family of BOYNTONS took its name from the East Riding
village of Boynton. By marriage with the heiress of the Sir Martin de la
Mare mentioned at the close of Chapter XVII., the family became
possessed of the manor of Barmston; and in 1614 Matthew Boynton married
Frances, daughter of Sir Henry Griffith of Burton Agnes. Four years
later he was created a baronet by James I., and forty years later his
son, Sir Francis Boynton, succeeded to the Burton Agnes estates. Sir
Griffith Henry Boynton of Barmston, and Mrs. T. L. Wickham-Boynton of
Burton Agnes Hall, are his descendants.

Burton Agnes Hall is famed as being ‘one of the most beautiful Tudor
houses in Yorkshire.’ Parts of a building to the west of the Hall go
back to about the year 1170, and some of its woodwork dates from the
middle of the fifteenth century. But the Hall itself was built in the
early years of the seventeenth century, and the date 1601 and the
initials of Sir Henry Griffith and his wife are carved in the stonework
over the main doorway.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Taking part in the Wars of the Roses was a Robert Hildyard of Winestead,
famed widely as ‘Robin of Redesdale.’ Winestead came into possession of
the HILDYARDS by the marriage of this Robert with the heiress of the
HILTONS, three of whose altar tombs remain to-day in the Hilton chapel
of the church at Swine.

Another Robert Hildyard had command of a King’s regiment of horse in the
Great Civil War, and for his services in this was knighted and
afterwards created a baronet. There are in Winestead Church fragments of
large brasses, an altar tomb, and a wall monument, to different members
of this family; to a younger branch of which belong the Hildyards who
have for many generations been rectors of Rowley.

                  *       *       *       *       *


  ABOUT A.D. 1280.

How early the SALTMARSHES of Saltmarshe, near Howden, took their name is
not definitely known. Sir Edward de Salso Marisco was Member of
Parliament for Beverley in 1299, and a Geoffrey de Saltmersc held lands
at Swinefleet about 1170. Their ancestor is said to be Lionel
Saltmarshe, who was knighted by William the Conqueror in 1067. Colonel
Philip Saltmarshe is the representative of the family to-day.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Last to be mentioned here are the STRICKLANDS of Boynton. The family had
its origin at Marske, in the North Riding, and a Sir Thomas de
Strickland bore the banner of St. George at the battle of Agincourt.

William Strickland, who purchased the manor of Boynton in 1549, sailed
when a youth to the New World with Sebastian Cabot, and helped to
discover Labrador and Newfoundland. He is said to have introduced the
turkey into our country—a deed commemorated in the family crest. His
descendant was created a baronet by King Charles I., and the present Sir
Walter William Strickland, of Boynton Hall, is the ninth holder of the


Readers of _Tom Brown’s School-Days_ will all remember the hero’s friend
Martin, his second in the historic fight with Slogger Williams. ‘The
Madman’ was his name among his fellow school-boys, but it was as Sir
Charles Strickland that he was known in the neighbourhood of Boynton.

                        STAGE COACH AND RAILWAY.

Travelling for pleasure is something that we all understand. But our
forefathers a few centuries ago would have thought a person mad if he
had said he was going to take a journey for pleasure. Merchants had to
travel, and so had messengers; but ordinary folk stayed at home, unless
the burden of their sins moved them to undertake a pilgrimage to some
far-off shrine. Such journeys were performed on horseback or afoot, but
invalid women and infirm old men might use a horse-litter.


  ON THE ROAD IN 1812.

Until the reign of Queen Mary I. there was in England no such thing as a
coach. The lumbering _stage waggon_ with wheels ten or twelve inches
wide, and drawn by eight or ten horses attended by a driver who rode on
the back of a pony, came into use during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
Its successor, the _stage coach_, was not invented till the time when
King Charles paid his first visit to Hull.

Two years before the accession of Charles II., a regular coach service
from London to York was announced, the coaches to make the journey three
times a week in the advertised time of four days. But this time was
largely exceeded as a rule, and at nearly the close of the century we
find the coach taking six days to reach London from York.

The development of road travel may be said to date from the year 1662,
when an Act of Parliament was passed for improving the condition of the
main roads, permission being granted to those local authorities that
desired it, to erect toll bars and charge travellers for the privilege
of using the roads when put into repair. Yorkshire roads in particular
were notoriously bad, as the letter written to Thomas Cromwell in 1538

Footnote 60:

  See pages 199–200.

But few local authorities stirred themselves in the matter of road
improvement, and an old coach bill still preserved at the _Black Swan_
in Coney Street, York, has a very significant reminder of the dangers
attending the journey to London in 1706:—

    All that are desirous to pass from London to York, or from York to
    London ... may be received in a Stage Coach every Monday, Wednesday,
    and Friday, which performs the whole Journey in Four Days (_if God

As an example of the TURNPIKE ACTS which became numerous as the
eighteenth century slipped away, may be taken the ‘Act for Repairing the
Road between the Town of Kingston upon Hull, and the Town of Beverley in
the East Riding of the County of York.’ This came into force on May 1st,
1744. By it Trustees were appointed

    for the surveying, ordering, amending, and keeping in Repair, the
    said Road ... and they ... shall and may erect, or cause to be
    erected, a Gate or Gates, Turnpike or Turnpikes, in or cross any
    Part or Parts of the said Road, and also a Toll-house or Toll-houses
    in or upon the same; and shall receive and take the Tolls and Duties
    following, before any Horse, Mare, Gelding, Mule, Ass, Cattle,
    Coach, Chariot, Landau, Berlin, Chaise, Calash, Chair, Hearse,
    Litter, Waggon, Wain, or Cart, or other Carriage whatsoever, shall
    be permitted to pass through the same.

The tolls payable varied from one-and-sixpence for a six-horsed coach,
or a waggon drawn by five or more oxen, to three half-pence for an ‘Ass,
not drawing.’ A drove of oxen was charged tenpence, and one of swine or
sheep fivepence, per score.

Thus the users of a road paid for its upkeep, the very necessary
reservation being made that no tolls were to be demanded in the case of
men and vehicles engaged in farming operations; nor for waggons carrying
hay or straw to be laid in the houses of the people in the neighbouring
parishes and townships;[61] nor from persons attending the funeral of a
parishioner, or attending ‘Church, Chapel, or other Place of Religious
Worship on Sundays’; nor from voters going to and returning from the

Footnote 61:

  The floor of the Council Chamber at the Hull Trinity House is still
  strewn with rushes, these being changed about every six weeks.

As the result of such Turnpike Acts’ being enforced, stage coaching
increased considerably; and the year 1760 saw the birth of _Flying
Machines on Steel Springs_, that got through the journey from Leeds to
London in the short space of three days. But the journey was still
accomplished at some considerable amount of personal discomfort; for the
‘outside’ passengers had to stand all the time in a kind of huge basket
slung behind the body of the coach.

From 1785, in which year the Royal Mails began to be conveyed by stage
coach, travel increased by leaps and bounds; and stage coaching may be
said to have reached the height of its prosperity about 1835.


[Illustration: Royal Mail Schedule]


The old coaching roads of the East Riding are shown on the map given on
the opposite page. Most frequented of all was that from Hull to York—in
part the Roman road over Barmby Moor. From Beverley to Bridlington there
were alternative routes used by rival coach proprietors. The
announcement of one of these reads as follows:—

    The BRITISH QUEEN leaves the Stirling Castle, Bridlington Quay, at
    Seven every morning (Sundays excepted), by way of Brandsburton and
    Beverley, and arrives at the Kingston and Vittoria Hotels, the
    George and Bull and Sun Inns, Hull, at Eleven in the Forenoon. The
    Coach returns in the afternoon, at four, by the same route, after
    the arrival of the Barton Packet with the Express Passengers from
    London, and arrives at the Stirling Castle, Bridlington Quay, at
    Eight o’clock in the evening.

    The BRITISH QUEEN will be found a delightful conveyance to
    Bridlington Quay, on account of the Road for the last Six Miles
    being close to the Sea Side, and passing through a most beautiful
    part of the country.

So say the proprietors of the _British Queen_. But what have those of
the rival coach to tell us?

    The Public are respectfully informed that the WELLINGTON leaves the
    Cross Keys General Coach Office, Hull, every morning, at Six, to
    Beverley, Driffield, Bridlington and Quay, Hunmanby, and Filey, and
    arrives at the Bell Inn and Blacksmith’s Arms, Scarbro’, at Twelve;
    proceeds at Four to Whitby, Guisbro, Stockton, Sunderland, Shields,
    Durham, Newcastle, and Edinbro’. Seats secured at any time.

                  *       *       *       *       *


    The Road by Driffield is so well known as to be universally
    recommended. The Sea having made such dreadful havoc of the
    Brandsburton Road during the last few years as to render it
    dangerous travelling that way, being, for five or six miles, quite
    at the edge of the cliff.

Both these advertisements appeared in the columns of the _Hull Packet_
in 1833; and timorous old ladies who wished to journey from Hull to
Bridlington in that year were no doubt very thankful to the proprietors
of the _Wellington_ for making so clear the dangers of the road
traversed by that ‘delightful conveyance,’ the _British Queen_.

Still standing by the side of what is now Cardigan Road at Bridlington,
there is a mile stone informing all who desire the information that
Beverley is distant 22 miles. It is on the old coaching road once
traversed daily by the _British Queen_. But a few hundred yards past
this relic of the old coaching days the road now reaches the sea-shore,
and the remaining portion as far as Barmston has long since disappeared
under the waves of the North Sea.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Very pleasant it must have been in the ‘Thirties’ to travel by a
well-appointed stage coach—say the _Rockingham_, _Rodney_, _Trafalgar_,
_Wellington_, _True Briton_, _Express_, _Telegraph_, _King William_, or
_Queen Adelaide_, all of which coaches were running from Hull in 1832.

But this would be, of course, provided the weather were fine, and one
could afford to travel ‘first class.’ It would not be pleasant to have
to get out and walk uphill as the ‘second class’ passengers were
expected to do in the case of a coach running from North Cave to Hull
through Brantingham and Hessle; and it would be decidedly unpleasant to
have to get out and push behind, as was demanded of the ‘third class’
passengers by this coach.

But there was always the danger of highwaymen to be faced, and the Royal
Mail travelled ‘with a guard well armed,’ as the coaching bill
reproduced on page 241 shows.

And what of winter travelling, with the thermometer down below
freezing-point and the risk every minute of the coach’s being stuck fast
in a snow-drift on a part of the road ‘five miles from anywhere’? Here
are two local records which testify to the existence of such


_Photo by_]                             [_C.W. Mason_

  Pistols and Holsters formerly used on the Hull and Patrington Stage
          (Now in the possession of Dr. J. Wright Mason, Hull)


1839. Jan. 7. A dreadful storm visited the country.... For an hour and a
      half the Scarbro’ mail coach horses could not contend against the
      wind. The inside passengers of the Beverley coach had to get out
      and support the vehicle from being overturned.

1846. Dec. 15. Turnpike roads impassable with snow. Scarborough mail
      coach unable to proceed beyond Bridlington. Narrow escape of
      several persons from being frozen to death on the highways.

Ten years before stage coaches reached the height of their prosperity, a
new era had begun—the era of the RAILWAY. The first railway to be used
for passenger traffic was one between Stockton and Darlington, and in
the year of its opening another from Leeds to Selby was being planned by
the great engineer, George Stephenson.

This, as originally planned, was to be of a length of 20 miles. Near
Leeds there were to be three inclines, up each of which the train was to
be hauled by a fixed engine stationed at the summit. The rest of the
line was to be worked either by a travelling engine or by a horse.

The latter could, it was calculated, be very profitably employed. For
his work would only be needed on the flat and up the slight inclines;
and for six or seven miles on the journey from Leeds to Selby he could
be ‘thrown off’ and could ride ‘in his own carriage behind the train of
waggons,’ until his services were again required. Such was Railway
Engineering in its infancy.

The Leeds and Selby Railway Company having been formed, work was
proceeded with on plans drawn up by another engineer, Mr. James Walker,
and the line was declared open for traffic in 1834.

In the following year a new Company, known as the Hull and Selby Railway
Company, was formed, with Mr. Henry Broadley as Chairman. An Act of
Parliament ‘for making a Railway from Kingston-upon-Hull to Selby’ was
then obtained, and the work of constructing the new railway was pushed
forward rapidly.

This, the first terminal railway to be constructed in the Riding, was
expected to bring with it great advantages. By it Hull would be linked
to Manchester, and Manchester was already linked to Liverpool. Thus
there would be direct railway communication across England from the
North Sea to the Irish Sea.

But, for all this, the scheme met with great opposition. Hull and Selby
were already served by steam packets travelling along the Humber and the
Ouse, and this service was deemed so satisfactory that there was little
chance of the new railway’s proving a commercial success.

Objections were also raised by some of the large landowners, who feared
that the introduction of the railway would very largely decrease the
value of their properties along its route. Such objectors had, of
course, to be conciliated—as was Mr. Raikes of Welton, by a gift of
£10,000 and an undertaking to build a station at Brough instead of at

                  *       *       *       *       *

July 2nd, 1840, saw the opening of the first terminal railway in our
Riding, amid scenes of wild enthusiasm at both Selby and Hull, as well
as at the various stations along the line. The first train from Hull to
Selby—as reported in the _Hull Packet_—‘started about a quarter past
twelve, and was nearly two hours in going to Selby. In returning,
however, the Prince performed the trip, 31 miles, in one hour and five

Footnote 62:

  The _Prince_ was one of the five engines employed on the new line. The
  fastest non-stop run in the British Isles to-day is that made on the
  N.E.R. from Darlington to York, when 44-1/4 miles are covered in 43
  minutes—an average speed of 61.7 miles per hour.

The first East Riding time-table was a very modest affair, as will be
seen from the reproduction overleaf. The order of arrangement of the
train is seen to be:—Engine and tender, goods waggon, second-class
carriage, first-class carriage, and third-class carriage; but the
last-named is on this occasion occupied by four-legged passengers. It is
recorded that when the passengers in this were two-legged cattle, ‘a
great number of hats were lost’ and many ‘colds and inconveniences’ were
caught—facts at which we shall probably not be surprised.

Several of the regulations of the Hull and Selby Railway seem very
quaint. It was the duty of a _station-keeper_ ‘to conduct himself
civilly,’ and ‘to enter on a waybill the number, class, and destination
of the passengers sent by each train.’


The _guard’s_ duties were very numerous. Among them—

    He shall not allow any of the passengers to smoke in the trains, nor
    in any manner to endanger themselves by imprudent exposure. No
    passenger shall be allowed to ride on the outside of a carriage
    without leave from the general superintendent. In the event of any
    passenger being intoxicated, or disorderly, so as to annoy other
    passengers, the guard shall use all gentle means to stop the
    annoyance, and if he does not succeed, he shall set him down at the
    next or most convenient station, and report the circumstance.

The new method of travelling proved very popular. In 1841 the number of
passengers carried by the Hull and Selby Railway amounted to 212,000,
‘without the slightest accident to any of them.’ This was the beginning
of the days of the ‘cheap tripper,’ and it is recorded that on August
22nd, 1844—

    A pleasure train from Hebden Bridge and Luddington Foot brought
    3,200 persons [to Hull] in 82 carriages; being the longest train
    that ever visited the town.

In many cases the railway train, steam packet, and stage coach ran in
conjunction. Thus the journey from Hull to Knaresborough was completed
in the following three stages:—

    Hull to Selby by steam packet,
    Selby to Micklefield by railway,
    Micklefield to Knaresborough by stage coach.

The fares for this journey were ‘6s. 6d. outside and fore-cabin,’ and
‘10s. 6d. inside and best cabin.’ Certainly the traveller could not
complain that he did not get plenty of variety for his money.

As an instance of the success of the new Railway in transporting ‘live
stock’ may be given another extract from the _Hull Directory_:—

1842. December 9. A cow, which arrived here by the same steamer as the
      Post Office bags, outstripped those bags, 14 hours in her arrival
      at Manchester.

It is to be presumed that the cow travelled from Hull to Manchester by
train, while the Post Office bags went by mail coach. But this is left
to the imagination of the readers of the Directory.

In 1845 the Hull and Selby Railway was leased to the York and North
Midland Company, a powerful company under the control of Mr. George
Hudson, the ‘Railway King.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

This year and the next saw what was called the ‘Railway Mania,’ when
promoters vied with one another in preparing schemes for new railways
which people with money to invest were only too anxious to support. Two
hundred and seventy-two Acts of Parliament authorizing new railways were
obtained during the ‘boom;’ and when the ‘crash’ came, many lost the
whole of the money they had so rashly invested.

The Hull and Bridlington Branch Railway was opened in 1846, and
continued to Scarborough the following year. In 1847, also, the York and
Market Weighton Branch Railway was opened; and the following year saw
the opening of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway ferry
from Hull to New Holland. Hull and Withernsea were joined by the Hull
and Holderness Railway in 1854.


Among the projected railways not carried out were the Hull and Market
Weighton Railway, via Brough, and the Hull, South and West Junction
Railway. One of the objectors to the former was the Vicar of South Cave,
whose objection was that if there were a station at South Cave, ‘the
scum of Hull would make it one place for their Sunday revels.’ His
summary of the results of the introduction of railways was that—

    The country youths go to some neighbouring town for a ‘lark,’ and
    the tag-rag-and-bob-tail of towns come into the country, not for
    sober enjoyment, but for Sunday dissipation.

Although this line of railway was not built, an alternative route from
Hull to Market Weighton has long been provided. But the Hull, South and
West Junction Railway, which was to cross the Humber by a tunnel at
Hessle nearly forty years ago, remains as a project which will some day
be successfully carried out.


  ON THE ROAD IN 1912.

                         ENGLAND’S THIRD PORT.

                       THE MODERN GROWTH OF HULL.

We have seen in some of the foregoing chapters how the small town of
Wyke, or Hull, was born early in the twelfth century, how it received a
charter of privileges from King Edward I., and how it was afterwards
fortified with walls and ditches that withstood successfully a couple of
sieges during the Great Civil War. It remains to see how the small,
insignificant ‘King’s Town upon Hull’ has grown into a city so important
as to take rank after London and Liverpool as ‘England’s Third Port.’

Six hundred years ago Hull was much smaller than, and nothing like so
important as, its neighbours, Beverley and Hedon. Yet to-day its
inhabitants number twenty-one times those of Beverley, and two hundred
and thirty-nine times those of Hedon. Why should this be?

The answer is that in the first place Hull owes its greatness to its
position on the northern shore of the mighty Humber. When ships were
small, they could pass up the river Hull to Beverley, and could reach
Hedon by its Haven. But as ships grew in size this became no longer
possible, and Beverley and Hedon were left behind in the race, while
Hull, because of its deep water, went ahead. For it is situate at the
only spot on the north bank of the Humber where there is water
sufficiently deep to allow large ships to approach the shore.

But there is one remarkable thing about the growth of Hull. This has
taken place almost entirely within the last two hundred years. For 450
years after its walls were built, its inhabitants lived within them. Not
till nearly the close of the eighteenth century did their houses begin
to stretch out beyond its walls. In 1812 the area of the town was about
three times that within these walls. But in 1912 the city has extended
its arms so far beyond them that there are along its main roads six tram
routes, each measuring from one and three-quarters to two and a half
miles, while the houses of its inhabitants extend still farther.

The rapid growth of Hull within the last hundred years may be seen also
by comparing the numbers of its inhabitants in different years:—

             In 1811 its inhabitants numbered        37,000
              ” 1841  ”       ”         ”            67,000
              ” 1871  ”       ”         ”           122,000
              ” 1901  ”       ”         ”           241,000
              ” 1911  ”       ”         ”           278,000

These figures show that during each period of thirty years from 1811 to
1901 the population almost doubled itself, and that the greatest actual
increase was between the years 1871 and 1901.

And why this sudden growth? Because of the introduction and perfection
of the railway and the steamship, which together have enabled merchants
to reap full benefit from the great advantages that nature herself
bestowed upon their city.

                  *       *       *       *       *

If you turn to the fourteenth-century plan given on page 165, you will
see that trading ships are moored in the river Hull—the ‘Old Harbour,’
as we call it to-day—on the right bank of which are the cranes for
removing their cargoes. For another four centuries the river continued
to be the only place for the mooring of ships.


But when, by the revival of the whale-fishing industry in 1765, the
amount of shipping greatly increased, need was felt for more
accommodation. An Act of Parliament was therefore obtained in 1774
giving permission to ‘the Dock Company, of Kingston-upon-Hull,’ to make
a dock extending from the river Hull to the Beverley Gate along the line
of the town moat.[63]

Footnote 63:

  The Hull Dock Company became extinct in 1893, when its property was
  purchased by the North Eastern Railway Company.

The first stone of this dock was laid in the following year, amid scenes
of great enthusiasm. Saluted with the firing of nine cannon and
accompanied by ‘a large band of music, constables and flags,’ the Mayor
and Corporation walked in procession to the _Cross Keys_, where they
had, we read, ‘an excellent dinner.’ Nor did they forget their humbler
townsfolk, for the workmen were given ‘fifteen guineas to drink.’

In 1778 the work of building the dock was finished, and Hull had the
honour of possessing the first enclosed trading dock in Great Britain.
It proved a great success, paying to its 120 shareholders good dividends
out of the dues which were collected from the owners of vessels using

These varied from two pence per ton for a coasting vessel trading as far
north as Holy Island or as far south as Yarmouth, to one shilling and
ninepence per ton for vessels trading with Greenland, Africa and
America—foreign vessels paying in all cases double dues.

THE DOCK measured nine acres in water area. In 1809 another dock was
built, with an entrance direct from the Humber. This became known as the
NEW DOCK, the corresponding adjective ‘Old’ being then applied to the
earlier one. In 1829 a JUNCTION DOCK was built between the two. The line
of the town moat was now entirely replaced with a line of docks.

In 1840 the railway came to Hull. The station was at that time in
Kingston Street—on the site of the present Goods Station—and to give
greater access to it for ships, the RAILWAY DOCK was built off the New

But the four docks that Hull then possessed proved quite incapable of
dealing with the volume of trade to which they gave rise. So new ground
was tapped, and in 1850 the VICTORIA DOCK, with a water area of 20
acres, was built. At the same time the names of the three old docks were
changed, and became thenceforth the QUEEN’S DOCK, HUMBER DOCK, and

For nineteen years this provision was sufficient. Then there was opened
the ALBERT DOCK, four acres larger than the Victoria Dock, and in 1880
and 1883 this was followed by the WILLIAM WRIGHT DOCK[64] and the ST.

Footnote 64:

  The Albert Dock and the William Wright Dock are now combined into one,

All this building of new docks was intended to provide greater
facilities for shipping, and as these were provided the volume of trade
went on increasing. Meanwhile new shipping companies were formed to cope
with the increase of trade.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Most famous of all the shipping companies is that known to us as ‘Thos.
Wilson, Sons & Co., Limited,’ which was started by Mr. Thomas Wilson
about the time of the opening of Junction Dock. ‘Beckinton, Wilson &
Co.’—as the firm was then called—possessed one or two sailing ships and
traded with Sweden in iron ore. ‘Thos. Wilson Sons & Co.’ possess a
fleet of nearly one hundred steamships, and trade with all the chief
ports of the world.



The history of the Wilson Line has been called a romance of the shipping
world. Trade with Sweden was followed by the opening out of trade with
Russia. When the building of the Suez Canal gave added importance to the
Mediterranean, the Wilson Line began to trade with the ports of the
Adriatic Sea, and later with Odessa and Constantinople. Next came trade
with India, the _Orlando_, built at Hull in 1870, being the first
steamship to arrive at Hull from India direct.

After this was laid the foundation of trade with New York. The success
of the new venture seemed very doubtful at first, but the Wilson Line
now carry more cargo to and from England and New York than the vessels
of any other line of steamships. Together with all these new enterprises
has gone the organisation of weekly services to the Belgian ports, and
of fortnightly services to the ports of the Mediterranean Sea.


                  *       *       *       *       *

Early in this chapter it was stated that in the first place Hull owes
its greatness to its geographical position. It is this position which
has made it a great distributing centre for imported goods, and a great
collecting centre for exported goods. The Port of Hull has thus become
‘the gateway for the world to the great manufacturing centres of
Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the Midlands.’


Much of the transfer and despatch of goods is carried on over the side
of the ocean-going steamships into or from the river-going lighters and
keels, which are able to make use of two systems of inland waterways.
One of these, the _Aire and Calder Navigation_, dates from the year
1698, and is the oldest as well as the most up-to-date waterway in Great
Britain. The other system is known as the _Trent Navigation_.

The relative cheapness of transit by water makes these inland waterways
of very great importance for all heavy traffic in which speed is not
required. For fast traffic Hull is served by three railway systems, the
North Eastern Railway, the Hull and Barnsley Railway, and the Great
Central Railway; and other Companies have running powers over the lines
of the North Eastern.

The coming of the first railway to Hull in 1840 was described in the
preceding chapter. Five years after this event the merchants of Hull
sought to establish a Hull and Barnsley Junction Railway; but the
project fell through, and it was not till 1885 that the line now known
as the Hull and Barnsley Railway was constructed.

With this new line was also constructed a new dock. This, the ALEXANDRA
DOCK, is the deepest dock on the east coast of Great Britain, and has a
water area of 53½ acres.

The opening of this huge dock gave a great impetus to the export trade
in coal. In 1884 not more than 600,000 tons were exported, but in 1910
the quantity exported reached the enormous total of 5,000,000 tons.[65]
Most of this went to North Russia, Germany, Holland, Sweden and South

Footnote 65:

  It is expected that this amount will be greatly increased within the
  next few years by the opening of new collieries around Doncaster, and
  the tapping of a new ‘Eastern Coalfield,’ which is believed to extend
  deep down under the Humber and the Wash, right out into the North Sea.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Let us take a walk round some of the Hull docks, and try to realise what
the import and export trade really means.

Here, in the Alexandra Dock, is a huge iron steamship into which coal is
being shipped by means of electric coal hoists or by transporter belts.
Its cargo of 5,000 tons is being taken on board at the rate of ten tons
a minute. From the hold of another equally large ship grain is pouring
into lighters ranged alongside. It will require five working-days of ten
hours each to discharge its cargo of 6,000 tons. Then the ship will take
its place under the coal hoists, and its empty hold will be filled with
an outgoing cargo of ‘black diamonds.’

The Victoria Dock is mainly given up to vessels unloading timber from
the White Sea and the Baltic, a large proportion of it being ‘pit props’
for the coal mines of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

In the Albert and William Wright Dock, as well as in the Alexandra Dock,
are vessels discharging hundreds of cases of bacon and hams from the
United States, or of frozen carcasses of sheep from South America. From
the hold of another vessel are being brought up crate after crate of
eggs from North Russia, from another bale after bale of wool from
Australia. Lined up alongside another big steamship are dozens of
agricultural engines and machines made by workmen in Gainsborough and
Lincoln. In a few weeks’ time they will be at work in the corn-fields of


Every day of the week we shall find ships giving up their cargoes of
linseed and cottonseed from India, Egypt, or South Russia. But if we
want to see the ‘butter boats’ emptied, we must be on the spot in the
very early hours of a Monday morning. For these boats arrive from
Denmark during the Sunday, and the work of transporting their cargoes to
the lines of railway waggons that await their arrival begins with the
last stroke of midnight. By four or five o’clock on the Monday morning
the butter is on its way to all parts of the north of England. The cargo
of one ship alone is sometimes consigned to as many as 300 separate

[Illustration: A STEAM TRAWLER.]

Come for a walk along the Humber Dock or on the Riverside Quay and,
according to the season of the year, we shall see unshipped cargoes of
plums from Germany; new potatoes and other vegetables from Jersey,
France, and Holland; cranberries from Russia; bananas from the Canary
Isles; apples from Australia, Canada, and the United States; oranges,
lemons, grapes, nuts, tomatoes and onions from Spain, Portugal and

Last of all we will pay a visit to the St. Andrew’s Dock, and watch the
entrance and unloading of the steam trawlers and steam carriers of the
Hull fishing fleets. From the fishing-grounds of the North Sea, the
White Sea, and the stormy seas around Iceland each brings its ‘catch.’
As quickly as it can be brought up from the hold—tubs of plaice, turbot,
halibut, codfish, ling, hake or herring—it is sold at auction to the
fish buyers who attend from all the large towns of the north of England;
and as quickly it is packed on board the waiting ‘Fish Trains,’ which
will distribute it among the fifteen million people who live within
reach of the port of Hull.

                  *       *       *       *       *

We shall now be able, perhaps, to understand what is meant when we call
Hull ‘England’s Third Port.’ The following table shows the position of
Hull in comparison with the other large ports of Great Britain:—

                                Annual Value of Imports
                Name of Port.    and Exports in 1910.

                London              360 million pounds.

                Liverpool           341    "       "

                Hull                 73    "       "

                Manchester           47    "       "

                Southampton          46    "       "

                Glasgow              44    "       "

                Grimsby              32    "       "

The growth of Hull’s shipping industry has meant a corresponding growth
of its manufacturing industries. Most of these find their home on the
banks of the river Hull, along whose winding course we can find oil and
cake mills, flour mills, saw mills, paint, colour and varnish works,
starch, blue and black-lead works, coal tar works, and cement works—all
one after another.

Among these mills and works are some that rank as the largest in the
British Isles. Thus the ‘British Oil and Cake Mills, Ltd.’ have the
largest oil refinery, the ‘Hull Oil Manufacturing Co.’ are the largest
producers of castor-oil, and the firm of ‘Blundell, Spence & Co.’ own
the largest paint works. There are forty different firms engaged in the
saw-milling industry, and an equal number in the manufacture of paints,
colours and varnishes.

[Illustration: THE N.E.R. RIVERSIDE QUAY.]

That ‘England’s Third Port’ is still going ahead may be seen in recent
shipping and industrial developments. One of these has been the building
of a new RIVERSIDE QUAY, available for large ships at any state of the
tide, and the inauguration of a daily service of steamers to and from
the Belgian ports. Another is the construction of a new JOINT DOCK by
the North Eastern and the Hull and Barnsley Railways. This is planned to
have eventually a water area of 83 acres, and to be thus an imposing
rival of the Great Central Railway’s new dock at Immingham on the
Lincolnshire shore of the Humber.

The year 1910 saw the beginning of a new direct steamship service
between Australia and Hull, a service which is expected to open out a
large trade in the import of Australian wool for the looms of the West
Riding. March, 1909, saw the arrival in Hull of the first large cargo of
soya beans sent out from China, and the beginning in Europe of a new
industry—the crushing of soya beans and the manufacture of soya oil and
feeding cake.

Another new industry was started in 1907, when the ‘National Radiator
Co.’ opened a branch of their American works. They have extended their
buildings each year since the opening, and now employ nearly 1000 hands.


_Photo by_]  The Garden Village, Hull.   [_C. Bennett_


Most noticeable of all recent developments in Hull, however, have been
the destruction of slum districts and the opening out of wide
thoroughfares in the heart of the city—a work that was carried out
during the five years’ mayoralty of Sir Alfred Gelder—the securing of an
unfailing supply of pure drinking-water; the construction of a tramway
system that is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, in Great
Britain; and the planning of Garden Villages and Public Parks on the
outskirts of the city.

                    FAMOUS SONS OF THE EAST RIDING.

First in the list of those who may justly be called ‘Famous Sons of the
East Riding’ stand the names of ROGER OF HOWDEN, WILLIAM OF NEWBURGH,
and PETER OF LANGTOFT. All these were men of learning in an age when
knowledge was difficult to obtain, and each devoted himself to the work
of spreading the knowledge of which he became possessed. The work that
each of them bequeathed to us is a history of our country, the histories
of the first and second being written in Latin, and that of the third in
Norman-French rimed verse.

Roger of Howden and Peter of Langtoft took their surnames—_i.e._,
additional names—from the places at which they were born. But William of
Newburgh was born at Bridlington in 1136, and gained his surname from
the fact that he became an inmate of the monastery at Newburgh in the
North Riding. Peter of Langtoft was a Canon of the Priory at

Peter of Langtoft’s _History of English Affairs_ takes rank as the
‘finest historical work left us by an Englishman of the twelfth
century.’ It is interesting because there are introduced several of the
songs sung by the peasantry and the townsfolk of Yorkshire in the
thirteenth century.

But most interesting to us is the _Annals_ of Roger of Howden. Roger was
a clerk, or secretary, to King Henry II., and later became one of the
King’s Justices in Yorkshire. He records several facts about his
birthplace—among them that King John spent Christmas, 1191, as a guest
of Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, at the latter’s palace or manor-house
at Howden, and that in 1200 the King granted Bishop Hugh the right to
hold there an annual fair.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Next in our list come the names of two famous churchmen, JOHN ALCOCK and
JOHN FISHER, who were both destined to become Bishops of Rochester.


John Alcock was born at Hull about 1428, and became Bishop of Rochester
in 1472. Four years later he was promoted to the see of Worcester, and
after another ten years received further promotion to the see of Ely. In
his time it was customary for churchmen to be at the head of all affairs
of the State, and twice was Bishop Alcock appointed by the King to be
Lord Chancellor of England. On the second occasion he had the duty of
opening the first Parliament of Henry VII.

Hull folk have reason to be proud of the memory of their great townsman,
John Alcock. For not only did he reach the highest position in the
country next to the King himself, but he was also famed as a great
architect and a great patron of learning. As ‘Comptroller of the Royal
Works’ he designed the wonderful ‘Henry VII.’s Chapel’ in Westminster
Abbey, and as a patron of learning he founded Jesus College, Cambridge,
and the Hull Grammar School.

Bishop Alcock died in 1500 at Wisbech Castle, the palace of the Bishops
of Ely, and was buried in the chapel of Ely Cathedral which he caused to
be built, and which is to this day known as ‘Bishop Alcock’s Chapel.’

John Fisher was twenty-nine years younger than the Bishop of Rochester
whose life has just been described. He is said to have been the son of a
Beverley mercer, and to have owed his high office in the Church to the
favour of Margaret, Countess of Richmond.

So eager was he for the advancement of learning that he started to study
Greek when quite advanced in years; and so upright and sincere was he
that when confessor to Queen Catherine of Aragon he was ‘the only
adviser on whose sincerity and honesty she could rely.’

Fisher was the only bishop who opposed the divorce of Henry VIII. and
Catherine of Aragon, and hence he incurred the enmity of the King. This
was increased fourfold when, further, he refused to recognise Henry as
the ‘Supreme Head of the Church of England.’ And when, as a result of
this refusal, the Pope sent Fisher a Cardinal’s hat, Henry’s wrath
became ungovernable fury.

‘Yf the Cardinal’s hat were layed at his feete, he wolde not stoupe to
take it up, he did set so little by it,’ were Fisher’s words when he
heard of the Pope’s present to himself. But for all that he was declared
to be guilty of treason, and was sentenced by the King to be hanged at
Tyburn as a common felon.


Nothing would move Fisher from the position he had taken up. Come what
might, the King was not in his eyes the ‘Supreme Head of the Church.’ So
at the age of 76 he suffered the fate of most of those who ventured to
oppose the will of Henry VIII. The indignity of a death at the hangman’s
hands was spared him, and he was beheaded on Tower Hill, his head being
afterwards spiked on London Bridge, and his body buried in St. Peter’s
Chapel, by the side of that of his friend, the great statesman Sir
Thomas More.

                  *       *       *       *       *

‘A pure-minded patriot in the most corrupt times.’ Such has been the
description of ANDREW MARVELL—son of a rector of Winestead and master of
the Hull Grammar School—who was assistant to John Milton, the Latin
Secretary to the Council of State in the time of the Commonwealth, and
Member of Parliament for Hull during nineteen years.

[Illustration: Andr. Marvell]

Andrew Marvell was born in 1621 at his father’s rectory, and, as an ‘old
boy’ of the Hull Grammar School, passed on to Cambridge at the age of
fifteen. When he was nineteen years old, his father was drowned in
crossing the Humber by the ferry-boat, and as a result he was adopted by
a Mrs. Skinner of Thornton, in North Lincolnshire.

In 1657 Marvell entered the service of the Commonwealth, and two years
later he was elected a Member of Parliament for Hull, which post he
continued to hold until his death. It was then the custom for Members of
Parliament to be paid for their services by their constituents, and
Marvell thus received from the townsfolk of Hull the sum of six
shillings and eightpence per day ‘for knight’s pence.’ It is curious to
notice that he was the last member for Hull to be paid for his services
in Parliament until the year 1911.

Notwithstanding this payment Marvell’s means were always very limited,
and for some years he lived in a state bordering upon actual poverty.
But the scantiness of his means did not cause him to swerve from what he
considered to be the path of honesty, and the tale is told of how Danby,
the Lord Treasurer, tried unsuccessfully to bribe him with the offer of
£1,000. ‘Up two pair of stairs in a little court in the Strand’ Marvell
was found by the Lord Treasurer’s messenger. And there he was also left,
incorruptible in his honesty.

Marvell earned considerable fame as a writer of political satires, and
also as a poet. The poems by which he is best remembered are probably
those entitled _Thoughts in a Garden_ and _An Horatian Ode upon
Cromwell’s Return from Ireland_.

In the latter poem occur the famous lines in which the author, himself a
strong Parliamentarian, honours the way in which King Charles I. met his

                He nothing common did or mean
                Upon that memorable scene,
                  But with his keener eye
                  The axe’s edge did try;

                Nor called the gods, with vulgar spite,
                To vindicate his helpless right;
                  But bowed his comely head
                  Down, as upon a bed.

Marvell died in 1678, so poor that his funeral expenses were paid by the
Corporation of Hull. How great his worth was may be judged from the
words of the great statesman William Pitt:—‘Every man has his own price;
I know of but one exception, and that is Marvell, in the past.’

                  *       *       *       *       *


  The Birthplace of William Wilberforce.

The house in which Sir John Lister entertained King Charles on his visit
to Hull in 1639 was also that in which was born Hull’s greatest son,
WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. Tradition states, further, that he was born in the
room in which the King had slept.

William Wilberforce was born on August 24th, 1759, the grandson of
another William Wilberforce, who had been a Baltic merchant and an
alderman of the town. Delicate as a child, and reared in luxury, he yet
grew up filled with an understanding of the earnestness of life; and
after leaving Cambridge he entered Parliament at the age of twenty-one,
as a member for Hull. Four years later he was chosen a member for both
the county of York and the town of Hull. The former of these
distinctions was the one that he selected, and thenceforth for
twenty-eight years he remained one of the two members of Parliament for
the ‘Shire of Broad Acres.’

Just at that time the minds of thoughtful Englishmen were beginning to
be stirred by feelings of horror at the evils of the slave-trade. It had
been an English seaman of Queen Elizabeth’s time who had started the
traffic in human beings. And, curious as it may seem to us, that traffic
had been blessed by the Church; since the negroes who were taken across
the Atlantic to the West Indies were being given a chance to learn the
truths of Christianity.

It had been, also, an English crew of seamen who had on one occasion
thrown overboard a hundred and forty ‘niggers’ to lighten their vessel.
But it was also Englishmen who first set to work to put an end to the
unholy traffic.

In 1787 a small band of thinkers—Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp,
William Wilberforce, and a few others—started to labour with this end in
view. The great statesmen of the time, Pitt, Burke, and Fox, all
supported their efforts, and piles of information were obtained.


They got together details of the bartering of prisoners by African
chiefs for supplies of rum; details of voyages across the Atlantic
during which the slaves lay chained on decks which had only a couple of
feet of space between them, and were so closely packed together that
they had hardly room to move their limbs; details of the cruel treatment
meted out to them when they were eventually sold to work in the sugar
plantations of the West Indies.

But the slave-trade was a very profitable one. Merchants did not feel
anxious to give up profits of one hundred and twenty per cent.; so the
opposition met by Clarkson, Sharp, and Wilberforce was great. Eleven
times during the years 1791–1805 was a Bill introduced in Parliament for
the abolition of the slave trade, only to be either rejected by the
House of Commons, or thrown out by the House of Lords.

However, in 1806, the Bill was passed by the Lords, and afterwards
carried in the House of Commons by two hundred and eighty-three votes to
sixteen. Royal assent to the Bill followed on March 25th, 1807.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Almost immediately after this the Ministry resigned, and a General
Election took place. This was the occasion of the historic contest
between William Wilberforce, the Hon. Henry Lascelles (son of the Earl
of Harewood), and Viscount Milton (son of Earl Fitzwilliam). Wilberforce
and Lascelles stood as Tories, Viscount Milton as a Whig.

For fifteen days the polling went on in the Castle Yard at York, to
which the voters from the whole county had to travel by stage coach or
post chaise, on horseback, or afoot. From the East Riding there were
3,556 voters, and at the close of the poll the figures stood:—

                        Wilberforce       11,806
                        Milton            11,177
                        Lascelles         10,989

Thus William Wilberforce and Viscount Milton became the two members for
Yorkshire. The defeated candidate owed his position at the bottom of the
poll largely to the fact that his father owned slaves on his West Indian
estates, and one of the election cries against him was ‘No Yorkshire
votes purchased with African blood!’ The election cost Wilberforce
£28,000, and each of the other two candidates about £100,000—a striking
example of the difference that has come over our political life during
the last century.

In 1812 Wilberforce retired from his old constituency, and thenceforth
sat for a small borough in Sussex until 1825, when he withdrew from
Parliament. But the good work which he had helped to start was continued
by others, and two weeks after his burial in Westminster Abbey—August
5th, 1833—an Act of Parliament was passed for the Abolition of Slavery
in the British Colonies, the sum of money paid as compensation to
slave-owners being £20,000,000.

The memory of our great philanthropist has been perpetuated at York by
the building of the Wilberforce School for the Blind, and at Hull by the
erection of the Wilberforce Monument near Whitefriargate Bridge, and the
opening of his birthplace in High Street as a Public Museum of Local
Antiquities. The Wilberforce Monument, which towers up 102 feet above
the roadway, bears on one of its sides the simple yet effective

                               I. AUGUST

From William Wilberforce we turn to SIR TATTON SYKES—‘t’owd Squyer’ of
Sledmere. Sir Tatton was born in 1772, the second son of Sir Christopher
Sykes, and succeeded to the title and the family estates on the death of
his brother, Sir Mark Masterman Sykes, in 1823.

Before this he had become widely known as a breeder of sheep and
racehorses, and as a fearless sportsman. At the age of twenty-three he
rode his first race at Malton, at the age of sixty he rode his last; and
on both occasions he came in the winner.

Under Sir Christopher Sykes the cultivation of the bleak, desolate Wold
country was successfully begun, and under Sir Tatton Sykes great
improvements were wrought by the introduction of bone manure. Sir Tatton
was for forty years a master of fox-hounds, and the discovery of the
usefulness of bone manure was due to his observing that on the places
near his kennels at Eddlethorpe where the hounds were fed, the grass
grew more luxuriantly than it did elsewhere.

Throughout his long life of ninety-one years Sir Tatton Sykes continued
to dress in the fashions of his early days—‘a long frock coat, drab
breeches, top-boots, and a frilled shirt.’ And such was his reputation
that sixty years ago the three things best worth seeing in the county
were said by Yorkshiremen to be ‘York Minster, Fountains Abbey, and
t’owd Squyer.’

Absolutely ‘straight’ in all that he did, he takes rank as a true
specimen of ‘The Fine Old English Gentleman’—the Sir Roger de Coverley
of the nineteenth century.


_Photo by_]                              [_Henry Thelwell_

                           Sir Tatton Sykes.


                  *       *       *       *       *

Last on our list of Famous Sons of the East Riding stand the names of

The younger sons of Thomas Wilson, founder of the great shipping firm of
‘Thomas Wilson, Sons & Co., Limited,’ they were born at Hull in 1833 and
1836 respectively. On the retirement of their eldest brother David in
1867, the control of the firm came into their hands, and how it grew and
prospered, and how the town of Hull grew and prospered at the same time
have been described in a previous chapter.

The parallel between the ancient family of the De la Poles and the
modern family of the Wilsons has been noted by more than one writer. It
may rightly be said that as the former were the founders of the
commercial prosperity of the town of Kingston-upon-Hull, so the latter
were the founders of the commercial prosperity of the city of Hull.

For thirty-two years—from 1874 to 1906—Charles Wilson sat in Parliament
as a representative of the burgesses of his native place. Then his
political services were recognised by the Ministry, and he became the
first Baron Nunburnholme of Kingston-upon-Hull.


_Photo by_]                              [_Barry, Hull_

               Charles Wilson, First Baron Nunburnholme.


Arthur Wilson did not, like his brother, enter political life, but
became widely famed as a sportsman. For twenty-five years he was Master
of the Holderness Hunt, and the most famous Meet under his rule was that
at Brantingham Thorpe, then the residence of Mr. Christopher Sykes, in
January 1882, when more than four thousand people assembled to greet the
Prince of Wales.

Charles, Baron Nunburnholme, died at Warter Priory, on October 27th,
1907, and his brother, Mr. Arthur Wilson, at Tranby Croft, on October
21st, 1909. The body of the latter was drawn to its resting-place in
Kirkella Churchyard on a farm rulley by a team of farm horses, and
public feeling at the time may be gauged from the following passage in
one of the newspaper reports of his death:—

    In Hull Mr. Wilson was known and respected as a just and honourable
    merchant and a philanthropist; in the county he was known and
    admired as a model landlord, and a keen and fearless sportsman.


_Photo by_]  Arthur Wilson.   [_Barry, Hull_


                          SHIPS OF THE HUMBER.

Let us ask ourselves what is our idea of a ship. However we express this
in words, it will be vastly different from the idea of a ship that
possessed the minds of those early inhabitants of Holderness of whom we
read in Chapter III. Theirs was that of a tree-trunk hollowed out partly
by fire and partly by hand labour with implements of flint, until it
would balance itself on the water, and could be pushed along by its
occupants with some sort of paddle.

Such were the ships that men first used on the Humber. Not long ago one
of them was found buried six feet below the surface of the ground at
Brigg in North Lincolnshire.

At a time when the river Ancholme spread widely over the surrounding
land, this boat had been deserted on the river bank, and as years went
by it sank into the mud of which the bank was composed. Then the river
gradually silted up, so that what had once been a wide expanse of water
became merely a narrow water-channel.

This ancient ‘dug-out’ is now one of the treasures of the Hull Museum.
It has been constructed of the trunk of an oak tree, split lengthwise,
and is nearly forty-eight feet long from stem to stern. Its width is
from four to five feet, and its depth roughly two feet six inches. There
is probably no oak tree growing in our country that would be tall enough
to make a similar boat of equal length.

The stern board of the boat is a separate piece of timber, fitted into a
groove along each side; and originally the sides were bound across with
leathern thongs to keep the board in position.


Think of the immense amount of labour that the making of this early
‘ship of the Humber’ cost. The patience that its makers must have
displayed would put some of us to utter shame in our frantic haste to
finish a thing in the shortest possible space of time after its

                  *       *       *       *       *

Long after the days of the builders of this boat, the Romans and the
Angles came to our shores. With them the knowledge of shipbuilding had
greatly increased, and their ships were propelled with both oars and

Later again came the Northmen, against whose attacks the Angles prayed
in vain. A true sea-faring race were these Vikings of old, and they
could boast, as their lineal descendants in Norway boast to-day, that
they possessed more ships than any other nation in the world.

_Long-ships_ was the name given to the Northmen’s ships of war, they
being thus distinguished from the wider and clumsier merchant ships. But
the Northmen were a poetic race, and to a Viking his ship was a ‘black
horse of the sea,’ a ‘deer of the surf’ or a ‘raven of the wind.’

The largest ships of the Vikings were ornamented with a dragon’s head at
the stem, and often a dragon’s tail at the stern, whence their name
_Dragons_. The dragon’s head and tail might be covered with thin sheets
of gold, if its owner were a great king. Its prow and sides might also
be coated with iron to aid in ramming other vessels.


  Norman Ironwork at Stillingfleet.

These ships were driven along by the use of a large square sail, and
also by the use of oars. Twenty or thirty rowers’ benches was the usual
number allowed for, and the space between two benches was known as a
‘room.’ Each ‘room’ would hold seven or eight men; so that a
thirty-seater, which would be in length about 150 feet, would have a
crew of something over two hundred men. Cnut the Great had a monster
ship 300 feet long, and containing sixty ‘rooms.’

The Norsemen were very fond of bright colours, and the sails of their
long-ships were made of woollen material striped red, blue, green, and
white. The sides were painted red, purple, and gold, and along each were
ranged the warriors’ shields, alternately yellow and black.

Picture to yourself what a fleet of some two or three hundred of these
long-ships must have looked like when it sailed up the Humber. What
terror it must have struck into the hearts of those who watched its

Then picture another scene. A single ship, the home of a renowned
Viking, drifting slowly down the Humber on an ebb tide, with sail set,
bearing in its bosom the dead bodies of its owner and his favourite
horses, and alight from stem to stern with blazing tallow, tar, and oil.
This is the picture that a great English poet has painted for us in his
poem called _Balder Dead_:—

    Soon, with a roaring, rose the mighty fire, And the pile crackled;
    and between the logs Sharp, quivering tongues of flame shot out, and
    leapt, Curling and darting, higher, until they licked The summit of
    the pile, the dead, the mast, And ate the shrivelling sails. But
    still the ship Drove on, ablaze above her hull with fire.



With the passing of centuries came more peaceful times, when the ships
that passed up and down the Humber were no longer ships of war, but
ships of peace. They were ships ‘that sailed from Hull ... to Bergen
with English wares, and brought back cargoes of salt fish; that fetched
iron from Sweden, and wine from the Rhine vineyards, and oranges and
spices and foreign fruits from Bruges; and that carried out the English
woollen cloths to Russia or the Baltic ports, and brought back wood,
tin, potash, skins and furs.’

What the ships of the fourteenth century were like we can judge from the
old plan of Hull on page 165, and from the drawing of the seal of the
Corporation of Hedon here shown. The Humber was then noted for its
ships, and in the year 1346 furnished the following ships and men to the
expedition fitted out by King Edward III. for the siege of Calais:—

                        TOWNS         SHIPS   MARINERS
                 Kingston-upon-Hull      16        466
                 Grimsby                 11        171
                 Barton                   3         30
                 Ravenser                 1         27

For the same expedition London provided only twenty-five ships and 662

Gradually the ships of the Humber increased in size; and when in 1598
the seamen of Hull first engaged in whale fishing, the kind of ship they
had was one much more seaworthy than the ‘cockle-shells’ of previous

In the hall of the Hull Trinity House hangs a strange relic of the early
days of the whale fishery. This is an Esquimaux canoe, built entirely of
whalebone and sealskin, and picked up off the Greenland coast by the
captain of a Hull whaler in 1613.

When sighted, the canoe held the dead body of its owner sitting strapped
upright with his paddle across his knees. The ‘Bonny Boat’ the English
sailors christened it, and there in the Trinity House it may be seen
to-day, with what at first glance appears to be its owner still sitting
as he sat when he died of starvation on the wide Atlantic Ocean.

During the time of the Dutch wars of the reign of Charles II., the
whaling industry passed into the hands of the Dutch, but a century
later—in 1765—it was resumed by the Hull seamen. A shipowner named
Captain Standidge took a great part in this revival of the Greenland
fisheries, and for his services in this direction received the honour of


From 1772 to 1852 the WHALING INDUSTRY flourished. To the icy seas
around Spitzbergen, or to the Greenland seas and the Davis Straits,
there went each year ships of the Humber in number from three to
sixty-five. Often they were unlucky, and had to return ‘clean’—that is,
with nothing in their holds to repay their owners and their crews.
Sometimes they were still more unlucky, and did not return at all,
having been gripped in the ice or captured by French privateers. Out of
ten ships that sailed from the Humber in 1775, six came back ‘clean,’
and two were lost.

One of the most disastrous years known was 1835, when five of the Hull
ships were frozen up, three of them being eventually lost, one with all

In the following year a Hull vessel, named the _Swan_, was frozen up
much farther north than the whalers usually went; so that it was the
midsummer of 1837 before she got free. Meanwhile she had been given up
as lost; and on Sunday, July 2nd, a memorial service was held on the
Dock Green, and a collection of £47 taken on behalf of the families of
the crew. In the midst of the service, however, news arrived that the
‘missing’ vessel was entering the mouth of the Humber.

We can imagine the excitement caused by her arrival. Among other things
it meant, of course, a ‘Hextra Speshul’ edition of the News Sheet, as
the photograph on the opposite page shows.

As a rule, however, a voyage resulted in fair profits for both owners
and crews. The thirty-one ships that went to Greenland in 1821 took
between them 204 whales, and the twenty-one that went to Davis Straits
took 294 whales. These 498 ‘fish’ produced whalebone and oil to the
value of £150,000. The average return per ship was here slightly lower
than that for the whole period 1772–1852, which works out to £3,500.


  (_Presented to the Wilberforce Museum, Hull, by Mr. John Suddaby_).

Occasionally a ship would be particularly fortunate. In the Greenland
Sea in one day the _Gibraltar_ killed eleven whales, the _Manchester_
ten, and the _Molly_ six. In 1794, also, the _Egginton_ arrived from
Greenland with the produce of fifteen whales, 3,021 seals, and five
bears. She had been away from home only a hundred days, and created a
record by afterwards making two trading voyages to St. Petersburg the
same season.

Such luck as this was quite exceptional. Usually the capture of a single
whale meant much hard work and many dangers for the boats’ crews. In
1821 the _Baffin_

    struck a whale which ran out fifteen lines of 240 yards each, and
    dragged two boats and fifteen men for a long time. When the ‘fish’
    was killed, it was found to have been also dragging under water six
    similar lines and a boat belonging to the _Trafalgar_, of Hull. The
    5,040 yards of line weighed a ton and a half.

Most famous of the ships of the Humber that passed to and fro in the
whaling industry was the _Truelove_. This was a three-masted barque with
a length of 96 feet and a width of 27 feet. Built at Philadelphia in
1764, the _Truelove_ was captured by the English in the American war,
and eventually sold to a merchant of High Street, Hull.

The _Truelove’s_ first whaling voyage was to Spitzbergen in 1784. From
that year till 1868 she made seventy-two voyages to Spitzbergen,
Greenland, or the Davis Straits, and accounted for about 500 whales. In
1873 she was taken to her birthplace, where the captain and crew were
fêted; and for several years afterwards she made trading voyages to
Norway until eventually she was broken up as no longer seaworthy.

The peculiar build of the _Truelove_ accounted to a large extent for her
many hair-breadth escapes from the danger of being ‘nipped’ in the ice.
Her sides bulged outwards like a barrel; or, as sailors put it, they
‘tumbled home’ to the deck.

One of the saddest events in the Hull whaling industry was the return
home of the _Diana_ in 1867. This was the first steamship to go to the
whaling-grounds, and in her voyage of 1866 she had the misfortune to
become locked in the ice for six months. The sufferings of her crew can
be imagined. Captain Gravill died in December, one of her crew died in
February, five died in March, and five more died in April.


The _Truelove_ was sent out from the Humber as a relief ship for the
_Diana_, but the two vessels passed each other. With thirty-six men down
with the scurvy, and only seven left fit to work the ship, the
unfortunate _Diana_ eventually reached home, her dead captain’s coffin
on the ship’s bridge.

The following year this ill-fated vessel was wrecked on the treacherous
flats of Donna Nook, off the Lincolnshire coast at the mouth of the
Humber. With her loss the whaling industry of the Humber seamen came to
an end.

                  *       *       *       *       *

During many of the years when the whale fisheries were providing work
for East Riding seamen, France and England were at war. Men were
consequently needed to man the English navy, and such notices as the
following were frequently issued in seaport towns:—

                        RECRUITING FOR THE NAVY.


    For the parishes of _Sculcoates_, _Cottingham_, and _Little
    Weighton_, A few able-bodied SEAMEN or LANDMEN to serve in His
    Majesty’s Navy during the present War ONLY.... The Families and
    Friends of Volunteers will receive Monthly Pay, and the Volunteers
    themselves will have a bountiful supply of Cloathing, Beef, Grog,
    Flip, and Strong Beer, also a certainty of Prize Money, as the men
    entered for this service will be sent to capture the rich Spanish
    Galleons, and in consequence will return loaded with Dollars and
    Honour, to spend their Days in Peace and Plenty.

                  *       *       *       *       *

           May the constitution of _England_ endure for ever, and
             the Parishioners of _Sculcoates_, _Cottingham_ and
                     _Little Weighton_ live to see it.

    Hull, November 28th, 1796.

But the results of this ‘Recruiting for the Navy’ were not always
satisfactory, notwithstanding the ‘certainty of Prize Money’ and the
‘bountiful supply of ... Grog, Flip, and Strong Beer.’ So recourse was
had to the _Press Gang_, and many were the tricks practised by the
captains and crews of Hull whalers to reach home safely.


A ship of war was stationed in the Humber to board incoming whalers and
impress men for service in the navy. To escape, numbers of the men were
landed at Easington or at lonely spots farther north, and these would
make their way home as best they could by land.

Another very ingenious trick was worked successfully by the captain of a
whaler which was boarded by a revenue cutter off Flamborough Head. This
is how Captain Barron in his _Old Whaling Days_ tells the story:—

    A revenue cutter hove in sight off Flambro’ Head when Captain
    Scoresby was returning home with a full ship. When he saw it in the
    distance, he let four or five feet of water into the hold through a
    large brass tap which some whalers had in their counters on purpose
    to fill their casks for ballast. This was kept running, so that the
    pumps could not gain upon it, and when the officer boarded the ship
    he was told she made so much water that the crew would not be able
    to keep her afloat if he took any away. The officer sounded the
    pumps, and was satisfied in finding when they stopped pumping the
    water rose in the hold. He took his departure. The tap was at once
    turned off, and the water pumped out. This clever trick saved his
    men from being forced on board His Majesty’s ships.

On another occasion—in 1798—the _Blenheim_ was boarded in the Humber by
_H.M.S. Nonsuch_, and a free fight followed, in which two of the
warship’s crew were slain. For this the captain of the whaler was
brought to trial at York. But he was acquitted on the charge of murder
laid against him; and when the York coach brought him safely home to
Hull, ‘the crowd took out the horses, dragged it to the Market Place,
and ran it three times round the statue of King William’ by way of
showing their joy.

The warships of this period, were, of course, vastly different from the
battleships of which English seamen are so proud to-day. Many were built
in the Humber; the largest being the _Humber_, an eighty-gun ship,
launched at Hessle Cliff in 1693. _H.M.S. Hector_ was built by Hugh
Blaydes fifty years later. During the years 1739–1774 three warships
were built at Paull, six at Hessle, and fifteen at Hull. A memento of
the _Hyperion_, built at Hull in 1806, still exists in the name of a
small street running off Great Union Street, and a neighbouring street
bears the name of a very popular whaler, the _Aurora_.

[Illustration: A HUMBER PILOT BOAT.]

                  *       *       *       *       *

The first steamship used on the Humber was one built in Scotland, and
hence appropriately named the _Caledonia_.[66] This steam packet ran
between Hull and Selby in 1815. Five years later the _Rockingham_ was
built at Thorne, and the following year the _Kingston_ began the
‘expeditious and easy conveyance’ of passengers from Hull to London.

Footnote 66:

  The first steamboat built in England was constructed in a yard off
  Wincolmlee, Hull, and was launched in the river Hull. This was in the
  year 1787, and the engine was patented the next year. The makers,
  Messrs. Furness & Ashton, afterwards built a larger steam-boat, which
  was put together in London and bought by the Prince Regent, who
  rewarded them with a pension of £70 each.

The _Kingston_ was, of course, looked upon as a wonderful vessel. Its
owners proudly announced to the public:—

    In the construction of this elegant vessel, which will be propelled
    by an engine of sixty horse power every attention has been paid to
    render the conveyance expeditious, commodious, and safe.

‘Expeditious’, however, it did not prove to be—at any rate on its first
voyage. For when twenty miles from the Humber, the axis of the paddles
broke; and instead of reaching London in thirty hours, as the passengers
had expected, the _Kingston_ found its way back to Hull some forty-eight
hours after its triumphant start.

These early steam packets were somewhat different from the ocean liners
of our own day. Compare the portrait of the _Rockingham_ on page 295
with that of the _Bayardo_ on page 299. Launched in 1910 from Earle’s
Shipbuilding Yard, at a cost of £67,000, the latter was for its short
life the ‘Queen of the Wilson Line.’

The fate of the _Diana_ and the _Bayardo_ illustrates the dangers of the
Humber. The latter vessel left Gothenburg on a Friday evening in
January, 1912, with a cargo worth £30,000 and a small number of
passengers. On the Saturday evening she was making her way up the Humber
in a dense fog when she ran hard aground on a sandbank almost opposite
the dock which was her destination. By the following evening her back
was broken, and the ‘Queen of the Wilson Line’ was a hopeless wreck.

[Illustration: The ‘Southampton.’]


  The ‘Bayardo.’

                  *       *       *       *       *


_Photo by_]                              [_C.W. Mason_

                   The Entrance to the ‘Old Harbour.’


Stand on the Victoria Pier at Hull on a clear day, and watch the ships
of the Humber. Of all sizes and shapes and speeds they are. There we see
the keel, with its one square sail, making its way slowly along, the
peaceful descendant of the square-sailed long-ship of Viking days. There
are the schooners and barques that are survivals from the days when all
ships depended on the wind for their motive power. There is a tug-boat
taking out to its moorings the light-ship on which the safety of many
other ships will depend.

There also are the ‘fast-sailing’ steam trawlers and carriers coming
from, or going to, the fishing-grounds off Iceland and north of the
White Sea—the representatives of the whalers of a hundred years
ago—there the scurrying pilot boats and revenue cutters. And there is a
great ocean liner riding at anchor and waiting the turn of the tide to
allow it to enter the dock and discharge the cargo it has brought from
the other side of the world.

                    FOLK-SPEECH OF THE EAST RIDING.

There is a tale told of a Yorkshireman on a visit to London that he fell
into argument with a bus conductor over the correct way of pronouncing
the simple word ‘road.’ The cockney bus-conductor had, in his usual way,
called out ‘’Toria Rowd; ’Toria Rowd!’ and the Yorkshireman was highly
displeased with this obvious murder of the King’s English. ‘Rowd!’ said
he in his disgust; ‘whah dooant ya speeak English? R-o-a-d—that’s hoo
it’s spelt, beeant it? Whah dooant ya ca’ it Roo-ad?’

The story will serve to illustrate the fact that a man born and bred in
the heart of England’s biggest shire, and one born and bred in the heart
of England’s biggest city, do not sound all their words in the same
manner, though they may at the same time spell them alike. Moreover,
neither of the two will perhaps sound his words in the way in which
custom says it is correct to sound them.

Such differences are to be found in many parts of the country. The
Northumberland miner, the Sheffield steel-worker, the Nottingham
lace-worker, the Norfolk grazier, and the ‘Zummerzet’ farm-labourer all
speak ‘English’; but yet they would have no little difficulty in making
one another understand what their respective English words meant. In
other words, the districts to which they belong have each a DIALECT or
FOLK-SPEECH of their own.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Let us see what are some of the peculiarities of the Folk-Speech of our
East Riding:—

(1) An East Yorkshireman sounds his vowels in his own peculiar way. With
him I is pronounced as _ah_, warm as _wahrm_, night as _neet_, road as
_rooad_, cow as _coo_, know as _knaw_, pound as _pund_, come as _coom_,
and ought as _owt_. He is, moreover, very fond of the EEA sound; for he
makes cake into _keeak_, meat into _meeat_, home into _heeam_, sure into
_seear_, school into _skeeal_, look into _leeak_, enough into _eneeaf_,
and plough into _pleeaf_.

(2) He finds it too much of an effort to sound the whole word ‘the,’ and
therefore clips it into _t’_; so that with him ‘the cow is in the close’
becomes _t’ coo is i’ t’ clooase_. If he is a Holderness man even that
effort will probably be too great for him, and what he will say is _coo
is i’ clooase_.

(3) In the same way he finds it much easier to drop the final G of words
ending in ING and to drop an initial H. To make up for the latter,
however, he may very possibly put in an occasional H somewhere where it
would not be expected. Thus he may tell us, speaking of his companions,
that _hivvry yan on em is gannin t’ ’Ool t’ morn_.

(4) He has a very simple method of dealing with the inflections of the
verb. I am, thou art, he is; and I do, thou dost, he does, are levelled

                          _Ah is_   _Ah diz_
                          _Thoo is_ _Thoo diz_
                          _He is_   _He diz_

—while, in speaking of his sheep, he may even tell us that _Them’s good

(5) The plural words cows, eyes, children, are not at all to his liking.
He much prefers to speak of such things as _ky_, _een_, and _childer_.
Nor does he take kindly to the ‘apostrophe s’ as a sign of the
possessive case; but will tell his boy to _stan bi t’ hoss heead_.

(6) He is very fond of doubling his negatives, and occasionally he is
not even satisfied with the doubling process. It is said of an East
Yorkshireman whose apple trees were the aim of many a schoolboy’s stone,
that his lamentation took the form of _neeabody’s neea bisniss ti thraw
nowt inti neeabody’s gardin_.

(7) He is also very fond of ‘strong’ past tenses and of past participles
ending in EN. The past tenses beat, crept, snowed, are with him _bet_,
_crop_, and _snew_; while the past participles burst, fought, got, held,
let, put, become _brussen_, _fowten_, _gotten_, _ho’dden_, _letten_, and
_putten_. So firmly fixed in popular favour are these forms in EN that
it is told of a small boy who had been receiving a lesson on their
incorrectness, that in a state of momentary excitement he informed his
mistress: _Pleease, miss, Billy Jooanes ha’ putten ‘putten’ wheer he owt
ti ha’ putten ‘put.’_

(8) The East Yorkshireman has a host of words that are all his own. Thus
he will tell us that _theer war nobbut yah coo i’ t’ helm at t’ far-end
o’ t’ pastur_; and that he _doots t’ awd meer’s boon ti dee, but happen
she mud live whahl Moon da_.[67]

Footnote 67:

              _nobbut_=only.           _boon_=ready.
              _helm_=shed.             _happen_=possibly.
              _far-end_=opposite side. _mud_=might.
              _doots_=fears.           _whahl_=until.

(9) He has likewise his own way of expressing his thoughts, and no other
will serve his purpose so well. ‘Well, my boy, who are you?’ a country
parson freshly arrived from the South is said to have asked a village
boy. _Ah’s weel, hoo’s yersen?_ was the unexpected reply that the parson
received. But, of course, he should have known that in East Yorkshire
the correct way of asking his question is ‘What do they call you?’

There are very many of these special modes of expression. To spread a
report is _to set it aboot_, to scold a person is _to call_ him, to call
a person is _to call of_ him, to pour hot water on tea-leaves is _to
mash t’ tay_, to be going to the bad is _to be at a loose end_, to leave
off doing a thing is _to give ower_, and to give good promise of success
is _to fraame middlin_.

If an East Yorkshireman wishes to make known that he saw his brother
Sam, he will say _Ah seed oor Sam_. Of one who cannot look after himself
he will say that _t’ awd chap canna fend for hissen_, and of one who is
not getting better from an illness it will be said that _he dizn’t mend

Sometimes the result of the change of expression becomes ludicrous, as
it was in the case of the cottager who, telling of a lodger that he
prepared his own food and she did his washing for him, explained: _He
meeats hissen an’ ah weshes him_.

The East Yorkshireman, like many other people, likes making comparisons;
but he has his own idea of what forms a fit and proper comparison. Thus,
in speaking of the steepness of a cliff he will tell us that it is _as
brant as a hoose sahd_, or he will explain that his grandfather is _as
deeaf as a yat-stowp_.[68] Concerning a person of whose capabilities he
does not think highly, he will tell us that he is _as fond as a
billy-gooat_, or _as green as a yalla cabbish_, or even _as soft as a
boiled tonnap_.

Footnote 68:


                  *       *       *       *       *

Many other examples of the peculiarities of the East Yorkshire
Folk-Speech might be given. What shall we say about them? Shall we smile
at what we are pleased to consider mis-pronunciations and awkward
attempts to speak the English language? When the farm-labourer, who had
been beguiled into buying a ‘solid gold-plated keyless watch jewelled in
seven holes’ from a cheap-jack in Beverley Market Place, was told by his
companion to _ax_ where the key was, and proceeded to bawl out _Wheer’s
t’ kay?_ was he to be laughed at for murdering the King’s English?

If we wish to laugh at those who thus speak ‘broad Yorkshire’ let us do
so. But at the same time let us remember that what we are pleased to
call ‘broad Yorkshire’ is often much truer English than what we
ourselves customarily use.

A thousand years ago our ancestors called a key _cæg_ (pronounced
_kaig_), and used the verb _acsian_ where we should use ‘ask.’ They also
used the word _cy_ (pronounced _kee_) for the plural of _cu_ (pronounced
_koo_), and the word _cilder_ (pronounced _kilder_) for the plural of

So really the East Yorkshire farm-labourers are speaking the language of
their ancestors much more truly than we who mis-pronounce words and make
them into _cows_ and _ask_, and who manufacture such a double plural as
the word _child(e)r-en_.

In numerous instances is the East Yorkshire Folk-Speech nearer to the
true English than is the commonly accepted ‘English’ of to-day. The
following examples might be multiplied indefinitely:—


   (IN USE A.D. 912).                (IN USE A.D. 1912).

 AFYRHT (pron.          afraid                    AFEEARD

 GIF                    if                        GIF

 GRAFAN (pron.          to dig                    GRAAVE

 HAGOL                  hail                      HAGGLE

 HRYCG (pron. _hrig_)   back or ridge             RIG

 LICGAN (pron.          to lie                    LIG

 SETL                   seat                      SETTLE

 SWELAN                 to gutter (of a candle)   SWEEL

 THAEC (pron. _thak_)   thatch                    THAK

 WANCOL                 unsteady                  WANKLE

At Beverley there are three very interesting examples of the survival of
old English words, which have elsewhere dropped entirely out of use. The
Beverley _Frith-Stool_ has preserved its name unchanged from the days
when the word which meant peace was _frith_. The street known to-day as
_Toll Gavel_ preserves memories of the time when _gafol_ meant a tax or
toll, and it is clear that tolls continued to be paid in it long after
the original meaning of this word had become forgotten. Similarly the
_Hurn_, or freemen’s pasture which was once a corner of Beverley
Westwood, has kept its name from the days when _hyrne_ meant a corner.

Another example of how the original meaning of a word may be kept in one
instance only occurs in the descriptive name which is so commonly
applied to England’s largest shire. Yorkshire is known far and wide as
the ‘Land of the Broad Acres.’ But to how many who use this expression
does it convey any meaning? Are the acres in Yorkshire ‘broader’ than
they are elsewhere in Britain? If they are not, what sense is there in
the expression?

As a matter of fact, the expression is a most suitable one. But it is so
only if we know that the word _aecer_ (pronounced _akker_)[69]
originally meant not a certain area of land, but merely a ploughed
field. Yorkshire is still the ‘Broad-acred Shire,’ for in no other part
of our country shall we find _fields_ of waving corn that measure as
much as a hundred acres in extent.

Footnote 69:

  The local pronunciation of ‘acre’ in the East Riding is _yakker_; so
  that the old sound of the word has been here kept, even though its
  meaning has universally changed.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In Chapter VIII. we read how the fierce Northmen settled in our land,
and on pages 59–61 it was shown how numerous are Danish place-names in
the East Riding of Yorkshire. But it is not only in the place-names of
the district that we find proofs of the presence of the Northmen. There
are in common use among the inhabitants of the East Riding scores of
words that are purely Danish words, handed down from father to son,
almost or quite unchanged during more than a thousand years. Some are as


  AT                     that (conjunction)     AT

  BAND                   string, cord           BAND

  BARN                   child                  BA’AN or BARN

  BELJA                  to cry, shout out      BEEAL

  BUINN                  ready                  BOON

  DALIGR                 dismal, lonely         DOWLY

  DENGJA                 to strike              DING, DENG

  FLYTJA                 to change one’s abode  FLIT

  FRA                    from                   FRA

  GARTHR                 yard                   GARTH

  GATA                   road, way              GATE

  GAUKR                  cuckoo                 GOWK

  GYMBR                  female lamb            GIMMER

  HLAUPA                 to leap                LOWP

  HNEFI                  fist                   NEEAF

  KETLINGR               kitten                 KITLIN

  KJARR                  low-lying land         CARR

  KLEGGI                 horse-fly              KLEG

  LEIKA                  to play                LAIK

  MEGIN                  very                   MAIN

  MOLDVARPA              mole                   MOODIEWARP

  MUNU                   must                   MUN

  REYKR                  smoke                  REEK

  SKAELA                 to overturn            SKEL UP

  SKJAPPA                basket                 SKEP

  SLAKKI                 hollow                 SLACK

  SLEIPR                 slippery               SLAAPE

  STIGI                  ladder                 STEE

  THETTR                 watertight             THEET

  THRONGR                busy                   THRONG

Footnote 70:

  In reading these, it should be remembered that the Norse J=_y_,
  AU=_ow_, EI or EY=_ai_, and V=_w_.

Other proofs of the great influence of the Old Norse tongue on the
language of East Riding folk are seen in their liking for the sound of K
where modern standard English demands that of CH. The words _benk_ (or
_bink_), _birk_, _breeks_, _caff_, _kirk_, _kist_, _pickfork_, and
_thack_, are commonly heard used in place of the Southern English forms
bench, birch, breeches, chaff, church, chest, pitchfork, and thatch. So
also _hask_ or _’ask_ is the East Riding pronunciation of harsh, and
_brig_ is universally used for the different meanings of the word

                  *       *       *       *       *

In the Rev. M. C. F. Morris’s history of Nunburnholme the author gives
an amusing example of the East Riding Folk-Speech. But it is really
something more than this. For we can see from it very clearly how much
truer English is spoken by the East Yorkshire farm-labourer than by the
fine fellow who prides himself on his knowledge of the English language.

Let us take Mr. Morris’s story—the Fable of ‘The Bear and the Bees’—in
two forms. Here is one of them:—

    ‘A bear happened to be stung by a bee, and the _pain_ was so _acute_
    that in the madness of _revenge_ he ran into the _garden_ and
    overturned the hive. This _outrage_ _provoke_d their anger to a high
    _degree_, and brought the _fury_ of the whole swarm upon him. They
    _attack_ed him with such _violence_ that his life was in _danger_,
    and it was with the utmost _difficulty_ that he made his _escape_,
    wounded from head to tail.

    ‘In this _desperate_ _condition_, _lament_ing his mis_fortunes_ and
    licking his sores, he could not forbear _reflect_ing how much more
    _advisable_ it had been to have _acquiesce_d _patient_ly under one
    _injury_ than thus by an un_profitable_ _resentment_ to have
    _provoke_d a thousand.’

Now this version of the fable contains just over eighty different words;
and, if we turn over the pages of a French dictionary, we shall find
that twenty-one of the twenty-five words printed in italics were not
originally English words at all, but are words introduced into our
language from the French. Some of them ‘came over with the Conqueror’
undoubtedly. Others were introduced in more recent times. The remaining
four words—_acute_, _desperate_, _reflect_ing, and _acquiesce_d—are
purely Latin words.

Let us now take the East Yorkshireman’s account of what happened:—

    ‘Yah daay yan o’ them girt beears gat hissen sadly tenged wi’ a bee.
    He wer seea _despe’t_ly ho’tten was t’ beear at he wer wahld
    ommeeast. Noo, they’re a varry _lungeous_ thing is a beear, an’ seea
    ti mak ’em think on t’ next tahm, he maks nowt ti deea bud he off ti
    t’ _gardin_ an’ clicks t’ beeskep ower wi sikan a bat. Noo, by that,
    mun, ther was a bonny ti-deea; t’ bees was sairly putten aboot, an’
    seea they all com at t’ beear, an’ leeted on him; an’ he wer that
    tenged all ower, whahl it leeaked agin they wer boun ti rahve him i’
    bits; an’ he wer hard set ti ger awaay frev ’em wick.

    ‘Varry seean he was swidgin’ an’ warkin’ awhahl he could hardlins
    bahd; bud, hooivver, he set hissen doon upo’ t’ grund an’ started ti
    beeal, an’ he shakk’d his heead an’ scratted his lugs an’ sike
    leyke. Eftther he’d gotten sattled doon a bit, thinks he tiv hissen,
    ah mebbe mud as weel ae tae’n neea _noatis_ eftther t’ fo’st bee
    tenged ma, as ti a’e meead sikan a _durdam_ amang t’ others, awhahl
    they were fit ti modther ma; an’ it wer all ti neea use at t’

All the long French words have disappeared, and in the whole account
only five French words and one Latin word are used. The difference is
striking, and the reason for the difference is not far to seek.

The language of the former version is that which has come down to us
from the Court, and the Court language was for centuries Norman-French.
The words used by the East Yorkshire farm-labourer are those of his
humble forefathers who knew no _bewk-larning_, and who learned their
English tongue by word of mouth, picking up here and there only an
occasional French word.

In other words, the language of the farm-labourer is almost exactly the
same as that used by his ancestors four or five centuries ago. In fact,
as Mr. Morris puts it, ‘if old Tommy Smith who died in 1500, aged 80,
and old Willie Ward who died in 1900, aged 80, could come to life again
and hold converse with one another, they would understand each other


Every ten years a census is taken of the people inhabiting the British
Isles. The latest counting of the people took place in 1911, when it was
found that there were living in the East Riding of Yorkshire 432,804
persons. This large number of people is made up of men, women, and
children who live in groups or communities very greatly varying in size.
The number of persons living in the great city of Hull was 278,024; the
number living in the little village of Wilsthorpe was only one.



But whether the inhabitants of the East Riding are living together in
large communities or in small ones, they live at peace with one another;
and any disorderly person who disturbs the peace of the community is
quickly brought to book. Now, seeing that man is by nature somewhat
inclined to be a quarrelsome animal, how is this very desirable state of
affairs brought about?

The answer to this is that all the men, women, and children of the East
Riding are living under certain wise laws by which their lives are
governed. Probably they do not often recognise the fact that their lives
are being governed or ruled. If they did, they would almost certainly
begin to kick against the rules and say that it is an Englishman’s
privilege to do just as he likes.

But that is just the secret of the quiet, peaceful lives led by the
great majority of English people. They submit to be governed without
their knowing it; and they do not realise that they are being governed
because, very largely, they govern themselves.

The laws by which the lives of the inhabitants of the East Riding are
ruled are made at Westminster by the British Parliament. This consists
of two ‘Houses’—the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Among the 670 men who make up what is called the House of Commons there
are six who are chosen by the people of the East Riding to represent
them in Parliament. The city of Hull supplies three of these; and the
remaining portion of the East Riding supplies the other three. For
voting purposes, when the elections of these _Members of Parliament_ are
held, Hull is split up into three Divisions—East Hull, West Hull, and
Central Hull; and the rest of the East Riding is similarly split up into
the Buckrose Division, the Holderness Division, and the Howdenshire

Footnote 71:

  Hedon sent two members to Parliament from the time of Edward I. until
  1832, when it was disfranchised as one of the ‘rotten boroughs.’
  Beverley also was represented by two members till 1870.

In what is known as the House of Lords the East Riding is
represented—though not through the process of election—by the Earl of
Londesborough, Baron Middleton of Settrington House, Baron Leconfield,
Baron Deramore of Heslington Hall, and Baron Nunburnholme of Ferriby

                  *       *       *       *       *

But the British Parliament only says what the laws of the whole country
shall be. To see that these laws are rightly administered, there are in
London what are called ‘Government Departments,’ such as the Board of
Trade and the Board of Agriculture. A great deal of the work of these
Departments, however, cannot be conveniently carried on from London, and
the country is therefore split up into _Shires_, or _Counties_, to each
of which is given the work of seeing that certain of the laws made by
Parliament are properly kept.

The East Riding of Yorkshire is one of these counties, and in addition
to seeing that the laws of the country are properly kept, it has the
duty of making less important laws which concern only its own
inhabitants. The latter are known as _by-laws_, or, as the word is often
written, _bye-laws_.



Again, just as Britain is split up into different counties, each of
which makes for itself the by-laws which it considers best, so the East
Riding is split up into different portions, each of which makes its own

This sort of arrangement is by no means a modern invention. A thousand
years ago each ‘town,’ or group of farm dwellings, in the East Riding
had its meeting to arrange the rules by which it should be governed. So
also each ‘wapentake,’ or wider district, had its meeting, which was
attended by representatives from the different ‘towns’ composing it.
Lastly the whole ‘shire,’ the East Riding itself, had its meeting,
attended by representatives from the different wapentakes.

Now we will see how this very ancient system is followed out to-day; but
first we must put on one side the city of Hull, and the towns of
Beverley, Bridlington, and Hedon.

Taking the rest of the East Riding, what was the _tūn mōt_ of the Angles
is our PARISH COUNCIL. There are in the East Riding 131 Parish Councils,
each of which is attended by chosen representatives of the village or
township, and each of which looks after its own good management of

Similarly the _waepentac_ or _hundred mōt_ of the Angles is our URBAN or
RURAL DISTRICT COUNCIL. In the East Riding there are eight groups of
townships to which the name ‘Urban District’ is given; these have for
their respective centres Cottingham, Driffield, Filey, Hessle, Hornsea,
Pocklington, Norton, and Withernsea. There are also twelve groups of
townships which we know as ‘Rural Districts.’



As you will see from the map on this page, the difference between an
Urban and a Rural District is that in the latter the people are spread
over a much wider area than in the former. The Urban Districts are, in
other words, the more thickly populated parts of the country.

Similarly, too, the _scīr mōt_ of the Angles is the COUNTY COUNCIL of
our day. This exercises authority over both the smaller Councils.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The EAST RIDING COUNTY COUNCIL is made up of representatives from
different districts throughout the County, and consists of:—

/* Members elected for Beverley 4 Members elected for Bridlington 3
Members elected for the rest of the East Riding 45 — Total of Elected
Members 52 County Aldermen 17 — Total of Members 69 */

For purposes of local government the city of Hull is entirely, and the
towns of Beverley, Bridlington, and Hedon are partly, outside the East
Riding. Hull ranks as a COUNTY BOROUGH, its full title being the ‘City
and County of Kingston-upon-Hull,’ and it is governed by a Corporation,
consisting of a Mayor, sixteen Aldermen, forty-eight Councillors, a
Recorder, and a Sheriff.

Beverley, Bridlington, and Hedon rank as MUNICIPAL BOROUGHS. That is
equal to saying that at some time or other each has received from the
reigning Sovereign a charter granting it the right to rule its own
affairs. Each Municipal Borough has a Mayor for its chief townsman.

In addition to their Mayors, Beverley and Bridlington have each six
Aldermen and eighteen Councillors, while Hedon is governed by its Mayor,
three Aldermen, and nine Councillors. For the election of Councillors
Bridlington is divided into three wards—Bridlington Ward, Quay Ward, and
Hilderthorpe Ward—and Beverley into two. The latter are named
respectively Minster Ward and St. Mary’s Ward.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The work to be got through by a County Council or a Town Council is so
large in amount that the members would not be able to carry out their
duties satisfactorily if they did not arrange themselves in groups or
_Committees_, each of which can undertake one kind of work. Often these
Committees are again arranged in _Sub-Committees_.



Footnote 72:

  This mace dates from the reign of Henry VI. In the enlarged portion
  are shown the _lions_ of England quartered with the _fleur-de-lis_ of

Thus the sixty-nine members of the East Riding County Council arrange
themselves in the following nine groups, each of which has its Chairman
and Deputy Chairman:—

    1. Finance Committee.
    2. Highways and Bridges Committee.
    3. Asylum Committee.
    4. Cattle Plague Committee.
    5. General Purposes Committee.
    6. Public Health Committee.
    7. Small Holdings Committee.
    8. Education Committee.
    9. Old-Age Pensions Committee.

Each Committee conducts the affairs entrusted to it, and makes reports
to the whole Council at stated intervals.

The _Finance Committee_ examines and recommends for payment all bills
and accounts; it also has the management and control of all County
Council buildings.

The _Cattle Plague Committee_ deals with the outbreak of contagious
diseases on farms—such as swine fever, foot and mouth disease, sheep
scab, and the most dreaded anthrax. It has to see that the various Acts
of Parliament concerning these are fully carried out. Hence it may have
to order the immediate slaughter of all the cattle or sheep on a farm,
or perhaps to order that no animals are moved from one farm to any
other. Should there be during a hot summer a plague of destructive
insects, it issues instructions to farmers how to fight the plague, and
moreover it can compel farmers to carry out these instructions.

The work of the _General Purposes Committee_ is very varied. It is
concerned with the protection of wild birds during the nesting-season,
the testing of the weights and measures used in some seven thousand
shops, the inspection of places where ‘Living Pictures’ are shown, the
granting of licenses for these, and the choice of places at which men
and women shall record their votes at the time of an election.

Under the notice of the _Public Health Committee_ come all proposals for
the planning of new town-districts and all those dealing with
sanitation; under the _Small Holdings Committee_ come all requests for
allotments. The applicant for an old-age pension must prove to the
_Old-Age Pensions Committee_ that he or she is seventy years old, and
has not a greater income than £31 10s. a year. The control and repair of
roads and bridges, and the management of the County Asylum at
Walkington, are in the hands of the _Highways and Bridges Committee_ and
the _Asylums Committee_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

But of greatest influence over the lives of schoolboys and schoolgirls
is the work of the _Education Committee_. The work is felt to be so
important that the Committee is divided into Sub-Committees. These are
called respectively:—

             The Higher Education Sub-Committee.
             The School Management Sub-Committee.
             The School Attendance Sub-Committee.
             The School Buildings and Sites Sub-Committee.
             The Finance Sub-Committee.



Each of these Sub-Committees has its particular work, the nature of
which can be recognised from its name. The Sub-Committee which
exercises, perhaps, the greatest amount of influence is that whose name
stands first in the list. It is the _Higher Education Sub-Committee_,
which provides funds for the carrying on of the Bridlington,
Pocklington, and Beverley Grammar Schools; which founded the Bridlington
and Beverley High Schools for Girls; which provides the villages of the
East Riding with lectures on Dairy Farming, Poultry Keeping, Gardening,
and Beekeeping; which organises classes for Cookery, Laundry-Work,
Dressmaking, Carpentry, Wood-Carving, and Domestic Economy; which grants
Scholarships to deserving boys and girls who wish to continue their
education at a Secondary or a Technical School.

A very special kind of work carried on by the East Riding County Council
is that known as the _Registration of Deeds_. As a result of this work
the Council possesses a record of all sales of land in the East Riding
since the year 1706. There are only two counties in Britain that keep
such records, Yorkshire being one and Middlesex the other.

For carrying on its numerous branches of work the County Council needs
large supplies of money. In the year 1901–2 its total receipts were
£61,760; in the year 1910–11 they had grown to £190,927. These figures
show how the work of the Council increased during the nine intervening

About one-fifth of this large sum of money is provided by the
Government, the rest of it by the inhabitants of the Riding. The latter
is made up of rates, rents, licenses for traction engines and motor
cars, fees for pedlars’ and chimney sweeps’ certificates, fines imposed
by magistrates, and so on.

Of course very accurate accounts have to be kept of all items of Income
and Expenditure. In the accounts for 1910–11 there are such items as the

          _Income Account_:—                         £  s.  d.
            Charge for Loan of Hose Pipe             0  15   0
            Sale of Old Hurdles, etc.                0   8   3
            Cash found on Drowned Person             0  16   6
          _Expenditure Account_:—
            Caution Posts—Painting and Repairing    18   9   6
            Skerne—Tree-Topping                      2   9   0
            Taking Samples of Bread and Expenses     0   0   1

All moneys received and all moneys paid away must be accounted for, and
the accounts for 1910–11 show that for the whole year the _Receipts_
amounted to £190,927, while the _Payments_ amounted to £191,161. You
may, perhaps, think that you see in these figures something like a
mathematical impossibility; but that is only because you have not
reached the higher stages of commercial arithmetic.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The meetings of the County Council and those of its different Committees
and Sub-Committees are held at the COUNTY HALL, Beverley.[73] That is
the reason Beverley, though only a small town, is called the ‘Capital of
the East Riding.’

Footnote 73:

  The meetings of the Hull City Council, and the Beverley, Bridlington
  and Hedon Town Councils are held in their respective _Town Halls_.


The full meetings of the Council take place in the _Council Chamber_
four times each year—in the months of January, May, July, and October.
Each meeting is presided over by the Chairman, or in his absence, by the
Deputy-Chairman; and the conduct of the meeting is in accordance with a
set of rules known as the _Standing Orders of the East Riding County
Council_. To each resolution brought forward and put to the vote the
members give their assent, or refuse it, by the words _Aye_ and _No_.

Both the County Council and the Town Councils have a body of officers to
see that their wishes are properly carried out. They comprise a _Clerk_,
_Treasurer_, _Accountant_, _Surveyor_, _Medical Officer of Health_,
_Inspector of Weights and Measures_, _Analyst_, and so on, down perhaps,
to the _Gardener_. In the case of the County Council the adjective
_County_ is prefixed to the name of the office; in the case of a city or
town, the word _Borough_. The chief officer in each is known as the
_Clerk of the Council_ and the _Town Clerk_.

The Urban and Rural District Councils, and also the Parish Councils,
have each a smaller body of officers whose duties resemble those of the
officers mentioned above.

                          EAST RIDING SCHOOLS.

To have behind it a history that goes back certainly for eight hundred
years, and in all probability for a thousand, is something of which a
school may be proud. Such is the rightful boast of the BEVERLEY GRAMMAR



As far back as the year 1100 there is mention of the schoolmaster in the
Minster records. But the earliest known mention of the school is
contained in a letter written in 1276 by Walter Giffard, Archbishop of
York, to his bailiff at Beverley. In this letter the bailiff is directed

    maintain John Aucher and his two companions attending school at
    Beverley from Michaelmas last, with 2s. a week, and their small
    necessaries in fitting style; and pay 36s. for three gowns for their

But centuries before this the Beverley Grammar School must have been in
existence. For it was part and parcel of the Collegiate Church of Saint
John of Beverley, and one of the first duties of a collegiate church was
to establish and maintain a school for the education of youth.
Therefore, just as the Minster of St. Peter at York maintained a
school—and a very famous one too—as early as the year 730, so the
Minster of St. John of Beverley will undoubtedly have maintained a
school for many years before the Norman Conquest. Its foundation is, in
fact, believed to date from the eighth century.


  (_Originally the Arms of Bishop Skirlaw_)

Beverley Grammar School is, far and away, the oldest school in the East
Riding. But not long after, if not before, the date of the first written
evidence of it, there was in existence another East Riding School—the
HOWDEN GRAMMAR SCHOOL. Its origin was similar to that of the Beverley
school, for in 1265 the parish church of Howden was turned into a
collegiate church, and the rector was replaced by a body of canons,
whose duty it became to establish a school. This duty they fulfilled,
and the Howden Grammar School thus came into being some time before


The beginnings of BRIDLINGTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL are shrouded in mystery. It
was originally a school attached to the Bridlington Priory, and its
earliest mention occurs in a document promising that a royal grant
formerly paid to the ‘Prior and Convent of St. Marie, Byrdlington,’
should be continued, whereas other similar grants were then being
withdrawn. This was in the year 1450.

The fact that this document was issued by King Henry VI. gives the
Bridlington Grammar School some claim to the title of ‘A Once Royal
School.’ The royal grant was made—using the King’s words—‘for the great
affection and singular devotion that we have to the glorious confessor,
Saint John of Bridlington’; and by it the Prior and Canons of
Bridlington were bound

    as in finding of XII. Quarasters, and a maister to teach them both
    gramer and song.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The HULL GRAMMAR SCHOOL is a notable example of a chantry school. It
owes its existence to the piety of John Alcock, Bishop of Rochester, who
in 1482 founded ‘The Chauntrie of Bisshoppe Alcocke in the parish
churche of the Trinities in Hull.’



This means, in other words, that the founder purchased lands and gave
them to the Church, on the understanding that the rent of these lands
was for ever to be used for the stipend of a priest who should each day

    at th’aulter of Our Ladie and St. John the Evangelist ... pray for
    the soules of King Edward IV., the founder, and all christien

But Bishop Alcock’s chantry priest was to do more than this. For the
license granted by the King states that he

    is bounde to kepe a fre scole of grammer within the saide towne of
    Hull, and teche all scolers within the saide towne of Hull, and
    teche all scholers thither resorting, without taking any stipend or
    wages for the same, and should have for his own stipende £10, and
    shoulde paie yerelie to the clarke to teche children to sing 40s.,
    and to 10 of the best scolers in the scole every of them 6s. 8d. by

The Grammar Schools of Hull and Pocklington resemble each other in that
each was founded by a distinguished churchman and associated with a
parish church. As John Alcock, Bishop of Worcester, founded the one, so
John Dowman, Canon of St. Paul’s and Archdeacon of Suffolk, founded the

But whereas the Hull school was founded in connection with a chantry,
the POCKLINGTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL was closely associated with a Religious
Gild. Its foundation deeds—dated 1514—speak of it as the foundation of

    the Master, Wardens and Brethren of the Brotherhood or Gild of the
    Name of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Nicholas in the
    parish church of Pocklington.



The same deeds state that the founder, John Dowman, endowed the school
with lands sufficient to pay £13 6s. 8d. a year to the Master and
Wardens of the Gild for

    finding with the same a fit man sufficiently learned in the science
    of grammar to teach and instruct all and singular scholars resorting
    to the town of Pocklington for the sake of education.

                  *       *       *       *       *


  (_From an old Manuscript_).

Each of the five East Riding Schools mentioned has been spoken of as a
_Grammar School_. This name exactly describes their purpose; for they
existed in order that boys might learn the mysteries of Latin Grammar.
Together with the study of this went the reading of Latin authors,
usually taken in the following order:—Aesop and Terence, Vergil, Cicero,
Sallust and Cæsar, Horace and Ovid.

If you should find yourself wondering why this great attention to the
study of Latin, there is a very simple explanation to be given. Latin
was then the universal language of professional men. It was written,
spoken, and read by all those of the educated classes. Priests, doctors,
lawyers, merchants—all used it. The building-accounts for the Beverley
North Bar are written in Latin, the Minster records are written in
Latin, the Town records are written in Latin. A knowledge of Latin Cwas
the gateway to a commercial as well as a professional career.


  SCHOOL, A.D. 1552.

Until 1349 it was the custom for boys to translate their Latin authors
into Norman-French, this being the ordinary language of ‘gentlefolk.’
But then the change of making English the medium of translation was
introduced; and thirty-six years later an English chronicler lamented
that, because of the change, ‘grammar-school children knew no more
French than did their left heel.’

What a lively time the schoolboy had in those ‘good old days’! Hours of
study, from early morning till bedtime; subjects taught, Latin grammar
and Latin authors—these being plentifully varied with such pleasant
interludes as that pictured in the seal of Louth Grammar School. Little
wonder that Shakespeare, himself an ‘old boy’ of the Stratford-on-Avon
Grammar School, had memories of

             ... the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
             And shining morning face, creeping like snail
             Unwillingly to school.

Little wonder, also, that in the churchwardens’ accounts for Howden
there occur numerous payments for ‘glasse for repairing the schollehouse
windows.’ Boys will, of course, be boys, as long as the world lasts, and
even in the seventeenth century they had to work off their excess of
high spirits somehow or other.

                  *       *       *       *       *

_Grammar Schools_ were not the only class of schools in existence during
former days. There were two other kinds. _Song Schools_ were closely
connected with the services in large churches. They ranked below the
Grammar Schools, and their scholars were taught to read, write, and
figure, as well as to sing the various portions of the church service.
The Choir School attached to Holy Trinity Church, Hull, is a modern
representative of the mediæval Song School.

Of less rank, again, were the _Reading Schools_. Populous towns might
possess a school of each kind, as did Howden in 1401. But often the Song
School and the Reading School were combined in one; and sometimes, as at
Bridlington, the Grammar School was also a Song School.

But generally the vicar or the chantry priest was the master of the
Grammar School, while the parish clerk was the master of the Song
School. Any decrepit old man who had sufficient learning, but who had
fallen on evil days, might be the master of the Reading School; where it
would be his duty to teach the _petits_, or little ones, their ABC.
Sometimes the _petits_ had their name changed into English, and were
then known as the _Petties_, or as the _ABCies_. The latter of these two
names was usually written in a very quaint form—_abseies_.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In the extracts from the foundation deeds of the Hull and Pocklington
Grammar Schools given on pages 325 and 326 are two noticeable points.
First, in both the master is to teach all boys who may come to the
school, and in the one first quoted it is expressly stated that he is
not to take ‘any stipend or wages for the same.’ The school was to be a
_Free Grammar School_.

This does not mean that no charges at all were to be made. The teaching
was free; but all boys were expected to pay for luxuries, such as fires,
candles, writing and washing materials, cock-fights, and birchings.
Cock-fights, especially on Shrove Tuesday, were a regular school
institution, and Pocklington Grammar School still preserves its silver
cock-fighting bell. Doubtless school cock-fights were well worth a
special fee, but fancy having to pay a fee for the privilege of being
birched—a sure case of insult added to injury!



Boarders, too, were not kept for nothing. Far from it. John Aucher and
his two companions at Beverley Grammar School had their board paid for
at the rate of 8d. each per week, and they were also provided with
pocket-money for their ‘small necessaries.’

The foundation of a Free Grammar School was looked upon as a great
benefit to the town in which it was established. This we see clearly in
the complaint made in 1660 by the Vicar of Pocklington on behalf of the
inhabitants of the town. The complaint stated that there were then

    not above eight or nine little boys in the school, whereas formerly,
    by the pains and industry of some former masters, there had been six
    or seven score scholars in our school, of which three or four score
    of them hath been _tablers_, gentlemen’s sons, which was a great
    benefit to this our town.

Secondly, the salaries paid to the masters of the Hull and Pocklington
Grammar Schools are interesting. The Pocklington master was to be paid
£13 6s. 8d. a year, the Hull master £3 6s. 8d. less. But in a few years’
time the salary of the latter had risen to be almost as high as that of
the more-favoured master at Pocklington.

In 1548, ‘John Olyver, Bachelor of Artes, incumbente, being of thaidge
of 46 yeres, of honeste conversacione and lyvinge, and well lerned,’ was
to receive a ‘yerely stipend of £13 2s. 3d.’ Shameful to say, this was
not paid in full, the amount actually received by John Olyver being
first £13 2s. 2¾d., and later £13 2s. 2½d. Then, the source of income
becoming stopped, the poor master got nothing, until the Mayor and
burgesses took up his cause and successfully sued the Court of Exchequer
for the amount due yearly.

                  *       *       *       *       *

With the Reformation there came in 1548 what was called the CHANTRIES
ACT. This, by confiscating their revenues, put an end to all such
chantries as that founded by Bishop Alcock. It proved also a death-blow
to all Song Schools and to many Grammar Schools. Their ancient
endowments were seized by the Government, which engaged itself to
replace the endowments of the Free Grammar Schools with fixed annual
payments; but as it promptly forgot all about its engagements these did
not prove of much value.


Under these circumstances the inhabitants of Beverley made known their
grievances to King Edward VI. Their town was, they said—

    a market towne and the greatest within all Estryding of your
    Majesties countie of York, having a grete nombre of youthe within
    the same, and fife thowsaund persons and above, whereof some of them
    be apte and mete to be brought up in learning, whiche are not, for
    so much as there is neither gramer schole, or any other schole, as
    yet founded, wherewith they might be brought up in any vertuous

No satisfactory reply was forthcoming to the inhabitants’ petition that
the King would, out of the confiscated revenues of the Minster of St.
John, found ‘one Fre Gramer Scole’ in their town. So it was left to the
Town Governors to take over the finances of the old school. The school
which had its origin in the Minster was thus re-established by the
Town—an historic event which is embodied in its modern coat-of-arms.

The town records contain mention of many interesting payments made on
behalf of the school by the Town Governors. In 1567 there occur the

     Item gyven to the Schole maister his players       17s.

     Item payd to the waits for playing when       the   3s.   4d.
       Schole maister’s players played

In 1606 a new school was built in the Minster Garth, and during the
following years there are several records of the purchase of books for
the school:—

     Item for a dictionary for the Schollers             3s.   4d.

     Item for another booke bought at Crossfaier,        6s.   6d.
       and for bringinge one fro Cambridge

     Item for a booke and for chaines for two           18s.  10d.
       other bookes in the schole

The Beverley Grammar School still possesses its ancient library of
books; among which are an edition of _Vergil_ printed in black letter at
Florence, one of _Terence_ printed at Paris in 1552, one of _Cicero_
printed at Basle in 1553, and a very early edition of Foxe’s _Book of
Martyrs_, containing gruesome illustrations of practical methods of
torture. But there is now no need for chains to preserve these books
from being surreptitiously ‘borrowed.’

                  *       *       *       *       *

The Grammar School at Hull also had its revenues confiscated, but these
were afterwards in part restored. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth the
school was rebuilt, mainly at the expense of Alderman Gee, who
contributed for the purpose the sum of eighty pounds and twenty thousand
bricks. In his will, Alderman Gee put a further bequest thus:—

    I give and bequeath to the schoole of Hull which I builded through
    God’s goodnes, two houses in the Butchery.... I give these houses
    for ever for and towards the said Schoolmaster’s fee for his good
    teachinge and bringinge upp youth.

Pocklington Grammar School was saved through the efforts of Thomas
Dowman, the nephew of its founder, who obtained a private Act of
Parliament to continue the existence of the school.

What happened to Bridlington Grammar School is uncertain. But we know
that in 1636 an inhabitant of Bridlington, by name William Hustler, gave
‘forty pounds yearly out of his estates for the maintenance of a
schoolmaster and usher in a school-house, by him to be founded and
erected.’ This endowment still forms a part of the revenues of the

Howden Grammar School also managed to survive, and lives to-day in the
side chapel of the parish church that has been its home for several

Other smaller Grammar Schools, founded by private individuals, formerly
existed in the East Riding. Marmaduke Langdale founded one at SANCTON in
1610, Lord D’Arcy founded another at KILHAM in 1633, and John Blanchard
in 1712 left funds for the salary of a grammar school master at

                  *       *       *       *       *

We have now reached the beginning of the eighteenth century, and there
has so far been no mention made of Girls’ Schools. The reason is not far
to seek. There were no schools for girls in the far-off days when the
Grammar Schools of Beverley, Howden, Bridlington and Hull came into


Girls were then not considered to need any more education than that
which they could get at home. To know how to cook a meal, to make wool
into cloth, and to make cloth into clothes—what more was it possible for
girls to learn? These very useful lessons they could learn at home. A
few specially favoured girls of high birth were probably brought up and
taught book-learning in some of the nunneries of the East Riding; but of
this there are no records.

The first endowed school for girls as well as boys was founded in 1655,
and from this date onward numerous girls’ schools came into existence.
Some of these were styled _Boarding Academies for Young Ladies_; others
of a humbler nature were known as _Charity Schools_.

One of the latter was that founded by Alderman Cogan at Hull in 1753.
This provided clothing and instruction for twenty poor girls, each of
whom could remain at the school for three years. The number of girls was
afterwards increased to sixty. They wore white straw bonnets, brown
merino frocks, and blue cloth cloaks, all trimmed with orange. The COGAN
CHARITY SCHOOL still flourishes, but the old-time charity costume is no
longer worn.

Several old charity schools formerly existed in the towns of the East
Riding. Bridlington had a SPINNING SCHOOL in which twelve poor girls
were taught ‘carding, spinning, and knitting.’ Beverley had its
BLUE-COAT SCHOOL for boys, a school afterwards amalgamated with the
Grammar School; and three other Spinning Schools were in existence in
Hull at the close of the eighteenth century.


_Photo by_]                             [_Turner & Drinkwater_

                The High School for Girls, Bridlington.
                           (_Founded 1905_).


Of the same class is the MARINE or NAVIGATION SCHOOL belonging to the
Hull Trinity House. This, founded in 1786, now provides board, clothing,
and education for about 150 boys, who are intended for a sea-faring
life. So valuable is the education they receive in all that belongs to a
sailor’s life, that each of the ‘white-ducked’ boys is said to ‘carry a
captain’s certificate in his pocket’ when he leaves the school.


A school of a very special kind was that conducted on board the H.M.
TRAINING SHIP ‘SOUTHAMPTON.’ The _Southampton_, an old ‘three-decker,’
after serving as a battleship in the early years of last century, was
sent to the Humber to become a floating _Industrial School_. For
forty-three years it fulfilled its duty, during which time some 2,600
boys were educated on it for a life at sea.[74]

Footnote 74:

  A photograph of the _Southampton_ is given on page 299.

                  *       *       *       *       *

In towns private schools of all classes were increasing rapidly when the
nineteenth century opened. _A Directory of Hull_ for the year 1831 shows
that there were then in the town seven Ladies’ Boarding Academies, four
Gentlemen’s Boarding Academies, twelve Classical and Commercial
Academies, and no fewer than seventy-four Day Schools.

The following is the advertisement issued by the Principal of a
_Commercial and Mathematical Academy_ in the year 1787. In it the
mysterious letters appended to the Principal’s name may be taken to
stand for ‘Writing Master.’

                                                  HULL, JULY 11th, 1787.

             _At the Commercial and Mathematical Academy._

                     On the SOUTH-SIDE of the DOCK,

                         Facing the NEW-BRIDGE;

GENTLEMENS’ CHILDREN are instructed in the first principles of English,
so as to be enabled to read and write their native Language with
elegance and propriety; the English Grammar agreeable to the strictest
rules of Syntax, resolving a sentence into its different parts of
speech. The free and natural method of Writing, and striking by command
of hand; Arithmetic, Merchants’ Accounts, or the Italian Method of
Book-Keeping; Mensuration; Gauging; Surveying of Land; Plain and
Spherical Trigonometry; Euclids Elements; Navigation; Algebra, and the
Use of the Globes.

                         By _J. WATSON_, W. M.

YOUNG GENTLEMEN are Boarded and taught Geography, by familiar lectures,
founded on rational principles and demonstration, and such as are of age
and capacity taught to read Milton and Young, with proper emphasis and

              N.B. A separate Apartment for YOUNG LADIES.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile many of the old Grammar Schools in England had fallen on very
evil days. In 1840 some of those to which the term ‘decayed’ could be
most fitly applied were converted into _Elementary Schools_. Twenty-four
years later a Schools’ Enquiry Commission was appointed by the
Government to enquire into the condition of the Grammar Schools
throughout the country. The following are details from the report of the

At Beverley in 1865 there were only fifteen boys, and the school
premises were ‘dirty and the furniture out of repair.’ At Hull no
classics were taught; only two boys out of sixty-seven were learning
French, and two German; Algebra and Euclid were ‘not attempted.’ At
Sancton the children paid nothing, and ‘received instruction which was
worth nothing.’ At Barmby-on-the-Marsh the vicar was receiving £97 from
the Grammar School endowment, and out of it paying £2 to the village

Bridlington Grammar School was, we know, held in 1866 in a room near the
Corn Exchange in the ‘Old Town’; and some eight or ten scholars were in
attendance. It was then temporarily closed, and its funds were carefully
nursed by Mr. Thomas Harland, who meanwhile succeeded in interesting
others in its refoundation.

As the result of Mr. Harland’s labours, various funds were amalgamated,
including those of the Spinning School previously mentioned; and
eventually a site for the school was obtained, and new buildings were
erected. These were opened in 1899 by Lord Herries, the Lord Lieutenant
of the East Riding, and have since been twice enlarged.

                  *       *       *       *       *

It has been shown how Hull and Pocklington owe their Grammar Schools to
pious founders. That the days of pious founders are not wholly past and
gone, we have proved to us in the existence of HYMERS COLLEGE at Hull.

‘Hymers’ owes itself to two brothers, John and Robert Hymers, each a
native of the North Riding and an ‘old boy’ of Sedbergh School.

_Photo by_]                              [_Turner & Drinkwater_

                      Bridlington Grammar School.




The elder of these two brothers, who was born in 1803 at Ormesby in
Cleveland, became a distinguished mathematical scholar, and a Fellow of
St. John’s College, Cambridge. Somewhat late in life he was appointed
rector of Brandesburton, where he spent his last thirty-five years. On
his death in 1887 it was discovered that he had left almost his whole
fortune for the foundation of a Grammar School. The wording of a portion
of his will ran as follows:—

    And, subject to the payment of my debts ... I give and bequeath all
    the residue of my real and personal estate and effects whatsoever
    and wheresoever to the Mayor and Corporation of the port of
    Kingston-upon-Hull, in the county of York, wherewith to found and
    endow a Grammar School in their town on the model of the Grammar
    Schools at Birmingham and Dulwich, for the training of intelligence
    in whatever social rank of life it may be found amongst the vast and
    varied population of the town and port of Hull.

The amount of money thus bequeathed was roughly £200,000. But,
unfortunately for the testator’s wishes, the will was declared to be
null and void, because by the use of the words ‘found and endow’ it
violated an ancient law. By the _Statute of Mortmain_, passed by
Parliament in the year 1279, money might not be left to found and endow
what was really a religious institution. Had the will said ‘to found
_or_ endow,’ things would have been all right. But, as it was, the
_Statute of Mortmain_, though passed six hundred years before, was then
still the law of the land; and in the eyes of the law the testator’s
wishes counted for nought. [Illustration:

_Photo by_]  Hymers College.   [_Turner & Drinkwater_


However, by the goodwill and generosity of the younger of the two
brothers, a sum of £50,000 was devoted to the carrying out of Dr. John
Hymers’ wishes. With this the estate known as the Botanic Gardens was
purchased and the College buildings erected, a portion being set aside
to provide the necessary endowment for carrying on the school. Within
the last few years the Mayor and Corporation have provided funds for the
addition of a wing devoted to the teaching of Science and Art.

                  *       *       *       *       *


Right through the nineteenth century efforts were being made to give a
real education to the poorer classes. The great force at work during the
early years of the century was the _National Society for Promoting the
Education of the Poor_. This Society was established in 1809, and by
1831 had more than 1300 schools; all of which were not only built but
also carried on by voluntary subscriptions. Ten years ago there were 173
NATIONAL SCHOOLS in the East Riding.

By the _Education Acts_ of 1870 and 1880 a system of elementary
education was established, and in 1891 this education became free.

_Photo by_]                              [_Parrish & Berry_

         A Modern City Council School, Southcoates Lane, Hull.


Since the last-mentioned year the strides made have been enormous. The
education of the children of the East Riding has been taken in hand by
the East Riding Council, the Hull City Council, and the Town Councils of
Beverley and Bridlington. Old and useless schools have been replaced by
new and up-to-date ones; new Elementary, Secondary and Technical
Schools, and High Schools for Girls have been built and equipped; and a
School of Art and a Navigation School for adults have been established.
Most important of all, however, is the system of _Scholarships_ by which
many boys and girls are now climbing from the village school to the
‘Varsity’ college.

                    THE EAST RIDING ROLL OF HONOUR.

_A brief record of the most famous lives in local history. Each of the
persons named was born in the East Riding, and living persons are

SAINT JOHN OF BEVERLEY. Born at Harpham, and died in A.D. 721. Became
Bishop of Hexham and of York. Was canonised by the Church in 1037, and
afterwards became one of the most famous saints of the north of England.
_See pages 135–140._

ALURED, OR ALFRED, OF BEVERLEY. Born at Beverley in 1109. Became
Treasurer of the Church of St. John of Beverley, and Abbot of the
Cistercian Abbey of Rievaulx. Wrote a history in Latin, entitled _Annals
of the Deeds of the Kings of Britain_, and a _Life of St. John of

ROGER OF HOWDEN. Born at Howden, and died in 1201. Became a Clerk, or
Secretary, to Henry II., and later a King’s Justice for Yorkshire. Was
the author of a Latin history of England from A.D. 732 to A.D. 1201.

                                                    _See pages 269–270._

WILLIAM OF NEWBURGH. Born at Bridlington in 1136. Was brought up at the
Priory of Newburgh, and wrote in Latin a _History of English Affairs_,
which takes rank as ‘the finest historical work left to us by an
Englishman of the twelfth century.’ _See page 269._

PETER OF LANGTOFT. Born at Langtoft, and died in 1307. Was a Canon of
Bridlington Priory, and author of a _Chronicle of England_, written in
Anglo-Norman verse. _See page 269._

JOHN HOTHAM. Born at Scorborough, and died in 1336. Became Bishop of
Ely, and twice Lord Chancellor of England.

JOHN OF BRIDLINGTON. Born at Thwing about 1324. Was successively
Precentor, Almoner, Sub-Prior, and Prior of Bridlington Priory. Became
so famed for his piety that after his death many miracles were believed
to be wrought at his tomb.

SIR MICHAEL DE LA POLE, first EARL OF SUFFOLK. Born at Hull, and died in
1389. Became, successively, Mayor of Hull and Admiral of the King’s
Fleets in the Northern Parts, a Knight of the Garter, Lord Chancellor of
England, and the first Earl of Suffolk. His is the first example in
British history of a prosperous merchant’s becoming a peer of the realm.
_See page 116._

WALTER SKIRLAW, LL.D., Born at South Skirlaugh, and died in 1406. Became
Bishop, successively, of Lichfield, Bath, and Durham. Built the tower
and chapter house of Howden, and Skirlaugh Chapel—now the parish church.
Also built several bridges in the north of England, and helped to build
the central tower of York Minster.

JOHN ALCOCK, D.D. Born at Hull about 1428. Became Bishop, successively,
of Rochester, Worcester, and Ely. Was a Privy Councillor and twice Lord
Chancellor of England. Founded the Hull Grammar School and Jesus
College, Cambridge. _See pages 270–271._

JOHN FISHER, D.D. Born at Beverley in 1459. Became Chancellor of the
University of Cambridge, and Bishop of Rochester. Was famed for his
‘grete and singular virtue,’ and was beheaded on Tower Hill for refusing
to acknowledge Henry VIII. as the ‘Supreme Head of the Church.’ Was
largely instrumental in founding St. John’s College, Cambridge, and
formed a library which was considered to be ‘the finest in Christendom.’
_See pages 270–272._

SIR JOHN PICKERING, Kt. Born at Flamborough in 1544. Was the son of very
poor parents, yet became a Privy Councillor and Lord Keeper of the Privy
Seal. Was twice chosen Speaker of the House of Commons, and was knighted
by Queen Elizabeth.

SIR JOHN LISTER, KT. Born at Hull in 1585. Became twice Mayor of Hull,
and was five times elected M.P. for his native city. Entertained King
Charles I. on his visit to Hull in 1639. Founded in 1642 the ‘Lister
Hospital’ for six poor men and six poor women.

LUKE FOX. Born at Hull in 1586. Was a Younger Brother of the Trinity
House, and revived the attempt to discover the North-West Passage,
whence he gained the nickname ‘North-West Fox.’ Explored in 1631 the
Channel west of Baffin Land which now bears his name.

THOMAS LAMPLUGH, D.D. Born at Octon, near Thwing, in 1615. Was a Fellow
of Queen’s College, Oxford, and became successively Dean of Rochester,
Bishop of Exeter, and Archbishop of York.

SIR PHILIP MONKTON, Kt. Born at Cavil, near Howden, about 1620. Was a
devoted supporter of King Charles I., for whom he fought bravely at the
battles of Atherton Moor, Naseby, and Rowton Heath. Was knighted for his
bravery in 1644.

ANDREW MARVELL. Born at Winestead in 1621. Was an ‘old boy’ of the Hull
Grammar School, became Assistant Latin Secretary to the Council of
State, and was M.P. for Hull for nineteen years. Also gained
considerable reputation as a poet, but is best remembered as ‘a
pure-minded patriot in the most corrupt times.’ _See pages 272–275._

CHRISTOPHER NESSE. Born at North Cave in 1621. Was the son of a
husbandman, but became a notable Non-conformist preacher, and suffered
much persecution after the Restoration.

THOMAS WATSON, D.D. Born at North Ferriby in 1637. Was the son of a
seaman, and an ‘old boy’ of the Hull Grammar School. Became a Fellow of
St. John’s College, Cambridge, and afterwards Bishop of St. David’s. Was
a liberal benefactor to his old school, and rebuilt the alms-houses
known as ‘Watson’s Hospital.’

RICHARD BOYLE, K.G., third EARL OF BURLINGTON. Born at Londesborough in
1695. Was Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and Lord High
Treasurer of Ireland. Became famous as an amateur architect. Rebuilt
Burlington House, London, and carried out large schemes of plantation at
Londesborough Hall.

RICHARD OSBALDESTON, D.D. Born at Hunmanby, and died in 1764. Became
successively Dean of York, Bishop of Carlisle, and Bishop of London.

JOHN GREEN, D.D. Born at Beverley in 1706. Was an “old boy” of Beverley
Grammar School, and became Dean of Lincoln and later Bishop of Lincoln.
In 1772 was the only Bishop in the House of Lords ‘to vote in favour of
the Bill for the relief of Protestant Dissenters.’

WILLIAM MASON. Born at Hull in 1724. Was a son of the Vicar of Holy
Trinity and became a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and Chaplain
to the King. Gained considerable renown as a poet, and would have been
appointed Poet Laureate but for his political opinions.

SIR SAMUEL STANDIDGE, Kt. Born at Bridlington Quay in 1725. Took a
leading part in establishing the Greenland Fishery Trade, and fitted out
a ship for the discovery of the North Pole. Was knighted when Mayor of
Hull in 1795, and was four times elected Warden of the Hull Trinity

SIR CHRISTOPHER SYKES, Bart. Born at Roos in 1749. Was distinguished as
a mathematician, architect, banker, and M.P. for Beverley. Refused a
baronetcy from Mr. Pitt, but asked that it should be given to his
father, the rector of Roos.

ROBERT THEW. Born at Patrington in 1758. Was the son of an innkeeper,
and became engraver to the Prince of Wales.

WILLIAM WILBERFORCE. Born at Hull in 1759. Became M.P. for his native
town at the age of twenty-one, and was for twenty-eight years one of the
two M.P.’s for Yorkshire. Devoted his whole life and all his wealth to
obtaining the Abolition of Slavery in the British Colonies, the Act for
which was passed a few days after his death in 1833. _See pages

ADRIAN HARDY HAWORTH. Born at Hull in 1767. Became a renowned botanist
and entomologist, and formed a collection of 40,000 insects, the most
important of which are now in the British Museum.

SIR BENJAMIN F. OUTRAM, Kt., M.D. Born at Kilham about 1770. Entered the
Medical Naval Service, and became Medical Inspector of Naval Hospitals.
Was knighted in 1850.

SIR MARK MASTERMAN SYKES, Bart. Born at Sledmere in 1771. Was M.P. for
the city of York for thirteen years. Raised in 1802 two squadrons of
Yeomanry, known as the ‘East Yorkshire Wold Yeomanry.’ Was a great lover
of books, and formed at Sledmere ‘one of the finest private libraries in
England,’ which in 1824 was sold for £20,000.

SIR TATTON SYKES, Bart. Born at Sledmere in 1772. Devoted himself to
sheep-farming and the breeding of race-horses, and, by the introduction
of bone manure, wrought great improvements in the cultivation of the
Wolds. Was a fearless sportsman, and a true specimen of ‘The Fine Old
English Gentleman.’ _See pages 279–281._

THOMAS JACKSON. Born at Sancton in 1783. Was the son of a farm labourer,
and became ‘in spite of the adverse circumstances of poverty and lack of
education,’ a famous Wesleyan divine. Was twice elected President of the
Wesleyan Conference.

WILLIAM SPENCE, F.R.S. Born at Bishop Burton in 1783. Was an ‘old boy’
of Beverley Grammar School, and became one of the founders of Blundell,
Spence, & Co., Ltd., Hull. Was deeply interested in Entomology, and was
one of the authors of Kirby and Spence’s _Introduction to Entomology_,
the most popular natural history book of its day.

SIR JAMES ALDERSON, Kt., M.D., F.R.S. Born at Hull in 1795. Succeeded
his father as physician of the Hull Royal Infirmary, and became
President of the Royal College of Physicians. Was knighted by Queen
Victoria in 1869.

FREDERICK HUNTINGDON, M.D. Born at Hull in 1796. Was surgeon of the Hull
Royal Infirmary for thirty-four years, and is recorded on his monument
in Christ Church, Hull, as ‘one of Nature’s gentlemen, whose life was
passed in doing good.’

JAMES HALL. Born at Scorborough in 1801. Was a ‘model country squire ...
and a devoted upholder of English field sports,’ and held the Mastership
of the Holderness Hunt for thirty years.

SIR HENRY COOPER, Kt., M.D. Born at Hull in 1807. Was physician of the
Hull Royal Infirmary for twenty-seven years, and as Mayor of Hull was
knighted when Queen Victoria visited the town in 1854. Was the first
Chairman of the Hull School Board, and has his memory perpetuated in the
‘Sir Henry Cooper Schools.’

THOMAS EARLE. Born at Hull in 1810. Was a gold medallist of the Royal
Academy, and designed the statue of George the Fourth in Trafalgar
Square, London, and that of Queen Victoria in Pearson Park, Hull, beside
many others.

SIR JAMES HUDSON, K.C.B. Born at Bessingby in 1810. Entered the
Government Service and held many important posts in the United States,
South America and Italy. Was created a Knight Commander of the Bath in

HENRY DAWSON. Born at Hull in 1811. Was the son of poor parents, and
became a self-taught artist. Struggled hard against adversity, and
gained renown as a landscape painter only towards the end of his life.

HUGH EDWIN STRICKLAND. Born at Reighton in 1811. Was a notable student
of natural history, and became Reader in Geology at the Oxford
University. Was accidentally killed in a railway tunnel.

CHARLES HENRY BROMBY. Born at Hull in 1814. Was a son of the Vicar of
Holy Trinity, and an ‘old boy’ of the Hull Grammar School. Became the
first Bishop of Tasmania.

SIR JOSEPH HENRY GILBERT, LL.D. Born at Hull in 1817. Became a
distinguished scientist, and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his
discoveries in agricultural chemistry.

HUMPHRY SANDWITH, C.B., D.C.L. Born at Bridlington in 1822. Travelled
widely, became Inspector-General of Hospitals in the Russo-Turkish War,
and helped to defend the fortress of Kars. Was decorated by Queen
Victoria as a Companion of the Order of the Bath.

JOHN BACCHUS DYKES, Mus. Doc. Born at Hull in 1823. Was a grandson of
the Vicar of St. John’s, and became Minor Canon and Precentor of Durham
Cathedral. Composed more than two hundred hymn tunes, and was joint
editor of _Hymns, Ancient and Modern_. After his death, a public
subscription of £10,000 was raised in his honour to found musical

CHARLES ALFRED LEE, M.D. Born at Hull in 1825. Took a large share in the
support of the Hull Royal Infirmary and the Newland Orphan Homes, and,
on his death in January 1912, bequeathed £150,000 for the foundation of
‘Rest Houses’ for the aged poor.

SIR WILLIAM CHRISTOPHER LENG. Born at Hull in 1825. Was an ‘old boy’ of
the Hull Grammar School. Took up journalism after some years spent as a
chemist, and became the editor of the _Sheffield Daily Telegraph_. Was
knighted for his public services in 1887.

THE HON. SIR JOHN HALL, K.C.M.G. Born at Hull in 1824. Emigrated to New
Zealand, entered Parliament, and became Premier in 1879. Was decorated
by Queen Victoria as a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and
St. George.

JOHN ROBERT MORTIMER. Born at Fimber in 1825. Devoted more than fifty
years of a long life to the most thorough exploration of the earthworks
and burial mounds around Driffield, and did more than anyone else to
extend our knowledge of the early inhabitants of the East Yorkshire

Became, in 1867, senior partner in the shipping firm of Thomas Wilson,
Sons & Co., and built up the largest privately-owned fleet of steamships
in the world. Sat in Parliament as M.P. for his native town for
thirty-two years, and was raised to the peerage in 1906. _See pages

ARTHUR WILSON. Born at Hull in 1836. Became a partner in the firm of
Thomas Wilson, Sons & Co. in 1867. Was a great sportsman, and was M.F.H.
to the Holderness Hunt for twenty-five years. _See pages 280–283._

                    PRINTED AT BROWNS’ SAVILE PRESS,



  _Copyright of_


             Transcription of Royal Mail Schedule on p. 241

                  *       *       *       *       *

                                                        HULL, JULY 1787.

                             HULL AND YORK
                          _ROYAL MAIL-COACH_,
                             WITH A GUARD,
                             _WELL ARMED._

Sets out every Day about _Half-past Three_ in the Afternoon, from Mr.
_BAKER’s_, the _Cross-Keys_, in the _Market-Place_, _HULL_, and arrives
at Mr. _PULLEINE’s_, the Tavern in _YORK_, in SIX HOURS; returns from
thence about _Half-past Twelve_ at Night, or immediately after the
Receipt of the LONDON MAIL, and arrives at _HULL_ early in the Morning.

No more than _Four Inside_ and _Two Outside_ Passengers will be taken.

                 Fare, 10s. 6d. INSIDE; OUTSIDE 5s. 3d.
           Short Passengers Threepence-halfpenny _per_ Mile.

Parcels from 3d. to 6d. if above a Stone Weight One Halfpenny _per_

For Places or Entry of Parcels, apply to _Henry Cawood_, at the
Post-Office, _Hull_, Mr. _Pulleine_, _York_; Mr. _Bland_, _Beverley_,
and to Mr. _Gill_, King’s Arms, _Market-Weighton_, from those Towns
respectfully for _Hull_, _York_, _London_, _or_ _Edinburgh_.

Conveyance may be secured for Passengers and Parcels from _Hull_ to
_London_ (Fare 3l. 13s. 6d.) by the MAIL COACH, the whole Way, except
the Places be previously disposed of at _York_, in which Case Mr.
_Pulleine_ engages to send the Passengers forward in a Post-Chaise at
the same Expence and accompanying the MAIL COACH; the same from _Hull_
to _Edinburgh_, 3l. 13s. 6d. or any intermediate Places at Fares in the
Proportion of Distance.

 ⁂ The Proprietors give Notice, that they will not be accountable for any
                             Parcel exceeding
                        the Value of Five Pounds.


                  Transcription of Document on p. 248

                  *       *       *       *       *


                          OPENING OF THE LINE


                    ON THURSDAY, JULY THE 2nd, 1840

The Public are respectfully informed that this RAILWAY will be OPENED
at Selby, on WEDNESDAY, the First Day of July next, and that PASSENGERS
and PARCELS only will be conveyed on THURSDAY, July 2nd; thus presenting
a direct Railway Conveyance from Hull to Selby, Leeds, and York without
change of Carriage.


             AT TEN O’CLOCK, A.M.   AT SIX O’CLOCK, P.M.


The Trains from LEEDS and YORK, for HULL, will depart from those Places
at the same Hours; and Passengers and Parcels may be Booked through at
the Leeds, York, and Hull Stations. Arrangements are also in progress
for Booking Passengers to Sheffield, Derby, Birmingham, and London.


                       _First Class._  _Second Class._ _Third Class._
  Hull to Selby          4_s._ 6_d._     4_s._ 0_d._     2_s._ 6_d._
  Hull to York           8_s._ 0_d._     6_s._ 6_d._     4_s._ 6_d._
  Hull to Leeds          8_s._ 0_d._     6_s._ 6_d._     4_s._ 6_d._

No Fees are allowed to be taken by the Guards, Porters, or any other
Servants of the Company.

The Trains, both up and down, will call at the Stations on the Line,
viz.:—Hessle, Ferriby, Brough, Staddlethorpe, Eastrington, Howden, and

Arrangements for carrying Goods, Cattle, Sheep, &c., will be completed
in a short time, of which due Notice will be given.

                              By Order,

                                        GEORGE LOCKING, Secretary.

_Railway Office, Hull, June 24th, 1840._



                           Transcriber’s Note

The table of illustrations has the wrong page (p. 116) for the image on
p. 117, and has been corrected.

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and
are noted here.

   52.5     we have no means of knowing[.]                 Added.

   100.12   the records remain[s] to our day.              Removed.

   115.28   to hold this office[.] Thus                    Added.

   116.2    Edward III[.], so his son                      Added.

   118.16   Shakspeare’s [P/p]lay                          Replaced.

   134.2    themselves in populous towns[.]                Added.

   148.30   your dewte in ryngyng....[’]                   Added.

   187.31   of the building[.] They were a wealthy         Added.

   215.32   [s]ustained during the war.                    Added.

   227.24   Let the best fashioned and apparrell[ /e]d     Replaced.

   231.21   This was between the years 1703 and 1753[.]    Added.

   245.11   horses could not[,] contend against the wind.  Removed.

   296.1    and Strong Beer.[’]                            Added.

   324.20   teche all [scholers] thither                   _sic_

   330.14   to the inhabitants[’]                          Added.

   331.24   at Paris in 1552[./,] one of _Cicero_ printed  Replaced.

   332.33   Bridlington and Hull came into being[.]        Added.

   349.11   R[o/a]ised in 1802 two squadrons of Yeomanry   Replaced.

   350.22   Royal A[d/c]ademy                              Replaced.

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