6th July, 2019 Reed’s Island, Ravenser (Odd), Sunk Island 8.

Firstly an apology for short ‘break in transmission’ as have ben preoccupied with issues related to problems in selling my house.

The photo above, taken from current front bedroom window, shows, in the foreground, the on-going work related to the local ‘Flood Alleviation Scheme’ whereby a reserve clay bank is being created just inland of the main clay-bank mostly constructed in the early 1950s. This is the Environment Agency’s scheme to reduce the flood risk in this section of the Humber Estuary. Incidentally, work has also started on constructing the preferred flood defence in the area of St. Andrew’s Quay, west Hull, here not a clay bank. As regards the new clay bank currently under construction a great mound of clay, light grey in colour, has been transported to the site as the geologists decided that just digging a trench and mound across the site would not provide a viable flood defence, the local estuarine clays being too easily undermined by the action of flood waters.

This brings me back to the successive clay-bank flood defences of Sunk Island (s.p.b.), created to be the first stage in the reclamation of the Estuarine silts normally covered at high tides by brackish water. Unlike the current project at South Ferriby the late medieval/early modern land-reclaimers can surely not have brought to the site ‘special clay’ from a distant source. So the assumption must be that trenches were dug and the silt mounded alongside. Such work would have to be done at times of low tide and therefore could not have been confined to ‘9 to 5’ work. Also it must have been very hard work given the limited hand-tools available as well as being extremely muddy, even dangerous.

So who would have done it? There is evidence in the Meaux Abbey Chronicle that, at least at one point before the early 15th century, day labourers were employed, the funding provided by the Abbey. The workforce attracted by the offer of  extra earnings must have come from the once coastal villages of south Holderness – Keyingham, Ottringham and Patrington.

(To be continued).