11th August, 2019 Sunk Island postscript 4.

Another settlement/area of an earlier Sunk Island the evidence for which was studied by Boyle (Lost Towns of the Humber, s.p.b.s) was Frismersk. His map, reproduced above, locates it towards the eastern side of the early medieval Sunk Island. Etymologically the element ‘mersk’, Boyle argues, meant ‘marsh’, an opinion confirmed by Mawer, A. and Stenton, F.M. The Place-Names of the East Riding of Yorkshire and York (English Place-Name Soc., Vol. XIV, P. 24) and logical given the context of the site. References to Frismersk occur, mostly in the Chronica Monasterii de Melsa (Meaux Abbey Chronicles, s.p.b.s), during the 13th and 14th centuries and include the fact that Richard de Ottringham, in 1293, donated 18 acres of his meadow land in Frysmersk to help fund his chantry founded at Ottringham church. A further extract of 1311 refers to a ‘mill’ at Frismersk – many small ‘mills’ existed in medieval England, maybe some were early post (wind)mills but, I think, more often they were basic water mills, the possibility here being that a water wheel could have been driven by tidal action water diverted to a mill-race off the then channel leading to Patrington Haven. Potentially medieval mills in the Humberside region could have been built for one of three purposes, to grind corn, to reduce chalk blocks to lime or move drained water from the land. The most likely use for the 14th century mill at Frismersk was to power grindstones, this evidence of arable agriculture on the fertile estuarine silt of the medieval predecessor to Sunk Island.

In the genealogy of the famous Constable family of Holderness George Poulson (s.p.b.s) finds evidence of members of this family living at Frismersk across nine generations from the reign of Edward III.

In 1344, however, the inhabitants of Frismersk ‘by petition to the king and his council in parliament, exhibit and complain; that their lands were often overflowed by the tides of Humbre’.

(to be continued).