15th October, 2019 County maps of East Yorkshire 9.

By taking an area of Bowen’s county map of the mid 18th century we can assess its value to students of area within the County. The above image (not the best) shows the area of the lower River Hull valley, Hull and ‘Hullshire’ and the south-eastern section of the Yorkshire Wolds. Incidentally county maps were produced to commission so Bowen was not required to portray any details south of the Humber Estuary, the fact that he did show Barton (albeit not very accurately) reinforces its connection to Hull and the trade of the Estuary. What Bowen does show is the distribution of mudflats across the Estuary at that time, these being potential hazards to navigation and it is interesting to compare this evidence with later and contemporary navigational charts of the Estuary (see Landmarks and Beacons in the Publications and Articles section of this website).

In the section of Bowen’s map shown above Bowen shows the border of ‘Hullshire’. This curiosity never was a ‘shire county’ proper but nevertheless remained until relatively recent times. Gillett and MacMahon (s.p.b., p. 57) record its creation/extension in 1447. Certainly part of the reason for this jurisdiction was to give Hull’s ruling elite control over the area from which they obtained their fresh water supply, that being the spring-line settlements along the base of the dip slope of the Yorkshire Wolds. Thus the parishes of Hessle, North Ferriby, Swanlnd, Westella, Kirkella Tranby Willerby, Wolfreton, Anlaby and Haltemprice (see map ‘Haltom Price’) were in Hullshire – this interestingly reflected in the modern situation where the City Council would like to extend Hull’s western boundary to incorporate these now suburbs but prejudice, and a preference for an East Yorkshire address, overcomes the logic of the idea for most suburban residents.

Bowen shows no evidence of any expansion of Hull’s built-up area beyond the medieval town walls but it is at this level that the scale of a county map can be unsatisfactory.

(to be continued)

13th October, 2019 County maps of East Yorkshire 8.

Incidentally Bowen’s 18th century county map shows both keels and slopes amongst the single-masted vessels sailing the Estuary – but I struggle to remember which is which.

The cluster of masts in the centre of the picture shows the ‘old harbour’, the western bank of the lower River Hull near its mouth, where the staithes, jetties and warehouses had been clustered for three to four hundred years. Inland of these and running parallel to the River Hull was High Street (medieval name Hull Street) where, at the time of Bowen’s map most of the merchants still lived. Presumably Bowen’s map preceded the building of the new dock (later Queens Dock), although not by much time. The crowding of vessels in the ‘old harbour’ remained for decades a problem for ‘three-masters’ wishing to access the Dock, for some details on the building programme of the new dock see Gillett and MacMahon A History of Hull (Hull University Press, 1989, p.229).

Bowen’s illustration also shows clearly the south blockhouse of the Citadel immediately east of the lower River Hull, this built in the 1580s to improve Hull’s defences as demanded by Henry VIII after visiting Hull twice in 1541 during his ‘Northern Progress’. The initial bridging of the River in the 1500s meant that no longer could the River be a satisfactory eastern defence for the town. As stated on the illustration the south Blockhouse had a ’12 gun battery’. The wording below the illustration describes at the Citadel a deep trench, a castle and ‘several sluices so contrived that when the floodgates are pulled up they can drown the country for three or four miles round’. The reference to ‘a castle’ is potentially misleading.

The west tower of St. Mary, Lowgate shows clearly, this having been re-built in 1697 (s.p.b.s). The ‘walk through’ at the base of this tower seen today was a product of 19th century improvement, a compromise which avoided St Mary’s losing its west tower for a second time.

(to be continued)

12th October, 2019 County maps of East Yorkshire 7.



Bowen’s county map of the mid 18th century, as previously stated, includes a number of informative illustrations. The one shown above shows Hull’s Estuary-front at that time. As well as showing that the south section of the 14th century town wall still then survived it also shows a number of boats and ships on the Humber Estuary. Of course this is not a photographic snap-shot but rather a representation of the variety of sailing craft that plied the Estuary, it being the highway of trade of the day. The cluster of passengers on the small, four-oar row-boat presumably are crossing the Estuary on one of the ferry-boats from, maybe, Barrow Haven or Goxhill Haven – it is unlikely to be the Barton ferry boat which a somewhat later illustration shows to have been a sailing craft (the Barton to Hull ferry service was first ordered by Edward III in the 1330s, its jetty at the Hull end being at Blackfriargate Staith).

Bottom right a three-masted Royal Navy battleship is shown with two decks of cannon and flying a royal ensign. Three other three-masted ships are shown, these presumably trading vessels for as written below the illustration ‘This town is inferior to few places in England at present (mid 18th century) for Trade being very well furnished with Shipping and all sorts of commodities’. The seven single-masted vessels must also have been involved in trade (although one might be the Barton ferry) remembering that Hull was a trans-shipment port with larger ships having crossed the North Sea unloading and small craft taking the goods inland on the network of navigable rivers to inland ports such as York, Beverley and Gainsborough.

(to be continued).

14th September, 2019 County maps of East Yorkshire 6.

Emanuel Bowen’s county map of East Yorkshire is well known for a number of reasons; it is detailed (for a county map) and is very elaborate – incorporating the image shown above and a fine panorama of Hull’s townscape as viewed from the Humber Estuary. I am not sure when this map was first published but Bowen was not long-lived, 1720 – 1767. Bowen was an engraver and publisher based in London and was appointed Engraver of Maps by George II. In the bottom left hand corner of the map are the words ‘To the Noble and Right Honorable  Arthur Ingram Viscount Irwin Lord Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire. This map is dedicated by his Lordship’s most obedient humble servant Eman: Bowen’, despite this deferential tone Bowen presumably had a workforce of surveyors as he produced other county maps also. Incidentally Bowen’s map is contemporary with the early surge of Parliamentary parish enclosures across eastern England and the Midlands so the surveying techniques and implements used by enclosure surveyors would also have been used in the research needed before a county map was produced.

The illustration that decorates the title (see above) is curious. Spilling-out from the mouth of the built structure appears to be the contents of a sewer or a culverted stream (on to a beach?). The built structure is ‘classical’ in style. To the left of the orifice lies a wicker fish trap with a couple of pike-like fish (fresh water fish) lying alongside. To the right a lady with a wicker basket watches a man working a very large cheese press. Is this image allegorical, informative or artistic license?

In the top right-hand corner of Bowen’s map is a smaller copy of the main map, apparently to make clear its ‘several divisions’ (wapontakes – s.p.b.s), this odd because the wapontake names and boundaries are clearly shown on the main map.

(to be continued).

9th September, 2019 County maps of East Yorkshire 5.

The third map being considered (see above) was compiled by Wenceslaus Hollar (well known in this area for his engraving showing a bird’s-eye view of Hull, 1640), probably in the 1640s and, allegedly, produced on the orders of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil Wars. It is entitled ‘The Bishop=ricke of Durram and Cumberland, Westmoreland, Yorke=shire, Lancast=shire, and parte of Linconshire’. In covering much of northern England the detail in East Yorkshire is compromised. Communities are shown by little circles plus a stylised symbol of a cluster of houses to denote the larger communities at Hull, Hedon, Howden, Bridlington, Beverley, Pocklington and Kilham in the East Riding. Rivers are located very prominently but, like in the two previous county maps (s.p.b.s), higher land, i.e. the Yorkshire Wolds, is only casually identified by hill symbols in the highest areas of the Wolds. Again, coastal features lack precision with Flamborough Head having a strange shape and no mudflats or reference to Sunk Island shown in the Humber Estuary.

Principal roads are shown on the map but these would still have been maintained by the system of parish responsibility created under Tudor legislation, and pre-date the development of turnpikes. The only principal road shown in East Yorkshire is that between Hull and York and passing through Cottingham before crossing the southern Wolds to Hotham and Bishop Burton and on across the Vale of York south of Pocklington. No large woodland areas are located in East Yorkshire such as those identified south and north of York, south of Leeds and on Tees-side. On Humberside it seems to have been the first map to have distinguished between the two Ferribys by the terms ‘North’ and ‘South’.

5th September, 2019 County maps of East Yorkshire 4.

As may be seen from the extract shown above Robert Morden’s county map as reproduced in Gibson’s edition of Camden’s Britannia, 1695 is very similar, if not identical in some respects, to the county map of 1645 already studied (s.p.b.s). For example, settlements are located by a stylised church symbol with the name nearby and Morden’s depiction of the coastline appears to be a carbon-copy of the 1645 map. Morden identifies the wapontakes (and divisions of Harthill wapontake) but does not clearly define their boundaries. As with the 1645 map, the source of the River Derwent is shown by Morden to be just north-west of Filey, this stream and the River Derwent itself forming the northern and western county boundary except that at Stamford Bridge the county boundary crossed south-west overland to the River Ouse just south of York, the Ouse then forming the county boundary to the Humber Estuary.

To focus on a couple more of Morden’s details. Enclosed parklands are shown at Swine in Holderness (?), Burstwick in Holderness, Risby, Leconfield, Wressle and Church Eaton both beside the River Derwent and at Everingham.

Morden’s map seems to be moving towards some settlement name standardisation, for example, he writes Pretorium now Patrington, Godmundingham now Goodmanham and Petravia now ‘Beverly’ – but he gives no update for Wighton al Delgovitia (Market Weighton).

Bridlington and Bridlington ‘Key’ were then two distinct places (see David Neave’s book on the History of Bridlington).

‘Gole’ (Goole) was then a village (no port before the 1820s) and in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

As with all map evidence the closer they are studied the more can be gleaned, they are a snap-shot in time.