Monthly Archives: April 2021

Worcester break.

Have had a ten-day break based near Worcester, hence the break in service from the Views of the Humber Estuary theme, so will try a run of daily short blogs remembering my stay. The ‘cottage’ is actually in the village of Hallow two miles north of Worcester but the footpath beside the River Severn can be walked into the centre of Worcester in an hour. A lane from the ‘cottage’ leads down to the River Severn with the Camp House pub on the river-bank, this an old and interesting building with no mod-cons and with geese, peacocks, ducks and the occasional swan as entertainment. Given reasonable weather most customers sit outside, although their numbers have for the last year+ been small.
A few hundred yards upstrem and just visible from this point is an island in the River with an angled weir between the island and the bank on the east side and a lock built into the narrower channel on the west side of the island (see photo above). This lock would have carried commercial traffic up and down the navigable River back in the day but now mostly pleasure craft, narrow-boats and others. This is the first lock downstream of Stourport upon Severn, the next downstream being Diglis lock on the south side of Worcester.
Visited Stourport upon Severn, again, weather was good this time. A fascinating place with a canal basin and a complicated set of narrow canal locks, this being at the confluence of the navigable River Stour and the River Severn and a hub for regional canals and navigable rivers. Beside all this canal stuff and associated historic canal buildings is an ‘all year round’ funfair, like a mini Hull Fair, and then a park, playing fields and riverside walk. It has everything for all ages.

Views of the Humber Estuary 4.

The photo. above shows part of the middle reaches of the Humber Estuary looking north from the mouth of Barrow Haven on the south bank. The large white building in the distance is the Arco distribution warehouse beside the A63 and the main rail-line west from Hull, the Humber Bridge is out of the picture to the left. Occasionally a ship anchors at the side of Barrow Haven, the cargo usually being Scandinavian timber. The photo. was taken standing beside the single-track rail-line carried by a bridge over the Haven, this line being the Barton to Cleethorpes line.
In early October 1541 a royal ship (maybe more than one) carrying Henry VIII and his then wife Catherine Howard sailed into Barrow Haven they having been ferried across the Humber Estuary from the king’s second stay in Hull. Two Navy ships were deployed to escort the crossing. This must have been quite a scene given the constricted nature of the river (different sections of this river in the parish of Barrow have different names, it is a spring-line stream from the base of the Lincs. Wolds, a mile or so inland it passes around Barrow Blow Wells wetland nature reserve administered by the Linc.s Trust for Nature Conservation and downstrem of this there use to be commercial water cress production). National records show that Catherine was entertained at Barrow Hall while Henry went on to visit Thornton Abbey which was still functioning as such, despite the Dissolution of the Monasteries, as it had been converted to a college of secular canons. Later in the 1540s the Abbey was dissolved early in the reign of Edward VI.
There is a good example of ‘don’t believe all you read’ related to this. There was a long-held opinion that Henry went on from Thornton to visit Grimsby. He didn’t, he went on to stay at the moated manr house at Kettleby between Brigg and Bigby (the moated site survives, now with a later farmhouse). I am indebted to Di. Plumb of Barton for researching how this mis-information came about. One day will need to write-up the story.

Views of the Humber Estuary 3.

Even by the 1560s (s.p.b.) there would have been far more ships sailing up and down the Humber Estuary and along the East Yorkshire coast than might be seen today, but, of course, much smaller in size. Burleigh’s map shows this by the many ships shown on his map (s.p.b.), most of them three-masted rather than just the single masts of the keels and sloops of later times. The coastal coal-trade, for example, was to remain important until the early 19th century with the development of a national rail network and the opening-up of coalmines in West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire. Other bulk cargos were also moved by boat/ship far more readily than by road until the coming of the railways. Indeed, alongwith Elizabeth I’s resolve to extend her father’s Navy, the purpose of early national maps such as Burleigh’s was as much navigational as terrestrial. Churches apart, the above section of Burleigh’s map shows more detail in the Humber Estuary than on the land of Holderness to the north. Settlements and private parks are shown but representations of the topography are minimal.
A question that might be asked is how did the cartographers in Burleigh’s employ know about the extent and size of the siltbanks/mudbanks in the lower Estuary? Today the equivalent areas hardly break the surface even at low tide. Of course the Cherry Cobb Sands and Sunk Island areas are now ‘dry land’, no longer mudbanks as shown on Burleigh’s map.It may be that they used a plumb-line to get lots of readings in a given area but this would have had to be done at low-tide or soon before and after. Of course, it may be that, for whatever reason, in the mid 16th century the mud-banks were visible, at least on an ebb tide.
By the mid 16th century the deep-water route to Hull was critical, Hedon had never achieved the staus envisaged in the 13th century, the trade of Barton and South Ferriby had declined, Ravenser Odd was no more and Immingham and Goole were as yet agricultual hamlets.

Views of the Humber Estuary 2.

The picture above shows part of the first known navigational chart of the Humber compiled by Lord Burleigh, or more likely his workforce, c.1560. It clearly shows the coastline of south Holderness before the reclamation of Cherry Cobb Sands and Sunk Island – in doing so it shows the Humber Estuary lapping-up to the southern edge of the villages of Patrington, Ottringham and Keyingham with a ship having navigated a channel up to the ‘port’ at Patrington (St. Patrich’s church shown with the needle spire topping the crossing tower of the church). It also shows the deep-water channel crossing the Estuary diagonally (lower centre), later to be called ‘Hull Roads’ and an important factor in explaining the rise in importance of the port at Kingston-upon-Hull.
Lord Burleigh’s map focussed on the East Riding which is why little detail is shown for north Linconshire except for a representation of the church of St. James’, Grimsby and the part late-Saxon church at Clee (inland from Cleethorpes today). In fact Burleigh’s map is very instructive in terms of the history of regional church buildings, he did not have a standard icon for parish churches but usually showed them, albeit on a very small scale, as they then were. Further up the Holderness coast are shown some communities since lost to coastal erosion.

Recently did, for the first time in ages, a reasonable walk; a circular route from Paull walking the south bank of Hedon Haven up to the underpass of the bypass, followed some municipal parkland with mature hawthorn hedges just coming into leaf (as at Oak Road playing fields), over the old main road and through to the north side of town following a green corridor. Then to Market Green, round St. Augustine’s church to Market Place (one stall only but still lock-down). Out of town south and followed Thorngumbald Drain to the relatively new clay-bank of the area of managed retreat east of Paull. To Paull church, back to the Humber bank and so to the end in Paull village. Will say bit more about this next time.

Views of the Humber Estuary.

Today’s photo. shows a view across the Estuary from the south bank. This particular point along the coast is known as Chowder Ness, a curious name, its etymology being unknown to me. As along much of the south bank, the coastline here is a man-made sea bank and ‘promenade’. I think this is one of the points where blocks of Scunthorpe slag have been bonded together to create the sea-wall, much of this work having been done after the 1953 floods along the North Sea coast. The waters on this south bank bend in the Estuary are particularly turbulent both at ebb tide and flow, this may explain the wooden structure just off-shore which seems to have been a support for a navigational light. I don’t think it still functions as such but, although the deep-water channels change over time, shipping travelling up-Estuary on the incoming tide pass this point very close to the shore and arking round the coast of South Ferriby are anchored a number of metal green and red light-boats. In the middle distance can be seen the north tower of the Humber Bridge, Hessle foreshore and the lower dip-slope of the Yorkshire Wolds.

AlthoughI will continue the Views of the Humber theme for a while I have been taking stock of my blogs over the last three years and have identified which ‘runs’/titles might best be expanded to extended articles, a project which will be long-term one but which will present the finished products in a more acceptable and available form. The first one I’m about to start is entitled ‘Hull’s Historic Communities’ which incorporates blogs between 4/02/2020 and 15/07/2020, a total of 45 blogs (my longest run).

Monastic History Hull and East Riding 20.

The final location in this series on monastic history is the site of Hull’s Carmelite Friary. The photo. above shows the excavated site of Hull’s Beverley Gate, one of four gates in the late-medieval town wall, with Whitefriargate street stretching east. The name Whitefriargate comes directly from the position of the Carmelite Friary, ‘white’ from the neutral colour of the friar’s cloaks and ‘gate’ derived from the Scandinavian word for street or way. The friary complex was immediately right of this point, just through Beverley Gate, with the friary church being the first prominent building encountered on passing through the gate and into the town. The fact that the name of the street endured across the centuries after the Dissolution might support the notion that in Hull the friars had been well respected. Hollar’s plan of Hull, 1640/’41 shows Beverley Gate centre bottom and the outline of what had been the site of the Carmelite Friary with a few scattered buildings (maybe the surviving from the friary complex), but shows no surviving friary church, this suggesting that the church’s fabric had been plundered across the preceeding century. Ken MacMahon estimates that there might have been just eight Carmelite friars in Hull at the time of the Dissolution (1539).
The Carmelite Order of friars has continued through to the present day, both abroad and at home since Catholic Emancipation. The friars refer to each-other as ‘brothers’ and a prior is described as ‘a leader among equals’. The Order continues under the umbrella of the Roman Catholic Church.
In the Conclusion to her book, The End of Medieval Monasticism in the East Riding of Yorkshire (see early blogs in this section) Claire Cross states that most ‘male religious’ eventually secured priest positions and ‘integrated themselves into the secular church’. That stated two Hull Carthusian ex-monks did migrate to the continent and joined ‘Counter-Reformation catholocism’. She concludes by stating that few ‘romantic ruins’ such as those in West and North Yorkshire survive in the East Riding. As seen above (s.p.b.s) nothing physically remains of most monastic sites while at Bridlington and Swine part of the church remains, as does the prior’s lodgings at Watton and the Blackfriar’s priory ay Beverley.