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Bulmer's Gazetteer 1892 - part 1

There is much divergency of opinion amongst the historians of the town as to the condition of the place, which existed upon this site, prior to the time of Edward I. Mr. J. J. Sheahan, in the second edition of his "History of Hull," endeavours to prove, by the testimony of certain ancient documents, that it was: "a piece of pasture land containing a few scattered cowsheds and pigcotes," whilst Mr. Charles Frost, an earlier and most painstaking historian, asserts that it was a place of considerable mercantile importance, called Wyk-upon-Hull. The discrepancy between these writers is caused by their holding different opinions as to the site of the ancient vill or town of Wyk, the latter believing it to be the identical site of Kingston, and the former that it lay at a considerable distance from that place.

Sometime during the 13th century the river Hull experienced a change in its course as it neared the Humber. Either as the result of accident or design - probably of both - the stream deserted its ancient bed, which gradually became warped up, and found its way through a new channel - now known as the "Old Harbour " - about half-a-mile further to the east. The Chronica Monasterii de Melsa states that William de Sutton and Benedict de Sculcoates gave to the abbey of Meaux the remaining part of Wyk (reliquam partem del Wyk) which was anciently enclosed on the south by the Humber, and on the west by the old Hull, the latter then dividing the wapentakes of Holderness and Harthill. The Chronicle then proceeds to state that "in process of time the new Hull grew to the east of Wyk, whilst the old river became so warped up as to be scarcely worthy of the name of a sewer; so that the new Hull, which was formerly Sayercryk became a great river, and the boundary between Holderness and Hart-hill."

The peninsula between the old and the new rivers was the site upon which the town of Kingston-upon-Hull was subsequently built, and Mr. Sheahan is of opinion that Wyk-upon-Hull stood on the old river, whilst Kingston was afterwards built upon the new river. Be this as it may, we can, now that the town has extended, claim that Hull stands upon the site of Wyk-upon-Hull, as well as upon the sites of the ancient townships of Myton, Sculcoates, Drypool, and Southcoates, whose history is now closely identified with that of the modern borough. These townships can boast of a respectable antiquity, being all mentioned in Domesday Book; and the importance of Wyk - which is variously described as Wyk, Le Wyk, Wyk-upon-Hull, and sometimes (and that as early as 1160) as Hull only - both as a town and place of trade is testified by the grant in 1278 of a market there on Thursday in each week, and an annual fair on the vigil of the Most Holy Trinity, and the 14 following days.

The oldest known document relating to the history of any part of Hull is a grant, without date, of lands "del Wyc de Mitune" made to the Abbey of Meaux, probably about the year 1160, by Matilda Camin, This document, which has escaped the ravages of time is preserved amongst the ancient muniments of the corporation. From this grant we learn, in addition to the lordship of Myton, there was also a town of the same name. A chapel existed here at a very early date, as a chapel-of-ease to Hessle, and about which serious complications arose between the vicars of Hessle and the monks of Meaux, which were eventually compromised, in 1204, by the latter paying to the former 100s., in satisfaction of his claim for tithes.

Anglo Norman - Middle Ages - Tudors - Stewarts - Georgians - Victorians

Genuki LogoTranscribed from
Bulmer's East Yorkshire, 1892.
checking and correction by Peter Johnson ©2001
scanning, OCR and formatting software by Colin Hinson.

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