1500's and Henry VIII

Hull had no part in the rebellions during the reign of Henry VII.

1509 - Henry VIII came to the throne

1512, James IV. of Scotland broke his truce with Henry, and invaded with a powerful army, Sir Richard Howard, Lord High Admiral of England (who was sent to the north with a numerous fleet), sailed up the Humber, and came to Hull, where he took in numbers of volunteers, together with a large quantity of arms and provisions. Soon after was fought the battle of Flodden Field, in which the Scots were totally routed.

1514, Henry granted the manors of Hull, Myton, and Tupcoates (late the property of the De la Poles) to Sir William Sydney, one of the victorious commanders at Flodden Field; but the later the King became lord of these manors again.

1517, the Rev. John Riplingham, President of the Beverley College, built a fish-shambles in Fish-street, Hull, at his own expense, and soon afterwards founded an Hospital in Vicar-lane for twenty poor people.

1527 the tide rose to such a height, as to overflow the banks, and much damage was done thereby, both to the town and to the adjacent country. Even in the most elevated parts of the town the waters rose at least one foot, and the goods that were lodged in low rooms and warehouses, were either destroyed or very materially injured; all the low grounds, for many miles round, were laid under water, and many farmers were deprived of all their stock.

1534, The Vicar of North Cave appears to have become an early convert to the principles of the Reformation; for in a sermon which he preached in Holy Trinity Church, Hull, he openly espoused them. This sermon, however, brought the preacher into trouble. He was accused and convicted of heresy, and then recanted. By way of penance, he walked on a Sunday round Holy Trinity Church, barefooted, in his shirt, carrying a large faggot in his hand to denote the punishment he was thought to have deserved; and went through the same ceremony on the next market day, round the Market-place. This subject opens upon us the period of the Reformation.

1535, The Dissolution of Religious Houses, commenced and Hull's religious institutions fell in the King's first batch, their revenues being under £200. a year each. The monasteries of Hull and its county were the White Friary, St. Austin's Friary, the Carthusian Monastery, and the Priories of Ferriby and Haltemprice.

A German monk called Martin Luther, wrote a book of controversy, entitled, "A Defence of the Seven Sacraments, by King Henry VIII. The Pope and Sacred College granted him the distinguished title of King Defender of the Faith. Thus it is clear that Henry was originally a strenuous advocate of the ancient faith; but the Pope's refused to grant him a divorce from his lawful wife, Catherine.

1534, Henry established the King's claim of Supreme Head of the Church and turned his thoughts to the religious and charitable institutions of the country. Most of the larger monasteries were dissolved in 1540, and surrendered to the King and the foundations, created by our forefathers, for the benefit of religion, learning, and the relief of the poor, lost stability and were laid at the mercy of the King.

The monks were historians, the abbots excellent landlords and in general they were remarkable for an universal hospitality. In order that the suppression of the monasteries might be received with less concern, Henry made use of an artifice. He spread a rumour that the kingdom was going to be invaded at the instigation of the Pope and Cardinal Pole. He confirmed this report, by going in person to visit the coasts, and commanding forts and redoubts to be erected in several places. He likewise gave strict orders to fit out a strong fleet, and keep the troops in readiness to march upon the first notice. The King's intent, in all these proceedings, was to convince the people that the parliament would be obliged to levy heavy taxes to resist the pretended invasion; but that he, acquiring a large revenue by the suppression of the monasteries, would have no occasion for such subsidies. Pauperism soon flooded the country; and the King, instead of diminishing the national burdens, demanded compensation for the expenses he incurred in the reformation of religion!

1540, By the suppression of the greater monasteries, the King gained a revenue of more than £100,000. a year. Besides the rents of the lands belonging to the monasteries, Henry received very large sums arising from the church-ornaments, plate, goods, lead, bells, and other materials, which he thought it not proper to have valued at all. The ill gotten wealth which Henry had obtained from the suppressed abbeys, friaries, nunneries, and monasteries  was very soon lavished away.

There were yet in the kingdom several colleges, free chapels, chantries, hospitals, and fraternities; and as Henry had demanded a subsidy, parliament, generously gave them all to him; with all their sites, buildings, riches, lands and possessions, amounting to many thousand pounds a year.

The suppression of the monasteries, and the appropriation of the property of the Church and the patrimony of the poor to " the King's Majesty's use;" the turning out of so many priests, monks, nuns, sick and aged people, to starve, or beg their bread, so exasperated the people of the northern counties, who retained a strong attachment to the ancient doctrines that they rebelled.

The King issued a proclamation, in which he told the rebels that they ought no more to pretend to give judgment with regard to government, than a blind man with regard to colours" And we, (he added) with our whole council, think it right strange that ye, who are but brutes and inexpert folks, do take upon you to appoint us, who be meet or not for our council."

In 1537 the rebellion broke out in the north and east of Yorkshire, headed by Sir Francis Bigot and others. The rebels marched in a body towards Hull, but Sir Ralph Ellerker and Sir John Constable, who resided in the neighborhood, hearing of their intention of attacking the place, collected some forces, threw themselves into the town, shut the gates, and determined to defend it to the uttermost. Scarce were they entered into the town than the rebels appeared before it, and being exasperated that their design of securing it was defeated, they revenged themselves on the surrounding wind mills, all of which they set on fire. After this effort of revenge they laid close siege to the town for several days, and in very haughty and menacing language demanded entrance. The garrison, however, despising their threats, gave them an absolute denial, and after some fruitless attempts to reduce the fortress, they raised the siege and retreated. Mr. John Harrison, the Mayor, Sir Ralph Ellerker, and Sir John Constable, with a strong party of the townsmen, pursued them, fell upon their rear, slew several, and took many prisoners.

The rebels had no sooner raised the siege than Sir Robert Constable and some others, who had favored the insurrections, made use of a stratagem, and entering the town disguised as market people, yet secretly armed, they seized the gates, let in the remainder of their followers, and secured the town. Sir Robert assumed the title of Governor, sent ships into foreign parts for forces to assist him, imprisoned such persons as he suspected to be unfavorable to his designs, and provided and laid up stores of provisions, ammunition, and whatever else was necessary to maintain and support them against a siege. Thus he continued master of the fortress for about a month, but receiving intelligence that his partisans in the country were either slain, dispersed, or taken prisoners, by the King's forces, his fortitude entirely abandoned him, and he and the most faithful of his party exhibited great distraction and consternation. The loyal magistrates and inhabitants of Hull seized a favourable opportunity of recovering the town, fell upon the rebel Governor and his unfortunate adherents in the middle of the night, and quite overpowered and secured them. The Duke of Norfolk was commissioned to examine and try those unhappy prisoners at Hull, and many of them were executed, several being hanged and quartered. Sir Robert Constable, as being their chief, was hung in chains over the Beverley Gate.

Lord D'Arcy, Robert Aske, and many other leaders in the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion were taken, condemned, and executed. D'Arcy was beheaded on Tower Hill, in London; the Abbots of Fountains, Jervaulx, and Rivaulx, and the Prior of Bridlington, and others, suffered at Tyburn; Aske was suspended from a tower at York, probably Clifford's Tower; and seventy-four of the officers were hung on the walls of Carlisle. Thus was the insurrection, or series of insurrections, effectually quelled, and Henry's authority proportionately increased. Muskets are said to have been first used in this rebellion.

The King's anger being satiated with the blood of the chief rebels, he issued out a general pardon to all the northern counties, excepting, however, twenty-two persons, most of whom were taken, and actually suffered in one place or another.

In this year (1537) the Corporation of Hull, fearing that the King might be tempted to seize the Corporation plate (which was worth several hundred pounds sterling, in the same manner in which he had served the religious houses a little before), unanimously agreed to dispose of it by public auction, and to apply the money so raised, to defray the expenses of their representatives in parliament, to repair the Church of the Holy Trinity, and to other public and necessary uses.

1541, The King came to the north, in August, the royal cavalcade was received at the Beverley Gate by the Mayor and Aldermen in their scarlet robes. The usual formalities over, the procession proceeded, amidst the acclamations of the populace, to the Manor Hall, then the Mayor's residence. After remaining in Hull three days, the royal personages and their courtiers set out for York, where Henry stayed for twelve days, in expectation of seeing his nephew, James V., King of Scotland, whom he had summoned to attend him, in order to settle, if possible, a lasting peace.On the 29th of September, Henry, disappointed and enraged at the refusal of the Scottish King to meet him, left York abruptly, and that night the royal visitants lodged at Leconfield, the seat of the Earl of Northumberland. The next day, being that appointed for the election of a new Mayor, the inhabitants of Hull, having no idea that their Sovereign was so near, were assembled in the Town Hall in order to proceed to the election, when a messenger announced that his Majesty intended that day to dine in the town. The people were surprised at this unexpected intelligence, and on Mr. Thomas Dalton being suddenly elected to the office, he, fearing he might have some difficulty in discharging the duties, not only refused to stand, but immediately left the hall, and proceeded, with many others, to meet the King. On his arrival in the town, Henry, being informed of the matter, ordered the Corporation to re-assemble, and to proceed to a fresh election; he commanded farther, that Sir John Elland, Knt. (who had served the office three times before), should be nominated, with Mr. Dalton and his opponent, as a candidate for the office, which being done, the King honored Sir John with his vote, who was, after so open an interposition of the Monarch, no doubt unanimously elected. His Majesty immediately took his sword from his side, and presented it to the Mayor elect, in honour of the Corporation at large, and the remaining part of the day was spent in feasting and recreation. This sword is still in the possession of the Corporation.

The next morning the King took an accurate view of the town, and having shaken off all submission to Rome, he was somewhat jealous of certain parties; therefore, for the greater strength and security of this important place, he gave orders for erecting a Castle, and two strong Blockhouses, and other fortifications, on the east side of the river Hull. He also ordered that the bridge now called the North Bridge be built, so as to have ready access to these fortifications from the town; and among the other improvements which he commanded to be made, was the cutting of a new canal for fresh water from Newland to Hull, and the putting in thorough repair, as well as fortifying, the stately Manor Hall, formerly called Suffolk Palace, The manor of Hull being the property of the Crown, the King defrayed the expense of these alterations. About this time Henry caused castles and other defences to be erected with all possible speed in all needful places throughout the realm.

The story goes that when Henry was in Hull, hearing that the Lord Wake of Cottingham had a beautiful wife, he sent a message to his lordship, that he would the next day visit him. Lord Wake was afraid the King would take his wife and probably put him in prison so went from Baynard Castle, in the dead of night, with his wife on his arm, and gave orders to his steward to fire the castle. In the morning nothing remained of it but a black pile of smouldering ruins. The tidings were conveyed to Henry, that the castle had been consumed by accidental flames; and the King exhibited his sympathy for the unfortunate nobleman, by offering to give him the sum of £2,000. towards rebuilding it: an offer which his lordship politely declined. It is very likely a myth.

After remaining five days in Hull, King Henry and his retinue crossed the Humber to Barrow-haven, whence they proceeded to Thornton Abbey, in Lincolnshire. The monks met the royal party in solemn procession, and entertained them splendidly in that very monastery which, a very short time after, Henry obliged them to relinquish; and commanded even the edifice itself, one of the most splendid buildings in Lincolnshire, to be laid in ruins.

Soon after the King's arrival in London, he appointed Sir Richard Long to be Governor of Hull and for Michael Stanhope to be his lieutenant, with power to levy forces whenever occasion required. These appointments were intended for the greater security and defence of the town, till the Castle and fortifications were finished.

In 1545 Henry suppressed the colleges, chapels, chantries, hospitals, and fraternities, and seized their revenues. Amongst the hospitals whose foundations were dissolved at Hull, four of them, namely Gregg's and Riplingham's Hospitals, the Trinity House, and the Charter House, were refounded in the succeeding reign.

Towards the latter end of his reign, Henry became so enormously corpulent that he could neither support the weight of his own body, nor remove without the aid of machinery into the different apartments of his palace.  An inveterate ulcer in the thigh, which had more than once threatened his life, and which now seemed to baffle all the skill of his surgeons, added to the irascibility of his temper; and in the latter part of the year 1546, his health was rapidly declining. The King expressed his sorrow for the sins of his past life, and said he trusted in the mercies of Christ, which were greater than his sins. He died at Westminster, on Friday, the 28th of January, 1547, in the 56th year of his age, and 38th of his reign, leaving behind him the terrible character, that throughout his long reign he neither spared man in his anger, nor woman in his lust.