Hull 1601 – 1641 – The Stuarts
1601, On Sunday, the 23rd of August, Lord Burleigh, her Majesty’s Lieutenant and Lord President of the North, accompanied by many knights and gentlemen, visited Hull, and dined with the Mayor. They were entertained with a display of fireworks in the Market-place, an old cannon, stuffed with fireworks, burst into several pieces, by which four men were killed on the spot, and several others dangerously wounded, some of whom died soon after.
1602, In February an earthquake, was felt in different parts of the country, and caused much damage, was felt in Hull, but nobody was injured.
1603, On Thursday, 24th of March, Queen Elizabeth I died at her Manor of Richmond, in Surrey, in the 70th year of her age, and 45th of her reign, and was buried in Westminster, in the Chapel of Henry VII., where a monument was erected to her memory.
1603, James I the first of the Stuarts and James VI of Scotland came to the throne.
1612 Eobert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, Lord Treasurer of England, and High Steward of this borough died and his successor was Thomas, Lord Ellesmere, then Lord Chancellor of the kingdom.
1622 copper farthings and tokens were coined at Hull’s and candles were ordered to be hung out in the streets at night.
1622, John Taylor, the ” water-poet,” visited Hull , and wrote a description of the town in verse. He was entertained at the King’s Head Inn, in High-street. ” In it he alludes to the well known line in the beggar’s litany “From Hell, Hull, and Halifax, good Lord deliver us”. “You have eaten some Hull cheese” ” You are drunk.” Hull was famous for strong ale.
The Beggars Litany
The proverb appears to have taken its origin from the severe measures adopted by the magistrates of Hull and Halifax, at various times.
1625, Charles I, came to the throne in his twenty-fifth year.
He saw himself in possession of a flourishing kingdom his right to that kingdom undisputed and strengthened by the alliance of the French King, whose sister he had recently married.
James had bequeathed to him debts amounting to £700,000. The accession, and marriage too, of the new King, had involved him in extraordinary expenses. He issued a Commission to raise money by borrowing of such persons as were able to lend. At that time the Corporations of the maritime towns received orders to provide a certain number of armed vessels, in order to equip a fleet. Many of the seaports complied with this request with great reluctance. On this occasion Hull provided three ships to transport 1,350 men, and the townspeople, we are told, readily obeyed the royal order.
1627, The fleet which consisted of about 100 ships, having on board 7,000 soldiers, sailed from Portsmouth on the 7th of June, and were meant to be sent against the King of Spain.
To the surprise of almost all his subjects, the King, sent the fleet, under the command of the Duke of Buckingham, to La Rochelle, a town in France. Not long after, his Majesty sent a letter to this town, requiring the inhabitants to fit out ships of war against the privateers which then infested these coasts, and did great damage to the trade of this, as well as many other places.
1628, The Lord Lieutenants of all the counties of England had orders to put each province and district into a posture of defence. They had to see that all able men, from sixteen to sixty years of age, were enrolled so as to be ready whenever they were called for. On this occasion the town of Hull furnished, its proportionate share of soldiers, powder, match, lead, pick-axes, carriages, ammunition, and provisions.
A tax, called tonnage and poundage, was levied by the King, on all merchant ships and goods, without the consent of parliament, as a right belonging to the Crown. In London, many of the merchants refused to pay this tax, alleging that it could only be granted by the parliament. For persisting in this refusal, some merchants had their goods seized and were thrown into prison after which the merchants in Hull paid without complaint.
The parliament, on its being assembled, remonstrated against the King’s proceedings, and voted that whosoever should advise the taking of tonnage and poundage, not granted by parliament, or that should pay the same, shall be accounted enemies to the kingdom. This protestation was made on the last day of their sitting, and whilst it was being voted the door of the House of Commons was locked, and the Speaker was forcibly held in his chair.
During this extraordinary proceeding the King had come to the upper house. He sent for the Sergeant-at-arms, who was not permitted to obey; he then ordered the Usher of the black rod to deliver a message from his own mouth; and that officer having been refused permission to enter the House of Commons, was commanded by the King to break open the door; but at that very moment the Commons adjourned to the 10th of March. The King, incensed at these proceedings, ordered the arrest of several of the most violent of the opposition members, and dissolved the parliament without sending for the Commons. The opponents of the King now charged him, his ministers, and judges, with a design to trample under foot the liberties of the people; and Charles was firmly convinced that they had conspired to despoil him of the rightful prerogatives of the Crown. The parliament had disobeyed, thwarted, and insulted him repeatedly, so he resolved to govern for the future without the intervention of the parliament. And this intention he announced by proclamation. “We have showed (he said) by our frequent meeting our people, our love to the use of parliaments; yet the late abuse having for the present driven us unwillingly out of that course, we shall account it presumption for any to prescribe any time unto us for parliaments, the calling, continuing, and dissolving of which is always in our power; and shall be more inclinable to meet in parliament again, when our people shall see more clearly into our interests and actions.”* This measure served only to aggravate the discontents of the people, who justly considered many of his actions as the exertions of arbitrary power.
1630, the King sent forth a proclamation against vile insinuations, and lying, treasonable and rebellious reports, and some time after he sent orders to the towns that the inhabitants should have a watchful eye over all factious persons, and take care of the safety of their towns. At this time the walls and blockhouses of Hull were repaired, and the ditches were cleansed.
Charles governed without a parliament; and not only took no pains to allay, but he rather inflamed that feverish irritation which the illegality of his past conduct had excited in the minds of his subjects. Nor was he ignorant of their dissatisfaction; no, he saw it, and despised it; and, believing firmly in the divine right of Kings, he doubted not that he would be able to bear down the force of public opinion by the mere weight of the royal prerogative.
1635, the coasts of England were very much infested by pirates from different parts, including the Dunkirkers, and some even from Sallee and Algiers, who, every summer, committed great depredations, seizing ships, carrying off prisoners, and injuring the trade of the nation. The Dutch and French mariners, too, had assumed a right to fish on our coasts, a proceeding which occasioned much controversy. Charles determined to fit out a fleet, and end the dispute by force, and for this purpose, and acting on the advice of his Attorney-General Noy, he imposed a tax upon his subjects, under the denomination of Ship-money. Though all the judges declared this tax to be customary and legal, yet the people of Hull and the entire nation murmured at it, and paid it with reluctance, considering it illegal, because it had not the sanction of parliament.
This tax was the chief cause of the King’s ruin but aided with this tax, however, Charles fitted out a fleet of forty sail of ships, under the command of the Earl of Lindsey, and a squadron of twenty ships, under the Earl of Essex. This fleet very effectually scoured the narrow seas, and protected the trade of England; and the merchants, whose commercial interests had of late so greatly suffered, submitted to pay the tax which they disliked.
1635, In July the plague came to Hull again and created such terror, that a large number left their houses, and fled into the country; the gates were kept continually shut, except when provisions were brought in. Assemblies and meetings, as well as religious ones were forbidden; schools were discontinued; and the place exhibited a scene of horror, silence, and despair. The town being still full of infected people in the succeeding spring, and lent approaching, the Mayor and Aldermen thought it necessary to petition the Archbishop of York to grant license to the sick to eat flesh meat during that season, for their nourishment and more speedy recovery. His Grace, in answer to their petition, condoled with them in their great affliction, stating that he did not know what power he had to grant such an indefinite license; but that ” in all cases of sickness the ministers, upon certificate from their physicians, might grant permission to particular persons to eat flesh during that holy season.”
The pestilence continued to rage for three years, and 2,730 persons fell victims, exclusive of those who fled into the country, and died there; which, according to one authority, almost doubled the number; making a sum total probably equal to half the population of Hull at that period. During a great part of these three years, the markets were suppressed by royal proclamation, and all the justices of the peace in the adjacent places were ordered to supply the town with provisions, and all other necessaries at reasonable rates, and convey them in carts to the Garrison side of the town. Here they were bought by a few persons chosen for that purpose, and sent on sledges to the town’s cross, where they were disposed of at reduced prices. Commerce was totally extinct, and towards the latter end upwards of 2,500 persons, once in easy and opulent circumstances, were reduced to seek assistance from the town. For the relief of the poor and the infected, the attending the sick, and burying the dead, the magistrates were obliged to lay a heavy tax on the inhabitants, both of the town and county, which was paid in weekly collections.
1639, the Scotch were in arms against their Sovereign, because he had attempted to enforce the rites and liturgy of the Church of England upon that people.
The Mayor of Hull was ordered to erect magazines and military stores for his Majesty’s service; and also to repair the walls and gates, build drawbridges, cleanse the ditches of the town and garrison, and, in fact, to put the town in a regular posture of defense. The King levied an army of 22,000 men, and of this army 2,000 horse soldiers, having to receive their arms from the magazine at Hull, were quartered for some time in the neighboring towns of Beverley, Cottingham, Hedon.
At the head of his troops Charles left London, and he arrived at York on the 30th of March (1639), where he was received with every demonstration of loyalty. He remained nearly a month at York, during which he paid a visit to Hull.
1639, 6th of September, Sir Thomas Glenham, was appointed Governor of Hull, by the King; and a regiment of foot was ordered to be sent here under his command. The magistrates replied, ” that there could not be two Governors of their town at one and the same time; that by the charters granted them by Edward VI., the Mayor for the time being was their only rightful Governor; that to admit another was a breach of their privileges and charters; and, if drawn into a precedent, might prove of dangerous consequence.” The King sent them a message that he intended to be in Hull on the 30th of the same month, and requested them to prepare for his reception. But whether it was to avoid the expense attending a royal visit, or that they apprehended they should be obliged to submit to the King’s directions, does not appear; but the fact is, that Sir Thomas was immediately admitted Governor, and had the keys of the town, castle, and blockhouses, immediately delivered to him, and Charles declined his proposed visit. A regiment of 1,000 men also accompanied the Governor, and joined the garrison, and thus was the town of Hull, with its magazine and stores, for the present fully secured for his Majesty’s use.
1640, March – The Mayor, met the King at the Beverley Gate and gave him the keys of the town and he was received with the greatest demonstrations of joy and sincere affection. The Mayor presented him with a rich and elegant ribbon, several yards long, saying, “Vouchsafe, great Sir, to accept the emblematic bond of our obedience, which is tied as fast to your Majesty, your Crown, and the Church, as our souls are to our bodies, and we are resolved never to part from the former until we part from the latter.” The King ordered the ribbon to be tied in a knot, and he afterwards wore it in his hat, calling it his “Hull Favor.” The King was sumptuously entertained, and lodged that night at the house of Sir John Lister (25, High-street), and in the morning he took an accurate survey of the fortifications of the town, and the defensive works which were then going forward, under the superintendence of Captain Legg.
He returned to join his army, which was then about to march against the Scots. That night he lodged at Beverley, and the next day he reached York, whence he marched with a part of the army to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, from which place he ordered Lord Holland to write a letter of thanks to the magistrates of Hull, expressing his regard for the kind reception given to him, stating also that he is willing to grant any reasonable demand that might be required for the benefit of the town. He made peace with the Scots at Berwick on Tweed and returned to London.
The King’s position at this juncture was exceedingly unpleasant and critical. Twice had the Commons refused to grant him supplies to carry out his wars. Twice had he abruptly dissolved that assembly; measures which greatly increased the discontent of the people. The King announced his intention to call a parliament in the course of the present year, and he asked council at the same time, of the Peers, in what way to treat a petition for a redress of grievances, which he had received from the Scotch invaders, and how his army should be maintained until the supplies from parliament might be had for that purpose. A temporary treaty having been made between certain Commissioners appointed by the English and the Scotch, the King and the Peers hastened to London to attend the opening of parliament.
1640, the number of streets in the town of Hull had increased to thirty-two. In the year 1300 there were only fifteen.
1640, 3rd of November, The Long Parliament assembled and quickly began proceedings to impeach Archbishop Laud of High Treason, which it succeeded in doing on 18 December.The troops were discharged that were quartered at Hull, the Governor, Sir Thomas Glemham, resigned his office, and the artillery, ammunition, and stores, which had been sent to the camp at York, were returned to Hull, and deposited in the magazine as before. In the beginning of 1642 the difficulties between the King and the parliament daily increased, and preparations were made to decide the matter by force of arms. In this situation of affairs, which party soever should be fortunate enough to secure Hull, would gain a decided superiority, at least, in the outset of the contest. The King, in order to secure his “royal town ” to his interest, sent the Earl of Newcastle to take possession of it in his Majesty’s name, but the magistrates, unmindful of their former declaration, ” that they would adhere to his Majesty, against all his enemies, with the utmost of their lives and fortunes,” refused to receive the King’s General. About this time the parliament directed the Corporation to have the town put into defence, whereupon the bulwarks were strongly faced with brick, and the blockhouses repaired, at the cost of the town and county. Shortly afterwards, the Commons appointed Sir John Hotham Governor of Hull, with orders not to deliver up the place without the King’s authority, ” signified by both houses.” When Sir John arrived at the gates, he found the bridges drawn up, the gates shut, and the cannon charged. He sent a trumpeter, and demanded admittance for himself and his forces. The Mayor refused admittance, but on a subsequent threat of being deemed guilty of treason, and after communicating with the parliament, he received Sir John and his forces, and resigned the government of the town to him. Thus the parliament secured Hull.
The King now withdrew to York, and when Sir John Hotham, and about 800 soldiers entered Kingston-upon-Hull, his Majesty seemed at first to take no notice of it; but he afterwards sent the Earl of Newcastle to Hull to take possession of the place in his Majesty’s name. The authorities, however, declined to receive the Earl. Soon after this, the Commons, anxious to get closer possession of the military stores at Hull, proposed to the Lords to have them removed to London, but the latter would not agree to the proposal without the sanction of the King. To this petition the King sent a long reply, complaining that a garrison and a Governor had been placed at Hull without his consent, and refusing to accede to the request of the parliament. One of the chief reasons why the King came down into the north, was to seize Hull (which at that time was the most important fortress in the whole kingdom) and its vast magazine was larger than the war stores in the Tower of London. As it was known that he was actually gone to York, they realised the town of Hull would be in danger, and Sir John Hotham received the strictest orders not to allow foreign ships to enter the port without strict examination into their strength, burden, and to see that no English, or other forces whatever, should enter the town, but those already appointed to be the garrison there. At the same time the parliament instructed the Lord Admiral to take special care to guard the seas, and to search all ships coming from Holland to Hull; and the Lord Lieutenants and High Sheriffs of the northern counties were ordered by both houses to suppress all forces which shall be raised in those parts without the direction of parliament; and to take special care of Hull, Newcastle, and other towns on those coasts.