Hull 1066 -1299

The most ancient place in the region of Holderness appears to have been Ravenspurne, a town now totally swallowed up by the Humber. Ravenspurne was  quite a large port, and market town, near Spurn Head, towards the south-east end of the Trinity Sands. There were two distinct towns here at the same time, under the names of Aid Ravenser in the parish of Kilnsea and Ravenser Odd. in the parish of Easington. The Burgh of Odd was situated, between the sea and the river Humber, and was a mile from the main land. The access to it from Old Ravenser was by a sand road, covered with round yellow stones, and scarcely elevated above the sea. It was 4 miles from Easington and was between Kilnsea and Sunthorp. Ravenser Odd only existed for around 150 years having then been destroyed by the encroachments of the sea. It was originally used by the fishermen to dry their nets but in the reign of Edward I. Ravenser Odd began to assume the appearance of a commercial port.

Holderness, was like an island and liable to the attacks of sudden floods, and in 1256 the whole of the eastern coast of England flooded, extending to the fisheries and woods of Cottingham.. It swept away many numbers of people and cattle and also washed a large amount of land away. The flooding was due to the change in the course of the river so its buildings gradually transferred from the banks of the old river to those of the new one.

From the earliest times on record the mouth of the river Hull was the site of a wyk (meaning creek).   The Saxon word, wic, wyk, wyke, or wich, signified a port, refuge, or retreat, and is used in the name of several ports like, Harwich, Ipswich, Woolwich, Greenwich etc. The word wick is frequently found as a termination in the names of villages in the district of Holderness, which is immediately adjacent to Hull, like Atwick, Burstwick and Withernwick.

Although Wyke was a considerable port a century after the compilation of the Domesday Book, it is not mentioned in it, being only a parcel of land in Myton,  in the manor of Ferriby, and Hessle. Ralph de Mortimer was then lord of the manor, and had under him fourteen small farmers, occupying 300 acres. There was a church, and a minister belonging to it, in the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042 - 1066). The whole manor, and all the villages therein, were assessed at 100 shillings, but afterwards, due to the attacks on it by the Danes, it was reduced to 60 shillings.

The Domesday Book is a register of the possessions of every English freemen, to ascertain what quality of military service was owed by the King's chief tenants; to affix the homage due to the King, and to record by what tenure the various estates in Britain were held. The survey was finished in the year 1086 and the register, was called the Domesday Book, from  "those books out of which the world will be judged on the last day". The original register is deposited in the Chapter House at Westminster, and is in, a fine state of preservation.

When the Saxon nobles invited the King of Denmark to aid them against the William the Conqueror, the Danish monarch sent a fleet of 250 ships well laden with troops, commanded by his brother Osbern. This fleet entered the Humber in 1069, and on their passage to York the Danes destroyed everything valuable on the banks of the river. Myton, Sculcoates, Drypool, and Ferriby are all suffered lamentable destruction.

The greater part of these lands then lay waste, the country had not at that time recovered from the damage done by the attacks of the Danes. Ralph de Mortimer, who was ancestor of the famous Earls of March, was lord of all the surrounding villages like Anlaby, Kirkella, Ferriby and Cottingham, as well as many other towns and domains in Yorkshire, and several other counties in England. Soon after the Domesday period, all the neighboring towns and hamlets were in a flourishing condition.  The  village of Anlaby formerly belonged to the ancient family of the Anlaby's, who derived their name from the manor. In the year 1100 the heiress carried it by marriage to the Legard family who resided here from the conquest, till nearly the close of the last century.

William le Gros, the Norman lord of Holderness, and Earl of Albemarle, had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, but due to being overweight was unable to perform such a journey. He was advised by a monk of Fountains Abbey, named Adam, to build and endow (by way of commutation of the pilgrimage) a monastery for Cistercian monks at a place in Holderness which was named Melsa, or Meaux, by its Norman possessors, after the city of that name in Normandy, from whence they came. The site of the building was selected by the monk, Adam, who was celebrated for his piety and architectural skill.

Under his direction a magnificent edifice adorned with stately pinnacles and towers was erected about the year 1130, and when finished, monks were brought from the Abbey of Fountains. Adam, the architect of the building became the first Abbot of the new community. The Abbey rose rapidly into importance under the fostering protection of its noble founder, and the monks were also indebted to many of the neighboring barons and gentry for extensive grants of lands.

Before surnames had come into common use, and when people chiefly derived their last names from the towns which they inhabited, William de Wyke, the son of Simon de Wyke, granted to Walter Gifford, Archbishop of York, all his lands in Wyke, upon the river Hull., lying between the lands of Stephen, son of Robert de Wyke, and the lands which William de Wyke held of the Abbot of Meaux.

After the Norman conquest it was referred to as Myton-Wyke and was under the government of the Abbot of Melsa, whose bailiffs held courts, markets, and fairs. Its traffic was considerable, and it was one of the most eminent ports in the kingdom.

Sufficient time had elapsed since the transfer from Holderness to render its general appearance complete and nearly all the principal streets there were in existence. From Hull-street (now Highstreet), which lay parallel with the river, to the quays and wharfs, where the business of the port was transacted, there were several narrow passages, most of which yet remain.

King Edward I had seen the advantage of the place for a fortified town, and a great commercial port and wanted to obtain the possession of this property. By a deed executed by the Abbey and Convent, in the beginning of the year 1298, Edward acquired the absolute ownership of Wyke, and he immediately renamed it Kingston, or King's Town, adding the terms upon Hull, to distinguish it from Kingston upon Thames and having constituted it a manor independent of Myton, he built a Manor Hall, or royal residence, and issued a proclamation, offering great freedoms, privileges, and immunities, to all those who should fix their habitations there. He placed the town under the government of a Warden and Bailiffs; and appointed Peter de Campania to value and let it. This new valuation amounted to £78. 17s. 8d. per annum, which corresponds within a few shillings with the sum stated to have been received for the rent of the same property by the Abbot of Meaux. The first person appointed to fill the high office of Warden was Richard Oysel, the King's bailiff of the of Holderness, and keeper of the Royal Manor of Burstwick.

He issued a CHARTER in 1299 after the burgesses had petitioned him.

The freedom of passage conferred upon the burgesses by their charter, caused them to establish a ferry across the river Hull. Proper roads and highways to Hessle, Anlaby, Beverley, Cottingham, and Holderness, were formed and these three roads are probably the same as remain to this day.

Edward I was a tall man for his era, hence the nickname "Longshanks". His temperament combined with his height, made him an intimidating man, and he often instilled fear in his contemporaries. He held the respect of his subjects for the way he embodied the medieval ideal of kingship, as a soldier, an administrator and a man of faith. He restored royal authority after the reign of Henry III, and established a parliament as a permanent institution. That gave him a system for raising taxes for his war efforts, and a way of reforming the laws. He was very brutal towards the Scots, and it was during his reign that William Wallace was hung drawn and quartered. He also issued the Edict of Expulsion in 1290, by which the Jews were expelled from England. The Edict remained in effect for the rest of the Middle Ages, and it would be over 350 years until it was formally overturned under Oliver Cromwell in 1656.

When the king died in 1307, he left to his son, Edward II, an ongoing war with Scotland and many financial and political problems.