Brief history of Hull - part 1
The Humber estuary links the rivers of Yorkshire and the East
Midlands with the North Sea. Hull grew up in the Middle Ages, where
the River Hull joins the Humber. It developed as a port through
which wool from its hinterland was exported to Northern Europe, and
through which the raw materials of the Baltic region, principally
timber, were imported into England. Sea-going ships anchored in the
mouth of the Hull to transfer cargo to and from smaller vessels
which could sail up the rivers to Beverley and Nottingham,
Knottingley, Selby and York.
The King's Town
In 1293 the port was
bought by King Edward I for use as a supply base for his military
campaigns in Scotland. In 1299, the King founded the borough of
Kingston-upon-Hull on the site, and this name is still the formal
title of the City.
Hull continued to be an important port in the later Middle Ages.
It exported lead and grain as well as wool. Imports included cloth
from the Netherlands, iron-ore from Sweden, oil seed from the
Baltic and timber from Riga and Norway. Timber and oil seed
continue to be major imports through the port of Hull to the
Some Hull merchants grew very rich. The De La Pole family became
wealthy enough to join the ranks of the English aristocracy, and
for one brief period in the 1400s, become heirs to the throne.
Hull in the Civil War
Hull suffered a decline in trade during the 16th and 17th
centuries, but its strategic importance meant that it received the
military attentions of both sides in the British Civil Wars. In
April 1642 King Charles I attempted to take control of the arsenal
at Hull, but was turned away from the gates by the governor Sir
John Hotham. Hull supported the Parliamentarian (Roundhead) side in
the conflict, and was consequently besieged by the Royalists
(Cavaliers) for five weeks in September and October 1643. The
leading English republican, Sir Henry Vane, was a member of
parliament for Hull at this time, and slightly later, both before
and after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, Andrew
Marvell, the Hull-born poet, represented the town.
Continue to Part two (1778-1914) or Part
three (1920s to present day) or see further