Believe it or not, Hull is a new town!
First there was Meaux Abbey that was set up by the monks from Fountains Abbey in 1151. After financial troubles they got going with draining the land around and grazed sheep on the land. The land was marshy with slight hills left over from the end of the ice age. They did so well with their sheep that they need some how to get their wool to market.
Nearby was a river that rose in the Wolds East of Driffield, the River Hull. The name may be derived from the Anglo Saxon for hill, but also may come from Hebrew, or the like, for circular, writhing, whirling motion or dance! The Monks decide that the river could be used to take their produce down to the Humber Estuary where it could be shipped onwards. It seems that there was a collection of a few houses here called Wyk or Wyke. By 1193 the place was developed enough for them to be exporting 45 sacks of wool.
A hundred years later Edward I lit upon the place as being useful to him. Edward was known as 'Longshanks' as he was tall for his age. Depending where you come from will also colour your thinking of him as he subjugated the Welsh and also fought many battles over Scotland. It was the later that made Wyke attractive to him as it was far enough away from the Scottish so as not to be regularly or easily raided, but close enough for it to be used as a useful supply base. In 1293 he 'bought' it from the Monks of Meaux. The Monks had fallen on hard times and they were only to happy to palm off Wyke for the price of the debt plus a bit of a land swap. One was the gift of money for the establishment of a chapel in Elstronwick, to the east. Over thirty years the monks got far away from the ideals of being a monk, and the place was closed down. Meaux itself was dissolved in the reformation by Henry VIII in 1539 and the stone was used to help build the defences on Hull.
Wyke became Kings Town upon Hull and he must have done quite well out of it as by this time there were about 60 dwellings and the wool export had increased to 4270 sacks of wool. They also imported most of the wine for the north of England. The place was governed by his men with the customs man being the most important.
By 1299 Edward had granted the town a 15 day fair and a market twice a week. They had also been declared a borough. The buildings were built largely on a grid as it was built from scratch. In 1300 a Mint was set up in Hull and there are a few pennies still surviving even though it didn't stay open long.
1321 defences were licenced and walls were built around three sides, except along the River Hull. In 1440 the city became self governing with a mayor etc.
By the time Henry VIII arrived he also realised the importance of Hull and gave orders for the the defensive walls to be improved and also a fortification to be built on the east bank of the River Hull to protect the river mouth and port. This was completed in 1543.
in 1897 the place became a city.
In 2010 the population was 302,296.
Kingstown upon Hull before 1677.
By Wenceslaus Hollar 1607-1677.
Using the scale on the picture above it can be seen that the extent of the town was about 0.6 x 0.4 miles.
Map showing expansion of Hull.
The original part of Hull in the present day still has many old buildings and hints to the past.