A Journey from Gainsborough to Hull by Steam Packet Boat in 1833.
The Steam boat leaves Gainsborough about half-past eight in the morning, there is therefore time for the traveller to take breakfast before starting; or if preferred, it is not unusual to breakfast on board; and he may if he chose provide provisions for the voyage, but this is by no means necessary, for every thing of the kind is supplied by the steward, with every attention to cleanliness, in the substantial shape of ham, cold beef, and prime bottled porter etc. at a moderate expense.
The Steam Boat will be found commodious and pleasant, being fitted up with due attention to the comforts of its visitors. The fare to Hull for the best cabin is only 2s. 6d., and for the fore cabin 1s. 6d. The length of the voyage to Hull is about 5 hours, and the return usually 3 ¼ to 4 hours. Let us now leave the cabin, which being almost filled with passengers is becoming unpleasantly hot, and endeavour to find amusement on the deck.
Imagine now a morning in autumn, the time when the luxuriant appearance of the corn fields is exchanged for the short, dry-looking stubble, which may be seen on both sides of the river: the morning air is cool, but the sun peeping through the mist which slightly obscures objects at a distance, promises a fine warm day. Such a morning as this may be set down as being one of the finest in the year for a journey by water to Hull. It is therefore recommended, all being ready for starting, to provide a seat on deck and view the country down the Trent, which we will endeavour to describe.
The first village is Morton one mile from Gainsborough to which parish it is a hamlet but a separate constablewick. Here is an independent and methodist chapel, and a ship-yard. It is also the residence of several merchants. At this place the river takes a wide turn, called by sailors ‘no man’s friend’ because it is impassible by the vessels whether the wind blows fair for Gainsborough or Hull, and consequently it is requisite to tow them some distance. Very fine salmon is caught here; but since the establishment of steam-boats on the Trent, this delicate fish has become scarce.
Walkerith is the next place, also a hamlet to Gainsborough; it contains only 11 houses. The village of Beckingham and Walkeringham are visable on the other side of the river, some distance inland.
We now proceed to East Stockwith; another hamlet to Gainsborough, about a mile from Walkerith. The engine is stopped here, it is one of the ferries, and the steamer is boarded by a boat-load of people going to Hull: the packet is stopped at the various ferries on the journey, from which indeed the chief part of the passengers are received. On the other side of the river is West Stockwith, in the county of Nottingham; it contains 635 inhabitants, and is four miles from Gainsborough. There is a fair here on the fourth of September, for cattle, horses, etc which is usually well attended. A pleasing bequest was made by a ships carpenter of this village in 1714; he left £740 in money as well as some land, for the purpose of building a chapel of ease, and the maintenance of a minister thereto: also for erecting 10 cottages to be tenanted by ship’s carpenters and seamen belonging to the village, each of whom receives about £10 yearly. There is also a stipend for a schoolmaster to teach the children of shipwrights and seamen reading and writing. The Idle river, which is one of the boundaries to the Isle of Axeholme and the Chesterfield canal have here their communications with the Trent, and are sources of much trade in Stockwith, which possesses several malt-kilns and a bone-mill, and is the residence of many respectable Families.
After passing the hamlets, which follow in rotation of Gunthorpe, Wildsworth, East Ferry, or West Kinnald’s Ferry, Keldfield, and Susworth, none of which are any particular note.
Owston is situated on the western side of the Trent, about three miles south east of Epworth, and contains with its hamlets 2207 inhabitants.
West Butterwick comes in view; a hamlet in the parish of Owston: in the reign of Henry VII, Butterwick became the seat of the Sheffield family, one of whom in the reign of Edward VI, was created lord Sheffield of Butterwick, and was slain in attempting to suppress a rebellion on Norfolk. About the year 1630, the chapel of Butterwick, was taken down and the materials employed in building a bridge or sluice, on the river Ancholme. The chapel since erected in its place, is a small and inferior structure. It contains with the parish of Keldfield 798 inhabitants.
East Butterwick, a hamlet in the parish of Messingham, but a separate constablewick. It is two miles distant eastward from the village of Messingham, and contains 326 inhabitants.
Burringham, is a hamlet and constablewick in the parish of Bottsford, whence it is distant three miles. It contains 565 inhabitants.
Althorpe is on the western side of the Trent, in the Isle of Axholme,, and about five miles from Epworth. It contains 981 inhabitants. The church at this place was first built in the reign of Edward IV, by sir John Nevill, whose arms and crest are sculptured on the stone at the west end of the steeple. John Langley, a native of this place, was lord mayor of London in the year 1576.
Keadby, distant a mile northward from Althorpe, of which parish it is a hamlet although a separate constablewick. It contains 309 inhabitants. The Stainforth and Keadby canal falls into the Trent at this village.
Crosby and Gunhouse are two hamlets in the parish of Bottsford, and together form a constablewick: they contain 174 inhabitants. Each is distant four miles northward from the village of Bottsford; Crosby being situated upon the cliff. And Gunhouse more to the west, on the side of the Trent.
Amcotts, though a separate constablewick, is a hamlet in the parish of Althorpe, whence it is distant about three miles northward. It contains a chapel, which is a small mean building. The number of inhabitants in Amcotts are 359. This is the property of sir William Ingilby, bart. M.P.
Flixborough. The village of Flixborough is situated on a chain of cliffs, which here assume a peculiar bold aspect, and command an extensive view over a fertile country, through which the river Trent winds its irregular course. It is distant eleven miles north west of Brigg, and contains 210 inhabitants.
Passing Luddington we arrive at the last village on the Trent side which is Garthorpe, a hamlet in the parish of Luddington, from which village it is two miles north. It contains 454 inhabitants, and is a separate constablewick.
Burton-upon-Stather, distance eleven miles from Barton, occupies a commanding station on the brow of a cliff, nearly at the foot of which flows the river and where is a staith, from which is derived the word stather, and hence the distinguishing name of the village. It contains 760 inhabitants. Burton-upon-Stather was once a town of some consequence, and the earl of Lancaster, in the eighth of king Edward II, obtained a charter for a weekly market there, and for two fairs yearly. For several years the town enjoyed a considerable trade, for which it was well adapted by its situation on the Trent; but the rising superiority of Gainsborough withdrew the trade from the place, in consequence of which its market became unfrequented, and the town dwindled into a mere village. One fair is now held there annually on the fifth day of April.
The place is said to have been greatly reduced in its limits, by an extraordinary tempest, which entirely destroyed a number of houses on the side of the cliff, and much injured the church. Several houses in the town were in 1777 unroofed and otherwise seriously damaged, to an extent calculated at £3000 value. From the explosion of a brig, lying off there, and laden with groceries, spirits and gunpowder, which took fire. The report of the expolsion was heard at the distance of several miles.
Alkborough. In the north west of the county, at the distance of about eleven miles west of Barton, and near the confluence of the Trent, Ouse and Humber, stands the village of Alkborough, romantically situated on the summit of a bold cliff, and environed with the most beautiful scenery. This place was undoubtedly a Roman station, and apparently no inconsiderable one, and was considered by Dr. Stukely as the Aquis of the Roman geographer Ravennas. On the south west of the village is a square camp or entrenchment, about one hundred feet on each side, with an entrance on the north. Before the north entrance is a plot called the Green, in which, and on the brow of the cliff, is one of those mazes, peculiar to Roman stations called Julian’s Bower, in which the youth were exercised in the martial game called Troy Town; for a description of which see the fifth book of the Aeneid. The maze is formed of narrow banks of earth, is circular, and about forty feet in diameter.
We now arrive at the mouth of the Trent, or as it is usually called the Trent Falls, where that river is joined by the Ouse, and shall shortly be sailing in the Humber River, the common receptacle of all the eastern rivers of England, from the Swale to the Trent. It is the boundary line between the East-riding of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and is at Hull from two to three miles in breadth: it fall into the German Sea at Spurn Point. Though great pains was taken about the 14th centuary, by elevating the roads and repairing the banks, to guard against the unusual tides which for some years prevailed in the Humber, yet in the year 1527, the tide rose to such a height as to overthrow the banks, and do incredible damage to the town of Hull and the adjacent country. However, during the last century the banks of the Humber have been materially improved, and many thousand acres of land recovered from the visitation of the tides. Several streets have also been formed on foundations which were formerly washed by the waters of the Humber.
The next village is Whitton, situated at the north west extremity of Lincolnshire on a cliff overlooking the Humber. This village is parcel of the Duchy of Lancaster, distant about eleven miles from Barton, and contains 245 inhabitants. On the opposite side of the Humber is Faxfleet on the Market Weighton canal; it is 18 miles from Hull, and contains 177 inhabitants. Lower down on the Lincolnshire side of the Humber is Winteringham. This village stands on the declivity of an elevated situation. It is a long straggling place, about 8 miles westward of Barton, and contains 726 inhabitants. Upon a rising ground at the east of the present village, where the Roman road from Lincoln to the Humber terminates, has been a town called old Winteringham, with a beach for ships. This place was considered by Dr. Stukely to have been the Ad Abum of the Romans; Abus, according to Bishop Horsley, being the ancient name for the Humber. Winteringham is opposite to Brough, a Roman town on the Yorkshire side of the river, distant 14 miles from Hull, contiguous are the villages of Melton and North Ferriby.
South Ferriby, a village and parish in the hundred of Yarborough and division of Lindsey; situated on the river Ancholme; it is three miles S.W. of Barton, and contains 500 inhabitants. The church is dedicated to St. Nicholas. The wesleyan and primitive Methodist have chapels here. The river Ancholme falls into the Humber at Ferriby Sluice in this township; forming a communication between the Humber and Brigg, or Glandford Bridge, a market town and chapelry, at the distance of twenty-four miles from Lincoln, on the turnpike road from that place to Barton, passing through the town of Brigg. The town forms part of the four adjoining parishes of Scawby, Broughton, Wrawby, and Bigby, from which circumstance it had no chapel of ease until the year 1690, when four gentlemen built a place of worship, and endowed it with certain estates which were vested in their own heirs and the trustees of the free school. Brigg was originally but a small fishing hamlet; but a weekly market is now held there on Thursday, and an annual horse fair on the 5th of August. The town is well built and paved, and enjoys the benefit of a good trade in corn, coal and timber. The principal manufacture of the town is that of rabbit skins, in which more hands were once employed than in any other town in the kingdom, except London.; but owing to the increased value of agricultural produce, and a reduction in the price of skins, the rabbit warrens formerly so abundant in the neighbourhood have been materially diminished, and the manufacture of furs in Brigg consequently contracted.
We now come in view of the Cliffs and of Hessle. Its proximity to the Humber renders it an advantageous situation for building, which some years ago was carried on to a considerable extent. Hessle is a vicarage in the gift of the crown; the church is of ancient structure, dedicated to All Saints. There is also a small hospital and school, slenderly endowed with several doles to the poor. It is five miles from Hull, and contains 1538 inhabitants. On the north side of the Humber the next place is Barton, a thriving market town, pleasantly situated at the northern extremity of Lincolnshire, about 35 miles from Lincoln. Barton is a place of great antiquity. It was once surrounded by a rampart and foss, the remains of which are visable in what are called the castle dykes; and it was probably otherwise fortified against the Saxons and Danes, who in their predatory incursions, often laid waste the country on both sides of the river. It is mentioned in doomsday survey as containing a church, a priest, and two mills of 40s.value, and one market, and a ferry of £4 value. At the time of the conquest Barton was a considerable port and corporate town; but its commerce gradually declined after Edward I, had constituted Hull a free borough, and conferred upon the inhabitants of that port so many privileges and immunities. When Edward III issued his mandate to raise a force for the invasion of France, Barton furnished according to one account, three ships and 20 men, and to another 5 ships and 91 men; while some of the present sea-ports on the coast were not even mentioned. There are two large churches in Barton; the one dedicated to St. Peter appears from the tower to have been erected about the time of the Conqueror; but the body of the church has been rebuilt since the introduction of the pointed arch. The livings of the two churches are united and valued in the king’s books at £19 4s 8d. There is a free school in the place, for the instruction of 40 poor children; there are also almshouses for a certain number of the poor; as well as certain charitable funds which are annually distributed in coals, etc. The town has a well supplied weekly market on Mondays, and another for fat cattle once a fortnight. Its annual fair is held on Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Sacking and ropes are manufactured there, as is also French barley and Paris whiting. It is principally noted for being the place where the northern road passes the Humber to Hull; steam-packets for passengers cross and recross the river several times in the course of the day, and a sailing boat for horses and carriages every tide. It contains 3231 inhabitants.
Barrow, a large but irregularly built village, about two miles eastward of Barton, and formerly the seat of the ancient and celebrated family of Tyrwhit of Cornwall. A mile from the village, to the north west, in a marsh, stands an earth-work, called the castle, which according to tradition, was erected by Humber when he invaded Britain, in the time of Trajan Brutus. Adjacent to the foundations are several tumuli, or long barrows, in some of which human bones, ashes, urns, and other relics have been discovered. Barrow contains the seat of Charles Uppleby, Esq. There are 1334 inhabitants in the place.
Near this village is the new line of ferry called New Holland, known by the name of Ox-marsh. The establishment of this communication from Hull has opened a ready conveyance by coach from thence to Lincoln. The charge for crossing the ferry is 6d.
Nearly opposite the town of Hull, about 5 miles eastward of Barton stands Goxhill.
This place in the reign of Edward I formed part of the Baronies of the earl of Albemarle, the bishop of Lincoln, and other nobles. The church is a handsome structure, consisting of a nave with aisles, a chancel and lofty tower. In the chancel is the mutilated effigy of a knight, traditionally stated to be Lord Vere; and there are several other memorials in the church.
For the last few miles the scenery from the steamer has materially changed - from green fields to expanse of water. The desired haven is anxiously looked for every eye is directed towards the port of Hull which gradually opens to view; every succeeding minute has rendered the mass of shipping in the harbour more distinct, and disclosed to sight some object which before was invisible. We can now clearly distinguish the masts of the ships, which have the appearance of a forrest, also the landing place, with in a few minutes shall be landed on terre-firma the town of KINGSTON UPON HULL, - and the first consideration will be the care of luggage, and a comfortable house of refreshment; the latter may be obtained by applying to the steward for information, who will direct either to houses on the landing, or if wished to those more in the town.