YKSRose.gif (1015 bytes)


The History
of Sculcoates

Early History
The Charterhouse
The Civil War
Before the Dock
The Dock and Later
Notes for Genealogists

The modern city of Hull comprises several parishes and townships in addition to the 'Old Town' of Hull. Most of them, although commemorated in street names, are unknown to those living outside the city.  Sculcoates is one of these; one which most Hull citizens, if pressed, would describe as being in the vicinity of Sculcoates Lane or near Sculcoates Power Station, but it was a much larger area. It is in fact well within the modern city of Hull and you may find it hard to believe that until about 220 years ago it was a large rural area outside the town. There is now little sign of the village of Sculcoates, in fact nothing to distinguish the parish from the rest of Hull. The main reason for this is its position on the River Hull, immediately to the north of the town of Hull (the 'Old Town').

From the second half of the 18th Century, industry began to spread up the river bank in the east of the parish and at about the same time, the southern part of the parish became an overspill area for the town.  In spite of this, it was not until 1835 that Sculcoates officially became a part of Hull. From the 1830s, the name Sculcoates was used to describe a much larger area than the parish:

In 1837, under the new Poor Law, the Sculcoates Poor Law Union was created as individual parishes could no longer cope with the large numbers of poor.  This Union was a collection of parishes which included the northern and eastern suburbs of Hull and a wide agricultural area from Hedon in the east to Welton in the west.
In 1837 also, Civil Registration was introduced and Sculcoates Registration District was formed, covering similar area.

This means that you may come across 19th century records eg poor law & birth certificates etc describing Kirk Ella or Drypool for example as in Sculcoates.  The area referred to on this page, however, is that of the ancient parish and manor of Sculcoates.   Ancient because it is the oldest parish in the modern city of Hull.  It was a parish when  Sutton, Drypool, Holy Trinity and St Marys (Hull) all looked to more distant mother churches.

Return to top of page

The parish of Sculcoates was situated on the west bank of the River Hull with the town of Hull to the south and the parish of Cottingham to the north and west. The boundary followed the River Hull to the east and the town walls (later Queens Dock and now Queens Gardens) to the south. It then continued in a north-westerly direction along the line of the Derringham Dike (now Prospect Street) and Derringham Bank (now Spring Bank) and north along what became Newland Tofts Lane (now Princes Avenue). It continued along the line of the Setting Dike (now Queens Road), travelling eastwards to join Beverley Road. From here it took a north-westerly course along field boundaries to meet the River Hull at Stoneferry. If you look at a modern map of Hull, you will see that it includes part of what is now the city centre - Albion Street, George Street etc.

Also included in this area was a small portion in the south east corner of the parish, between the Charterhouse and the town walls, called Trippett. The town of Hull had certain rights here and it was described as being in both the parishes of Holy Trinity and also St Mary (Hull) at different times in its history, but it did not become part of the borough until 1837. Trippett was never in the parish of Sculcoates.

Return to top of page

Early History
If we look at the same area, say 1000 years ago, it was a low-lying, badly drained, foul-smelling, disease-ridden salt marsh, prone to regular flooding by both the River Hull and the River Humber.  Early settlers gave it wide berth, preferring the higher land of the Wolds or Holderness. Eventually the river banks were raised by silting up and a group of people led by a man with the Viking name of Skuli, built a settlement here.  Since then, Skuli's cottages (this is one explanation of the origin of the name), has also been recorded as Skowlcots, Scowscots, Cowcotes and the present Sculcoates. It was certainly here in the 12th century (a church is first mentioned in 1232), but it could be considerably older.  Although not in Domesday Book, it has been suggested that it could have existed as an outlying part of Cottingham.

If raising the banks helped to prevent flooding, it also prevented water from the natural springs, as well as that running off the higher ground of the Wolds, from escaping into the river. It was necessary for channels to be cut to drain away the surplus surface water. As these drains could cross land belonging to more than one landowner, a certain amount of co-operation was needed. For example, the draining of parts of Cottingham across Sculcoates to the River Hull was carried out jointly by the Lords of both Manors. Sluices were required to prevent backflow at high tide at the point where the drain entered the river. These were known locally as cloughs or clows. There was one at Stoneferry (the drain ran alongside Clough Road to a clough near Stoneferry Bridge. There was also another at Sculcoates Gote (the area sometimes referred to as High Flags).

In such a flat landscape, it is understandable that these drains were used as boundaries. From the River Hull in the east, the Sculcoates boundary followed a series of drains which ran southwest from Stoneferry to Beverley Road, westwards along Queens Road towards, Cottingham, then southwards along Princes Avenue. From there, it followed the course of the Derringham Dyke, along Spring Bank to Beverley Road. It has been suggested that it then ran due east and into the River at Sculcoates Gote but the drain was later diverted to run along Prospect Street to supply Hull with fresh water. This could explain why the land between the alleged old and new course of the Derringham Dyke is described in some early documents as being in Myton (the area west of the Old Town) and not in Sculcoates.

Flooding was a constant threat and the people of Sculcoates had to make sure the river banks were kept in good repair. The parish of Cottingham was also concerned about this and caused a bank to be thrown up along its boundary with Sculcoates to prevent the spread of floodwater from Sculcoates.

Return to top of page

The Charterhouse
The first Mayor of Hull was Sir William De La Pole, who also held the manor of Myton. He decided to build a monastery on his land (in Myton - later Sculcoates) but died before he was able to do so.  It was left to his son, Sir Michael De La Pole (1st Earl of Suffolk) to carry out his wishes. The Priory he built possibly replaced another religious foundation on the same site. In 1378 he invited the monks of the Carthusian Order to live there. It was usually called the Carthusian Priory of Hull due to its close proximity to the town. As the headquarters of order in France were called La Grande Chartreuse, the Priory became known as the Charterhouse. Old illustrations show a few small buildings around the Priory Church, surrounded by a wall and moat.  Roads led southwards towards the town walls and eastwards (now Charterhouse Lane) to join the road linking High Street near North Bridge with the village of Sculcoates (now Wincolmlee). This Carthusian Priory was one of only seven built in England, as the order was not particularly attractive. The monks shut themselves away from the world and also each other, spending most of their time in their own cell, only meeting once a week for a communal service and meal.

In 1377, Michael De La Pole became the Lord of the Manor of Sculcoates and, two years later, he gave it to the Charterhouse. He also made several other grants of land to the Priory over next few years so that the Charterhouse held an important and influential position in Sculcoates. The De La Poles retained links with the Charterhouse for some time after this and several members of the family instructed that their bodies were to be buried in the Priory church. In the 18th century, workmen who were building houses in Sykes Street (which was on the site of the Priory) came across the foundations of thick walls and a quantity of human bones which were thought to belong to members of the De La Pole family.

Initially the Priory also housed a few poor men and women but in 1383, a separate almshouse was provided for 13 poor men, 13 poor women and one priest (the Master) who was in charge of it. It was also known as the Charterhouse Hospital, Maison Dieu or God's House Hospital. In 1536, the Priory was dissolved by Henry VIII, re-established following year and finally closed in 1539. The Almshouse escaped as it had a separate charter. At the Dissolution, the Corporation of Hull acquired land in Sculcoates and also became responsible for appointing the Master.of the Charterhouse Hospital. The Charterhouse buildings were not totally demolished at the Dissolution. Some were inhabited by various people including the Aldred family who held part of the Manor of Sculcoates.

Return to top of page

The Civil War
The Civil War affected Sculcoates because of its location, next to Hull. Throughout the war, Hull supported the Parliamentarian cause but initially, the surrounding area was in Royalist hands.  In 1642 an attempt was made to take the town and secure the arsenal in it when Royalist forces besieged Hull. During the course of the siege, men from Hull's garrison slipped out of the town and cut the river banks, flooding the surrounding area. The effect on Sculcoates was disastrous. Great efforts had always been taken to maintain the banks and this deliberate flooding caused much damage and ruined the harvest.

1643 saw the second siege of Hull Royalists in Cottingham and Newland began to pour red hot shot over Sculcoates onto the town in an attempt to start fires. Fairfax, the Governor of Hull, ordered the destruction of the remaining Charterhouse buildings as they were too close to the town walls and it was feared that they would give cover to the town's enemies. The inhabitants of the Charterhouse Hospital were evacuated to a house in Whitefriargate for the duration and artillery was positioned on the site of the Charterhouse to bombard the Royalist guns. Later the sluices were opened, causing widespread flooding, and for the second year in succession the Sculcoates harvest was lost. Eventually the siege was lifted and fighting switched to other parts of the country.

1649, after the war, the Hospital was rebuilt on the old site, on the south side of Charterhouse Lane. In 1663 a new building was erected on the north side and in 1673 a new chapel was added.

Return to top of page

Before the Dock
The first map of the whole of Sculcoates is dated 1692, but only a 19th century copy survives. It shows houses and a windmill along Church Street (now a part of Wincolmlee) south of the church. Also shown are some pre-enclosure field   names - North Field, West Field, Green Field and also Great Pasture and Great Ings. The names West and Great Apeland seem to indicate orchards.

The two most important buildings in Sculcoates at that time were the church of St Mary and the Charterhouse. More than once, the Vicar of Sculcoates lived at the Charterhouse as he was also the Master. Flooding was still a problem, especially in winter and the road between the Church and the Charterhouse (now Wincolmlee) was frequently inundated. The church was regularly abandoned during the winter months and services were then held in the Charterhouse chapel where a separate register was kept. The Churchwardens accounts show payments were made for transporting seats from the church to the Charterhouse in the autumn and for returning them to the church in the following spring.

The medieval church of St Mary Sculcoates was a small simple building, on the corner of Air Street and Bankside. By 1743 it was in need of repair and in 1759, a decision was taken to rebuild it completely, on the same site.  In the south of the parish, a few more buildings were appearing outside the walls and this may have encouraged the parishioners to think that a larger church would be needed to cope with the expected increase in population. The appearance of the new church was considerably altered in the 1820s and again in the 1860s.

Twenty years after the church was rebuilt, the Charterhouse was also rebuilt. An inscription on the porch of the building on the north side of Charterhouse Lane (the 'Old House' ) commemorates the founder, Michael de la Pole and John Bourne who was the Master when the Charterhouse was rebuilt. The floor of the porch shows the De La Pole coat of arms. Inside is the chapel which contains memorials to past Masters, and one Matron, of the Charterhouse. Incidentally, the father of Andrew Marvell was once the Master here. On the other side of Charterhouse Lane is the 'Master's House'. The De La Pole coat of arms is on a blue and white plaque above the door. This building was badly damaged by bombing during the Second World War but has been restored. The garden contains an old, gnarled mulberry tree, sometimes referred to as the 'oldest living thing in Hull'.

Return to top of page

The Dock and Later
Whilst the Charterhouse was being rebuilt, an important development was taking place which had a major effect on Sculcoates. This was the building of Hull's first dock, later Queens Dock which was completed in 1778. The Dock Company was empowered to obtain sufficient land to build the dock and also a road linking the Beverley Gate and North Bridge. It was also allowed to dispose of any surplus land for building purposes. This had the dual effect of removing the physical barrier between Hull and Sculcoates and also of encouraging the development of the area to the north of the dock.  The various sections of the road which was built were named Savile Street, George Street, Charlotte Street, North Street and Bridge Street. The surrounding area was quickly developed and some fine houses were built in the new suburb.  The people who lived there could well afford to escape the cramped living conditions in the 'Old Town'.

Owners of land immediately to the north of the Dock Company's estate also laid out streets and over next few years the area became a very fashionable place to live. Albion Street was the principal street of the estate belonging to Richard Baker, a tobacco manufacturer. The houses, which had gardens with rear access into Baker Street were built between 1788 and 1798.  Houses in nearby Jarratt Street were built c1803 on land owned by John Jarratt. In Worship Street, there is a block of houses, built in 1806 on land belonging to Christopher Sykes, which was positioned to look attractive when viewed looking down Jarratt Street. The two landowners with estates furthest away from the dock found it more difficult to develop their land.  Wright Street and Pryme Street were both still relatively undeveloped in 1835 when Sculcoates was taken into Hull.

Later buildings in Albion Street include Albion House, which was built c1845 as the home of Dr (later Sir) James Alderson, Honorary Physician to the General Infirmary 1829-44. He was the son of John Alderson who held the same post from 1792-1829. In 1865, it became the Church Institute and included a newsroom, a library and chess, draught and whist rooms. It was derelict for many years but is now a public house and restaurant called the Institute (next to the Central Library building). Close by stood the Albion Chapel which was opened in 1842 with 1500 sittings. It was designed by H F Lockwood at a  cost of 8000 but destroyed by bombing in 1941.

Not all the houses in this area were so large and imposing. Some of more modest design were built in 1822 in Caroline Place, part of the Prymes estate. At that time front gardens had become fashionable and the houses were described in the Hull Advertiser of 13th September 1822 thus:

Houses and Building Ground
Street laid out
"It is planned for houses of a moderate size with small gardens in front."
"The houses will be most desirable for Persons connected with Trade
who may desire a rural and Healthy residence within a few minutes of High Street."

Several notable public buildings appeared in the 1820s and 1830s, including the Public Rooms (now the New Theatre in Kingston Square), designed by Charles Mountain junior and built in 1830. The Royal Institution in Albion Street was built by subscription, the architect being Cuthbert Brodrick. It was opened in 1854, after a visit by the Prince Consort. Initially it housed the Literary and Philosophical Society at the east end and the Subscription Library at the west end. Later it became the City Museum which was destroyed by bombing in 1943. The statues of Minerva and her supporters were saved from the rubble and are now in Nelson Mandela Gardens, next to Wilberforce House.

All of this development was in Sculcoates, not officially Hull, although it obviously has very little connection with the village of Sculcoates, some distance away. Theoretically at any rate, the inhabitants of this area were expected to use the parish church of St Mary over a mile away to the north, although the Hull churches were much nearer. In a belated attempt to solve this problem, a new church was built in Worship Street. It was consecrated in 1822 and named Christ Church. It suffered heavy damage during the Second World War and was eventually demolished. The Roman Catholics also chose this area in which to build a church, St Charles Borromeo in Jarratt Street.  It was built in 1829 to serve the growing Catholic population, remodelled in 1835 and again in 1894 when a porch was added. The plain exterior hides a beautiful baroque interior.

During the 1830s, Hull extended its boundaries and Sculcoates officially became a part of the town. Just before this, the Sculcoates Poor Law Union had been formed and in 1844 a new Workhouse (now Kingston General Hospital) was built. By 1850, the southern part of the parish was very well built up but there were almost no houses to the west of Beverley Road.  Various industries had also sprung up along the River Hull, as far as the village and beyond.

The Kingston Cotton Mill was one of two mills in Hull. Hull was not a traditional textile area but it was due to the enthusiasm of some local businessmen that these mills were built. Their lack of experience meant that initially the managers and employees had to be recruited from the North Cheshire/Lancashire area.  The Kingston Cotton Mill opened in 1845 but suffered periodic difficulties in the 1850s due to the American Civil War which restricted supplies of raw cotton. It eventually closed in 1894. The mill was a large employer in the area, especially of women. The workers from Cheshire and Lancashire included a considerable proportion of those born in Ireland and this may help to explain the high numbers of Catholics in Hull.

Questions of morality were also raised when it was discovered that people of all ages and both sexes were expected to work side by side for hours on end in the mill. There was also a suggestion that young women were able to earn high wages which they were unwilling to share with the rest of their family. This led to a certain amount of friction which could result in the young woman leaving home and setting up house with others in a similar position. It was felt that once these young women had left the protection of their family, it was only a matter of time before they 'fell'. Nothing now remains of the mill.

Houses for those who worked in these industries were built between Beverley Road and the River Hull. They were very different from those in the south around Albion Street as, before the first housing byelaws were passed in Hull in 1854, there were no minimum standards laid down for building houses. Every spare piece of land was used and courts with tunnel entrances and back-back housing were very common. Conditions here were very bad with poor drainage, inadequate sanitation, a shared cold water tap and communal privvies. Those close to the river bank would also have experienced the noxious smells from the boneyards and glue-making processes.

By 1869, the area to the west of Beverley Road was starting to be developed. Pearsons Park was laid out in 1860 on land presented to the town by Zachariah Pearson, a shipowner and Mayor of Hull (1859-60). The village and church, in the northeast corner of the parish were looking increasingly isolated. At this time, a new church, All Saints, was being erected in Margaret Street to serve new houses being built in the area. At this time, St Marys was in need of repair and it was decided that it should close as soon as All Saints was opened. The new church was designed by G E Street and consecrated in 1869. A tower was added in 1883 by Samuel Musgrave in memory of Rev'd Charles Walsham. The church was built on land given by Canon John Jarratt, the vicar of North Cave (hence the nearby Cave Street) and was the first post-Reformation church to be entirely free. It was larger than St Marys and better located to suit the changed needs of the population of Sculcoates. When St Marys closed, All Saints took on the role as parish church. In 1872 however, after only 3 years, St Marys was re-opened but All Saints remained the parish church.

Just before the First World War, plans were drawn up to replace the church of St Mary with a new church further up Sculcoates Lane. The intention was to transfer some of the fixtures and fittings to the new church which was designed by Temple Moore and consecrated in 1917. The architect was asked to scale down his designs several times for financial reasons. Whilst the main church is dedicated to St Mary, there is also a side chapel dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. When the old church was taken down, the east window, columns, screen, chandelier and some pews were incorporated into the St Francis chapel. The font, originally a wine cooler owned by the Hotham family was also transferred form the old building to the new as were several of the monuments. Not all of the old church was taken down immediately; the tower was only demolished in the 1950s. For some years after the new church had been built, an annual service took place on site of the old church.

Some old buildings still remain in Sculcoates including several chapels which have been put to other uses. The Primitive Methodist chapel which was built on Wincolmlee in 1842 and extended in 1846 to include Sunday School rooms was closed in 1872. In 1879 it became a Salvation Army barracks and is now (inappropriately) a wines and spirits warehouse. The former Wesleyan chapel in Scott Street was built in 1804 with seating for 600. It was rebuilt in 1850, when the front was stuccoed, and further altered in 1859 but closed 1910. The old parish school still stands on Bankside, close to the site of the old church. It was built in 1852 but closed and sold in 1908. Money from the sale of the school financed the Parish Hall on the corner of Folkestone Street and Sculcoates Lane. This was sold in 1973 and is now a joiners workshop.

2000 S J Dixon - Please note that the information in these pages is the result of many, many hours of work
(over a period of 25 years) and may only be used for private research and study purposes. It may not be incorporated
into other works, used for commercial purposes or published in ANY form whatsoever without the written permission of the copyright owner.

WB00677_.gif (630 bytes)Return to Home Page WB00677_.gif (630 bytes)Return to top of page