HULL, or Kingston upon Hull, a town in Hullshire. Hull, with the parishes of Hessle, Kirk Ella and North Ferriby forms the distinct county called Hullshire (or the town and county of Kingston upon Hull). The town of Hull contains two parishes:
The town is of no great antiquity, for King Edward I. was founder of it; he having observed the advantageous situation of the place, (then called Wik) obtained it by way of exchange of the Abbot of Meaux, and built the town called from him Kingston, i.e. the King's town. Here he made a good harbour, and the inhabitants Free-Burgesses, and granted them many privileges. They were at first governed by a Warden, and then by Bailiffs; and after that by a Mayor and Bailiffs, and at last obtained of King Henry VI. to be governed by a Mayor and a Sheriff, and that the town should be a county corporate of itself. Sir Michael de la Pole prevailed on King Richard II. to enlarge their charter, and grant them other privileges. It is now inferior to few places in England for trade, being well furnished with shipping. It is governed by a Mayor, a Recorder, 12 Aldermen, &c. --Camden. --Magna Brit.
Charles I. was received here with great pomp and ceremony. During the rupture between the King and parliament, Sir John Hotham was made governor of the place, and previous to the King entering the town, he sent a message to Sir John, to inform him, that he intended to do himself the pleasure to dine with him; but his majesty was immediately informed by the governor, that he could not open the gates to him, without betraying the trust that was reposed in him by Parliament. Charles, irritated by the refusal, determined to besiege the town; but after repeated repulses, and finding all his attempts ineffectual, raised the siege, and proceeded to York. It seems, however, that though Hotham at first refused to open the gates to the King, yet he afterwards, in 1643, sent his son privately to treat with him. These designs being made known to Parliament, both the father and son were executed.
Another attempt to besiege the town was made soon afterwards by the Marquis of Newcastle, but attended with no better success.
The Armory in the citadel, which has lately undergone considerable repairs, is capable of containing arms and accoutrements for 15,000 Cavalry, and 20,000 Infantry.
The Trinity-house, a spacious building, begun at first by subscription, for the relief of distressed seamen and their wives; but afterwards a patent was obtained from the Crown, with many privileges, by the advantage of which they maintain many distressed seamen with their widows, both at Hull and other places.
Michael de la Pole, founded here, in 1378, a Monastery for a Prior, and 12 Carthusian Monks. This house was founded in honour of God, the Virgin Mary, and St. Michael the Archangel. --Dugdale. The "White Freres College," says Leland, "stode by Beverlegate. The Percys were taken for founders of it. The Augustine Freres stode at the est ende of Trinite Chirch."
The Maison-Dieu, for the relief of the poor, was built by Michael de la Pole, in 1384, for 13 poor men and as many women, to which he gave 20 acres of land and 20L. per ann. out of his land, in this place and Myton. Over the door, cut in stone, is this inscription:--Deo et Pauperibus posuit D. Michael de la Pole, A.D. 1384. Magna. Brit.There are, besides, several hospitals in this place, erected by private benefactors. That benevolent institution, the Female Penitentiary was opened here in 1811. The great object of it is to employ, and ultimately to restore to society, such women as have, by evil courses, rendered themselves obnoxious to society. Every applicant is considered as on probation, and not fully admitted till she has conducted herself for two months in a satisfactory manner.
This town gave birth to Thos. Johnson, M.D. the first botanist of his time in England. He died in 1644. Doctor Fuller, who knew him well, wrote the following epitaph to his memory :--Hic, Johnsone, jaces, se si Mors cederet Herbis, Arte fugata tua cederet illa tuis.Captain Edward Thompson was a native of this place, born in about 1738. He was the author of a variety of pieces; but the merits by which Capt. Thompson will be best known, are his sea songs, especially those beautiful compositions beginning " Loose every sail to the breeze," "The topsails shiver in the wind," and "Behold upon the gallant wave." He was appointed commander of the Grampus, and sent to the coast of Africa, where he died in 1786.
In the market-place stands a fine equestrian statue of King William III. On the pedestal is this inscription:- "This statue was erected in 1734, to the memory of King William, our great deliverer."
The whale fishery constitutes a principal branch in the commercial concerns of Hull, which sends out to Greenland and Davis Straits, a greater number of ships than any port in Britain.
Hull sends two members to Parliament. -It first returned 33rd Edward I. but ceased sending till 12th Edward II. The right of election is in the Burgesses, of which there are about 1,400. The Sheriff is the returning Officer. --Oldfield on Boroughs.