COTTINGHAM: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1892.


Wapentake of Harthill (South Hunsley Beacon Division) - County Council Electoral Division of Cottingham - Petty Sessional Division of South Hunsley Beacon - Poor Law Union of Sculcoates - County Court District of Hull - Rural Deanery of Kingston-upon-Hull - Archdeaconry of the East Riding - Diocese of York.

Cottingham is an ancient parish, lying in the low flat ground between the Wolds and the river Hull. Its total area, including the hamlets of Dunswell and Newland, is 9,831 acres; its rateable value, £56,421; and the population in 1891 was 3,800. Newland and Dunswell have been constituted separate ecclesiastical parishes, but for all civil purposes they are included in that of Cottingham. By The Hull Extension Act," of 1882, a portion of Newland, containing 1,130 acres, was added to that borough, but for other than municipal purposes it remains as heretofore. By a Local Government Order, dated 5th December, 1879, a detached part of the parish of Skidby, called "Skidhy Carr," or "Skidby Jugs," was amalgamated with Cottingham. A portion of the parish lies upon the chalkstone rock of the Wolds; the soil of the rest varies from light loam to clay. A large portion of the ground is occupied by market gardens, from which the town of Hull is supplied with produce. Wheat, oats, and barley are also sparingly grown. The principal landowners are Benjamin Blaydes Haworth-Booth, Esq., Hull Bank House, who is also lord of the manor; Charles John Ringrose and Jeffry Wyatville Ringrose, Esqrs., of Cottingham Grange; Charles Percy Sykes, Esq., J.P., of West Ella; David Wilson, Esq., J.P., of Park House, Cottingham; Sir James Walker, Bart., Sand Hutton, York; Edward Warner, Esq.; and William Hall Wilkinson, Esq.

Cottingham is a place of considerable antiquity, though it does not come into prominence till the Norman Conquest. It appears, from its name, to have been an Anglian clan station - the ham or settlement of the Cottings. The same tribal name is found in Cottingwith, in the East Riding; Cottingley, in the West Riding; in Cottingham, in Northamptonshire; Cottenham, in Cambridgeshire; and probably in the Coddingtons of Cheshire, Hereford, and Suffolk, and also Coddenham, in the latter county. A more attractive etymology has been adopted by the Rev. Charles Overton, the historian of the parish. Each of its three syllables, he says, is suggestive of a separate idea and pleasing thought. There is the sheltering Cot, the grassy Ing, and the native Ham or home. But, unhappily for such pleasant associations, he adds, it is conceived that ket, not cot, was originally the first syllable; and Ket, we are told, was the name of the great female deity of the Ancient Britons - a sort of goddess of the woods, from the Celtic Coed, a wood. Cottingham is, therefore, a Saxon residence on a British site, the name implying a sheltered habitation in the meadows of Ket.

The earliest owner of Cottingham, whose name has been recorded, was Gamel, the son of Osbert, who held it in the reign of Edward the Confessor. This Saxon proprietor was dispossessed by William the Conqueror, who gave the manor (described in Domesday Book as four miles in length) to Robert Front de Boeuf, one of his favourite warriors, who fixed his residence here. He accompanied the Conqueror to England, and was styled d'Estoteville, from the place of his birth in Normandy. From him were descended the Stutevilles, a family that figures prominently in the history of early feudal times. There were few events in those rough old days in which a Stuteville had not some part or share. Robert de Stuteville was one of the leaders at the battle of the Standard, A.D. 1138. William de Stuteville, his son, in the year 1200, entertained King John and his queen at his mansion house at Cottingham; and so pleased was the king with his reception and entertainment, that he granted several important privileges both personally to Stuteville and locally to Cottingham. He settled in his favour a long standing dispute between him and the Archbishop of York, concerning certain rights in the river Hull; and he also gave him permission to embattle his castle at Cottingham, better known afterwards as Baynard's Castle, and fortify it with a moat. De Stuteville was also constituted high sheriff of the county, an office which he had previously held only by substitution; and a charter was granted for a weekly market and a half-yearly fair at Cottingham.

Nicholas de Stuteville died 17th Henry III. (1233), leaving two daughters, Joan and Margaret, co-heiresses. The former married Hugh le Wake, and their son, Baldwin le Wake, succeeded his mother in Cottingham, Hessle, Etton, Alstornwick, Brantingham, North Cave, Skipwith, Sculcoates, &c. Joan had for her seal the figure of a woman riding sideways, she being the first, it is said, that rode in that manner. The Wakes were of Saxon origin, and the owners of many broad acres centuries before the Normans came to fatten on the spoils of the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy. One of their remote ancestors was Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and husband of the Lady Godiva, of Coventry fame. Hereward le Wake, a member of this family, has earned for himself imperishable fame by his long and stubborn resistance in the Fens of Lincolnshire, to the wholesale appropriation of his patrimonial lands by the Normans.

Cottingham became the chief residence of the new owners, and from here John le Wake was summoned to parliament, as a baron, in 1295. He fought in the Scottish and French wars, in which he displayed courage and military abilities of the highest order, and won the golden opinions of his sovereign, Edward I. In 1299, that monarch, on his return from Scotland, spent his Christmas with Lord Wake at Baynard Castle, where he was magnificently entertained, and confirmed the charter of King John with increased privileges. It was also on this occasion that the charter was granted founding the port of Kingston-upon-Hull, then only a cluster of fishermen's huts, and constituting it a free borough.

The next Lord Wake died soon after his father, and was never summoned to parliament. He was succeeded by his brother, Thomas, Lord Wake, one of the most notable men of a notable family. For the first 17 years of the reign of Edward II. he was constantly in the wars, either in Scotland or France, and played a conspicuous part in all the affairs of the time. He held many important offices, and in 1319 he received from Edward III. a charter for a weekly market and two yearly fairs at Cottingham, with a patent to convert his manor house into a castle of defence, and power to maintain within it an armed garrison. He founded here, in 1324, an Augustinian monastery, and endowed it with lands and liberties in Cottingham, but the establishment was subsequently removed to Haltemprice.

He was allied by marriage to the royal family, and his sister Margaret also married a royal duke. The issue of this marriage was Joan Plantagent, the Fair Maid of Kent, who married for her second husband the renowned Black Prince, and became the mother of the unfortunate Richard II. Thomas, Lord Wake, dying without issue, the barony of Cottingham devolved on his sister Margaret, thence to the Fair Maid of Kent, and from her it descended to Thomas Lord Holland, her eldest son by her first husband, who became Baron Wake and Earl of Kent. It remained with the Holland family till 1407, when, Lord Wake dying without male issue, Cottingham was divided into three parts to form separate marriage jointures for his three daughters, who were respectively married to the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Westmoreland, and Lord Powis. The three portions became separate manors, known as Cottingham Richmond, Cottingham Westmoreland, and Cottingham Powis, which names they still retain.

The castle stood a little west of the village, and, though every vestige of the fabric has disappeared, there are still faint traces of the moat and dyke, by which this celebrated fortress was once defended. A romantic story is told of its destruction. In 1541 Henry VIII., of uxorious memory, was in Hull, and hearing of the exquisite beauty of Lady Wake, determined to see the lovely Venus himself. He accordingly despatched messengers to Lord Wake, informing him that next day he would honour Baynard Castle by a visit. Lord Wake, knowing the amorous tendencies of his monarch, was afraid to risk the honour and virtue of his wife by receiving the royal Bluebeard into his house. To decline the royal visit would be an offence which would probably cost him his life; he, therefore, determined to preserve the honour of his house and the virtue of his wife by sacrificing his property. Under the cover of night Lord and Lady Wake departed from the castle, and the steward, acting upon instructions previously received, set fire to the building. In the morning nothing remained of the noble mansion but a black pile of smouldering ruins. News was conveyed to the king next morning of the destruction of the castle by an accidental fire, and Henry, to show his sympathy, offered the unfortunate nobleman £2,000 towards rebuilding it, which munificent offer was politely declined.

This story, we may state, is pure fiction; there was no Lord Wake at the time; the barony was then and is still in abeyance: and the castle had disappeared long before the date given, Leyland, the antiquary, who visited Cottingham in 1538, writes, "I saw where the Stuteville's castelle, dobell diked and moated stude, of the which now nothing remaynith." In like manner Camden in 1590, describes it as an ancient ruin, and utterly fallen to decay.

The three manors of Cottingham Richmond, Westmoreland, and Powis, subsequently passed through various hands, and in the reign of Charles I. had reverted to the Crown. They were sold by that king, and after many changes, were purchased in 1768, by General Burton; his descendant sold them to Mr. Blaydes Haworth, who left them to his nephew, Benjamin Haworth, Esq., from whom they have descended to the present owner, Col. Benjamin Blaydes Haworth-Booth.

There are other two manors known as Cottingham Sarum and the Rectory manor. The former, which is said, though doubtfully, to have been named Sarum from Sacrus de Sutton, who cut the drain that forms the present channel of the river Hull, passed from Thomas Holland, Duke of Surrey, to the Barringtons, thence to the Winns, and then belonged to the Beckfords and the Tates. The Rectory manor consists of lands formerly belonging to the priory of Haltemprice, and given by Henry VIII. to the newly founded bishopric of Chester.

HALTEMPRICE PRIORY. Allusion has already been made to this priory, founded by Thomas Lord de Wake at Cottingham in 1322. Lord Wake had extensive lands in Lincolnshire, and from the convent of Bourne in that county, he peopled his new foundation with Augustinian friars or black canons. Scarcely had a year passed, when the monks found that their title to the ground on which the monastery stood, was a limited one, and liable to forfeiture; and they consequently, in 1324, removed to another site on the estate, to which they obtained a perpetual title. The name of the place was changed from Newton to Alta-Prisa or Altemprice, and the priory was dedicated in honour of the Nativity, the Annunciation, and the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The signification of the name has not been satisfactorily explained. The founder endowed the priory with many lands and liberties, and it was also enriched by grants from other benevolent and pious persons. At the Dissolution, the brotherhood consisted of a prior and 12 canons, and their revenues were valued at £178 0s. 10½d. gross, or £100 0s. 3d. nett.

The last prior was John Wymersley, who was appointed in 1506. During his priorate a quarrel arose between the monks and the sheriff of Hull. The latter claimed to exercise his jurisdiction within the domains of the convent, and the prior refused to admit him, declaring that his liberty (including Willerby and Wolfreton) was not in the shire of Hull, but in the lordship of Cottingham. Previous sheriffs had made the same claim, and the prior having lodged a complaint in the Star Chamber, the matter was referred to the arbitration of the Abbot of Meaux, Sir William Constable, and others, who determined in favour of the prior. Notwithstanding this decision, on the 6th of October, 1515, the sheriff, with about 200 of the inhabitants of Hull, proceeded to Wolfreton to keep his turn as usual. The prior, apprised of his coming, armed his tenants and monks, and opposed the entry of the sheriff and his attendants. The latter used some very abusive and insulting language, and a battle ensued. For some time they fought with alternate success, and victory fluctuated from side to side, till at length the monks gave way, and fled for sanctuary to their priory. They were pursued by the sheriff and his party, who threatened to pull down the priory, but were prevented from carrying their threat into execution by the timely arrival of the mayor of Hull with about 60 horsemen, who prevented further mischief. Tue prior filed a bill in the Star Chamber against the sheriff and his abettors, and several cross suits were entered, which continued for three years. The whole matter in dispute was at last left to the decision of John Eland, Esq., mayor, and George and Edward Maddison, aldermen of Hull, as sole arbitrators in the case. Their decision was a compromise between the contending parties; the monks were to yield to the inhabitants of Hull all their right and claim to the fresh water springs of Anlaby, and the mayor and burgesses were to relinquish their claim to the royalty of Willerby and Newton.

The site of the priory was given or sold to Thomas Culpepper in 1541; it was afterwards granted to the Ellerkers, and now belongs to Arthur Wilson, Esq., of Tranby Croft. The place comprises 208 acres, and was formerly extraparochial. A farmhouse occupies the site of the priory, over the front door of which is the date 1584. Not a vestige of the building is now to be seen, but human remains and antiquities have been occasionally dug up in the "Priory Fields." In 1850 the Priory seal was dug up on the Park farm, and an engraving of it is given in Tickell's History of Hull.

There was, in Cottingham, in those pre-Reformation times, a guild dedicated to St. George. It consisted of the merchants and tradesmen of the place, who were associated together for their material and spiritual welfare, under the direction of one of the canons of Haltemprise. There was another fraternity called the Guild of Corpus Christi. These guilds had for their object the protection of trade and the interest of the workmen, and were the precursors of the modern trade unions, differing only in this, that they were under the mollifying influences of religion, and represented both labour and capital.

The village, formerly a market town, is large, and contains many well-built houses, inhabited by the merchants and tradesmen of Hull. It stand about four miles north-west of that town, and near the station of its own name, on the North-Eastern railway. It is governed by a Local Board, formed in 1864; and the streets are lighted by gas, by works established about 40 years ago, and now the property of a limited liability company. There are 135 public lamps. A drainage scheme, on a large scale, has been carried out during the last 25 years, at a cost of £24,500.

The church, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, is a handsome cruciform structure of stone, consisting of chancel, nave, aisles, transepts, south porch, and a lofty embattled central tower, with eight pinacles, containing a clock and four bells. It was built in 1272, upon the site of an ancient one, then taken down. The original style was Early English; but in the Perpendicular period which prevailed from 1399 to 1547; the chancel was rebuilt, and windows of the latter style were also inserted in the transepts and tower. The chancel and aisles are battlemented; and the latter are separated from the nave by arcades of five pointed arches, springing from clustered columns with plain capitals. The edifice exhibits, in every detail, refinement of taste and harmony of proportion, and stands out in bold contrast to the barn-like structures erected in the 17th, 18th, and the first half of the present century. How was it that in those mediæval times, which we are wont to call the Dark Ages, such magnificent temples were raised to the living God. Our best works of to-day are but copies, more or less close, of those of our forefathers, and with all our modern advancement and enlightenment, we have been unable to originate a new style or even an improvement in ecclesiastical architecture. One apologist, with a tinge of religious bias, says that in those Dark Ages so much was thought of the material fabric, that the spiritual building was well nigh forgotten; and, that after the Reformation, so much was thought about the purity of the worship, that the style of the architecture was never considered. Perhaps the answer of Heine, the great German poet and essayest, when asked the same question, is nearer the truth: "the men of that day had convictions, while we moderns have only opinions, and something more than opinions is required to build a cathedral."

The interior was thoroughly restored in 1845, at a cost of about £1,500, and contains 1,100 sittings, all of which are free, but some are allotted to families. In stained glass memorial windows the church is especially rich. The seven lights of the east window were presented by Mrs. Gee, in memory of her parents, and cost, it is said, £900. On the south side of the chancel is a memorial window to the late Rev. Charles Overton, who was for 48 years vicar of the parish. The window of the south transept is in memory of the late Thomas Wilson, Esq., of Hull, founder of the well-known shipping line, and cost about £800. The west window was erected by subscription, to the memory of the three Misses Travis, one of whom died at the age of 100 years. The above windows are by Capronnier, of Brussels, and are very fine examples of art. There are other stained glass windows, erected by members of the Ringrose and Newton families. The reredos, in sculptured Caen stone and marble, was given by the late Thomas Wilson, Esq., and the brass eagle lectern by the late R. W. Jameson, Esq. A new organ, by Forster & Andrews, of Hull, was erected in 1860, at a cost of £760, chiefly contributed by Messrs. J. C. Williamson and Thomas Wilson. On the floor of the chancel is the handsome and interesting monumental brass of Nicholas de Luda, a Capuchin friar and prebendary of Beverley, who was presented to the rectory in 1364, by Edward the Black Prince. The rector is represented in his cope, under a richly crocketed canopy, surmounted by a flat super-canopy. Around the margin is an inscription in Latin verse, which was restored at the expense of the late Thomas Ringrose Voase, Esq., of Anlaby. It runs as follows

"Huius erat rector domûs ho Nicholaus humatus
Factor et erector de Ludâ queso beatus
Porro vires Christi gestans dedit ecclesiarum
Præbendas isti Beverlaci quoque Sarum
Famelicos pavit, rixantes pacificavit
Nudos armavit feneratam nam geminavit:
Sed quia labe carens sub cælo nullus habetur
Natum Virgo parens aie pete propiciatur,
Obijt iii die mensis Junii anno uni millie ccclxxxiiij."

The Latinity is bad, and some of the lines scarcely translateable according to grammatical rules, but the following lines, given in the History of Cottingham, by the late Rev. Charles Overton, express sufficiently close the meaning of the epitaph

"Here Nicholas of Louth beneath is laid,
Entomb'd within the chancel that he made!
Both rector and erector; may he rest
In peace and to eternity be blessed
For Christ, and for his Church, his zeal and love
Prebendal stalls in rich abundance prove;
Yonder in Beverley they meet thy view,
Nor there alone, in distant Sarum too.
He fed the hungry, kindly helped the poor,
Contending neighbours reconciled once more;
He cloth'd the naked; for his hands restored
Each varied talent doubled to his Lord;
But since on earth immaculate is none
Mary for him propitiate thy Son!
He departed this life June 6th, 1383."

Another ancient brass is that of John Smyth, who died in 1504, and Joan, his wife.

The bells in the tower date from 1752, and the clock was put in in 1886, at a cost of £300, raised by public subscription. The registers begin with 1563, and have been continued uninterruptedly to the present time.

The living has been reconstituted as a rectory by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners; gross yearly value £300, with £120 added, towards the maintenance of a curate, in the gift of the Bishop of Chester, who is the impropriator of the great tithes, amounting to £960. The present rector is the Rev. Henry Plumptre Ramsden, B.A., Oxford, who is assisted by the Rev. Granville Gregory, curate.

The present Congregational chapel, erected in 1819, is a two storey building, capable of seating 450 persons. The register of Baptisms dates from 1692, `when the first chapel was erected. There is a small endowment consisting of the three-fifths of the interest of £500, left by Samuel Ringrose, in 1841, towards the support of the minister, the remaining two-fifths of the interest is given to the poor. The Wesleyan chapel in Hallgate, is a large brick structure, erected in 1878, at a cost of £3,800, in lieu of an older building in Northgate. The Primitive Methodists have also a chapel here, built in 1861.

A School Board of five members was formed in 1877, for the extra-municipal portion of the parish, to which was transferred the management of the existing schools, and the old Wesleyan school was utilised for girls. New schools for boys, girls, and infants, are now in course of erection in Hallgate, at a cost of £7,000. There are 520 children at present on the books. Mark Kirby, in 1712, endowed Cottingham school with 17 acres of land, for the education of ten poor children. The income of this trust has been wasted for many years past in legal expenses, but a new scheme will shortly be issued by the Charity Commissioners for the administration of this charity.

The churchyard was closed in 1889, and the same year a new cemetery, containing three acres, situated about one mile from the church, was formed at a cost of £2,000, including the erection of the mortuary chapel, and the superintendent's residence.

In the old churchyard stands a vestry hall, used for the transaction of parochial business, also for political meetings and dairy purposes.

The parish possesses numerous springs, from which there is copious discharge of excellent water. Those at Spring Head, about two miles south of the village, have been known from time immemorial as Julian Springs, which for a long time supplied all the fresh water used in the town of Hull. The privilege of taking this water was granted to the borough by its royal founder, and confirmed by later kings. The water was conveyed in an open conduit to the town; but the people of Cottingham could not brook this appropriation of their crystal springs, and considerable friction arose between them and the people of Hull, which at last broke out into open riot. "In the spring of the year 1392," writes Sheahan, "about 1,000 of the inhabitants of Cottingham, Woolferton, Anlaby, and other neighbouring villages, assembled in a tumultuous manner to obtain satisfaction from the people of Hull, for depriving them of their fresh water. They laid siege to that town, threatening to raze it to the ground, diverted the course of the canals, and filled them up, and they also prevented provisions from being conveyed into the town from the country. Finding that they were not able to intimidate the inhabitants of Hull, they withdrew in great disorder, and encamped at Cottingham. How long they continued together, or what other acts of hostility they committed, is not recorded, but at the York assizes following, many of them received sentence of death, and were executed, and others were pardoned on certain conditions." The deterrent effect of these severities was but transient; more rioting followed, and when the villagers were too weak for open hostilities, they carried on their secret annoyance by polluting the water with carrion, breaking down the embankments of the canal, or letting in the salt water. The people of Hull besought the pope to place the offending villages under the ban of the church. The pope, however, did not issue against them the thunders of the vatican, but wrote an expostulatory letter reminding them of the uncharitableness of their conduct, the reward promised to those who give a cup of cold water, admonishing them to repent of their sins, and by their future conduct to atone in some measure for past offences. The pope's letter had the desired effect; the springs and watercourses were never afterwards interfered with.

Hull still draws all its water from this parish. There are works at Spring Head - where artesian wells have been sunk to a depth of nearly 400 feet - at Stoneferry, which draw the water from the river Hull; and additional works have been recently constructed at Mill Dam Springs, about half a mile north of the village.

At Keldgate (Spring road in modern English), about one mile from the village, are several intermittent springs, which gush forth at uncertain intervals, and for several weeks - or months, it may be - send forth an astonishing quantity of water. The periods of activity are very uncertain; somtimes they are dry for two, three, or even seven years. The cause of the phenomenon is not known with absolute certainty, though there appears to be some connection between them and heavy rainfalls. Our forefathers attributed the periods of their activity to the flowing or flooding of the Derwent, 20 miles distant; hence the couplet -

"When Derwent flows,
Then Keldgate goes."

CHARITIES. - In addition to the charity already mentioned in connection with the endowment of the Congregational chapel, the poor receive the interest of £223, left by James Milner in 1750; of £114, bequeathed in 1813 by Joseph Meadley; and of £244, left by Joseph Gee. They have also the rent of four acres of land, awarded at the enclosure. Property in New Village, now producing about £80 per annum, was left before 1650 for "the repairs of the parish church of Cottingham," and is administered by the churchwardens.

NEWLAND, including Dunswell, forms a separate ecclesiastical parish, and as it is a suburb of Hull, and partly within the municipal borough, it will be noticed under that town.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of East Yorkshire (1892)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1892.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.