Outlying villages: Marfleet

Pages 464-467

A History of the County of York East Riding: Volume 1, the City of Kingston Upon Hull. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1969.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section


The chapelry of Marfleet, which had become a parish independent of its mother church at Paull by the early 18th century, lay on the bank of the Humber, about 2½ miles to the east of the River Hull. The parish comprised 1,285 acres. (fn. 25) It was separated from Drypool on the west by the River Wilflete, later the Holderness Drain, from Bilton on the north by the Marfleet Old Drain, and from Preston on the east by the Old Fleet.

Marfleet, 'the pool stream', (fn. 26) lay in low, marshy ground, often subject to flooding. The settlement was small, and from an early date it was doubtless grouped on the west and south-west sides of the church, where it lay in the 18th century. (fn. 27) It seems originally to have been linked mainly by footpaths to neighbouring villages. A 'west gate' existed as early as 1397, (fn. 28) however, and there was a street of that name in 1706. (fn. 29) By 1786 Marfleet Lane ran from the village to the Holderness road. (fn. 30) By 1830 Back Lane and Greatfield Lane ran to the southwest and south-east from Marfleet Lane. (fn. 31) In 1833 all three lanes were linked in the south by the new Hull-Hedon turnpike road, which ran along the Humber bank. (fn. 32)

The topography of the village seems to have changed little until the second half of the 18th century. The manor-house, the site of which is not known, was rebuilt shortly before 1784, (fn. 33) and in 1793 the church, too, was rebuilt. (fn. 34) The appearance of the village was not changed again until the later 19th century, when National and Board schools and at least one Methodist chapel were built there. (fn. 35) Nevertheless, when it was incorporated in the borough of Hull in 1882, (fn. 36) Marfleet retained its rural character. It did not lose it finally until about 1912 when the population of Hull followed the newly-established light industries into the parish, and a block of streets was built, partly by J. H. Fenner & Co., close to the village. (fn. 37) After the Second World War two new housing estates covered most of the remaining space. (fn. 38)

The village was predominantly agricultural until the end of the 19th century. It had a windmill in 1595, (fn. 39) but there is no other sign of industrial activity until 1671 when the existence of two jetties suggests that there may have been a small fishing industry. (fn. 40) One jetty was in regular use until 1835. (fn. 41) Marfleet's preoccupation with agriculture dwindled rapidly after the building of Alexandra and King George Docks along and to the west of its waterfront, (fn. 42) and the establishment in the parish in 1893 of the engineering firm of J. H. Fenner. Marshalling yards, timber yards, and warehouses appeared and light industries, such as paint and leather works, soon existed there. (fn. 43)

Marfleet was one of the smallest settlements in mid-Holderness. The earliest indication of its population is in 1297 when twelve taxpayers contributed £1 9s. to the ninth. (fn. 44) In 1334 the standard fifteenth was fixed at £3 6s. (fn. 45) Nothing more is known of the population until 1524 when there were five taxpayers who paid 7s. in all. (fn. 46) In 1584 the parish provided 36 armed men and 10 labourers at a muster. (fn. 47) Its numbers do not seem to have altered much in the next hundred years, and in 1673 33 people paid hearth tax. (fn. 48) By 1743, however, only 22 families were counted in the parish. (fn. 49) The population grew in the 19th century to 193 in 1851. It fluctuated thereafter but had reached 373 in 1901. (fn. 50)

Manors and Other Estates

In 1086 one bovate of land at Marfleet formed a berewick of the Archbishop of York's manor of Swine, while other land, described variously as two or four carucates, lay in the soke of Drew de Bevrere's manor of Mappleton. (fn. 51) Nothing more is known of the archbishop's berewick until 1605 when Walter Cave held a messuage of the Crown which had formerly belonged to the provostry of Beverley; this probably represents the archbishop's original bovate. (fn. 52) Drew de Bevrere held the greater part of Holderness. His estate in MARFLEET, which later became the manor, continued to be held under the overlordship of the lords of Holderness. This overlordship is last mentioned in 1286, (fn. 53) although the lords of Holderness retained some rights in Marfleet until at least the early 17th century, when they had tolls there. (fn. 54) An intermediate lordship, held by the Roos family, is first mentioned in 1228. (fn. 55) The manor was held of that family until at least 1421. (fn. 56)

In the earlier 12th century the manor of Marfleet was held by the Marfleet family. (fn. 57) Later in that century, however, Stephen de Danthorp seems to have been associated with it. By 1228 Adam, his great-grandson, held a third share of it, the other two-thirds remaining with the Marfleets. (fn. 58) Nothing more is known of the lordship until 1313 when the widow of Stephen de Thorp was granting land in Marfleet. (fn. 59) From 1331 until late in the 16th century the Thorp family held a moiety of the manor. (fn. 60) Adam de Goxhill had part of the remainder in 1334, (fn. 61) but in 1343 it was held entirely by John de Wilton. (fn. 62) The Wiltons were granting land in Marfleet as late as 1379, (fn. 63) but nothing more is known of the descent of their portion, which may have been acquired by the Thorps or divided further. Certainly, on two subsequent occasions a fifth part of a third of the manor is recorded: on the first, in 1615, it was held by the Keld family; (fn. 64) on the second, in 1718, it was conveyed by Richard Lyth and others to Thomas Harrison and John Richardson. (fn. 65)

In 1530 William Thorp sold much of his land in Marfleet to John Lambert who in turn sold it to St. John's College, Cambridge. (fn. 66) In 1539 Thorp conveyed his share of the manor itself and six messuages to Henry Pygge. (fn. 67) This had returned to the Thorps by 1596 when the manor and four of the messuages were conveyed to Marmaduke Hadesley, together with the view of frankpledge in Marfleet. (fn. 68) The remaining two messuages were conveyed to Humphrey Hall and Hugh Graves in 1598. (fn. 69) Hadesley's land and manorial rights in Marfleet passed to Nathaniel Dring in 1614. (fn. 70) The manorhouse itself was still held by the Drings in 1764. (fn. 71) The inclosure award of that year, however, did not mention the lordship of the manor: (fn. 72) presumably the Drings' manorial right had lapsed by that date. The manor-house had passed to Samuel Menthrop by 1784 (fn. 73) and to the Rheam family by 1831. (fn. 74) In 1852 it was acquired by Sophia Broadley. (fn. 75)

Two religious houses owned estates in Marfleet. In 1547 the possessions there of St. James's College, Sutton, were granted to Sir Michael Stanhope, but in 1555 they were surrendered to the Crown. (fn. 76) They may have been among premises in Marfleet let by the Crown to Peter Almond in 1585. (fn. 77) The nucleus of the estate held in Marfleet by the Priory of North Ferriby was 4 a., granted in 1379 by Thomas de Beverley and Thomas de Wilton. (fn. 78) In 1536, however, the priory had also rents from at least 2 bovates in Marfleet and its property there was worth over £21 a year. (fn. 79) In 1538 the Crown granted the priory's land there to Roger Raysyn and Thomas and William Aldred; (fn. 80) while the rents were granted in 1558 to John and William Butler. (fn. 81)

The largest setate in Marfleet was the 425 acres acquired by St. John's College, Cambridge, from William Thorp in 1530. It was then worth £25. In 1764 it was occupied by eight tenants. (fn. 82)


Little is known of the agricultural organization of Marfleet before the 18th century. In the 17th century, however, there were three open fields, Great Field to the east, Humber Field to the west, and Church or Ox Field probably to the north-east. (fn. 83) In 1688 a New Croft is mentioned, (fn. 84) and in 1706 there was another field, Inglitch or Longlands, in the north-west of the parish. (fn. 85) Meadows and pastures with grazing rights for sheep, cattle, and horses, included Bydales, the location of which is uncertain, New Forth and Inglond to the south-east, and the Common in the centre of the village. Five Acre Close, mentioned in 1688, and at least four named garths in the village were among the old inclosures. (fn. 86)

The inclosure of common fields and pastures in Marfleet, together with reclaimed land beyond the Humber bank, was established by an award of 1764 under an Act of 1763. The Act recited that the uninclosed lands comprised 24 bovates. St. John's College owned nine of these and ten other landowners the rest. In all, fifteen allotments were made, comprising a total of 986 a. There were two allotments of under 20 a., three of 20 a.–29 a., and five of 30 a.–39 a. Recipients of these included oldestablished Marfleet families like the Leggats, the Ducketts, and two branches of the Drings. Larger allotments went to Francis Brownsmith (58 a.), Trinity House, Hull (53 a.), Michael Ake (52 a.), Mathew Remington (106 a.), and St. John's College (331 a.).

Each allotment was distributed among two or more fields and pastures. Plots totalling 161 a. were allotted in New Pasture, 56 a. in Longlands, 52 a. in the Common, and 13 a. in Bydales. Other plots were allotted jointly in two or more pastures; they comprised 39 a. in New Pasture and Longlands, 51 a. in New Pasture, Bydales, and the Common, and 6 a. in New Pasture and the Common. Plots totalling 91 a. were allotted in Humber Field, 76 a. in Great Field, 27 a. in Inglond, 24 a. in Church Field, and 10 a. in New Forth. New Croft was allotted as a single plot of 10 a. Three plots comprising 144 a. lay jointly in Great Field and New Forth, one of 22 a. in Great Field and Church Field, and two of 48 a. in New Forth and Inglond. A strip of reclaimed land was left uninclosed and was used as a stinted pasture. It comprised 106 a., and it apparently included the Growths, Humber Bank, and land later known as Paddock Common. The award commuted almost all tithes. (fn. 87) Some small exceptions were merged in 1843. (fn. 88)

Remains of Marfleet's agricultural character have not been totally eradicated in the 20th century. In 1910 there were six farms; the site of another had only a short time before been occupied by a paintworks. (fn. 89) The houses and ancillary buildings of four of these farms remained in the 1950s. (fn. 90) Two were occupied for other purposes soon after, and one of these was demolished in 1960–1. (fn. 91) Of the existing farm-houses the oldest is the Grange, much of which dates from the late 18th century. (fn. 92) Eastview, now a sports pavilion, (fn. 93) and Leaholm Farm are 19thcentury buildings.

The upkeep of a sewer in Marfleet is first mentioned in the late 14th century, and a sluice was built there in 1383. (fn. 94) Little more is known of the pattern of drainage, however, until the 17th century, when land was flooded during the siege of Hull. (fn. 95) In 1671 the repair and upkeep of the sluice, the Humber bank, and the jetties were strictly enforced. (fn. 96) During the 18th century sums varying from £50 to £150 were assessed on between 20 and 40 persons for this purpose. (fn. 97) Under the inclosure award, the making of which was impeded by severe flooding, three new drains were added to the network of minor drains traversing the parish, and land was set aside for repairing the Humber bank. During the rest of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th, Marfleet was included in several abortive drainage schemes for Holderness. Finally, in 1832, work began on the Holderness Drain, which was to empty into the Humber at Marfleet. (fn. 98) The sluice mentioned in the 17th century may have been that called Marfleet Clough in 1855 which was the outlet of the Marfleet Drain into the Humber, south of the village. (fn. 99)


  • 25. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 494.
  • 26. P.N.E.R. Yorks. (E.P.N.S.), 213.
  • 27. Tuke's plan Holderness, 1786.
  • 28. E.R.R.O., DDCC/111/15.
  • 29. Ibid. DDHB/27/43.
  • 30. Tuke's plan Holderness, 1786.
  • 31. Page's plan Holderness, 1831.
  • 32. O.S. Map 6" (1855); see p. 391.
  • 33. E.R.R.O., DDHB/27/21.
  • 34. See p. 302.
  • 35. See pp. 324, 365.
  • 36. See p. 6.
  • 37. R. Davis, Twenty-one and a Half Bishop Lane, 24–26.
  • 38. See p. 280.
  • 39. C 142/278/223.
  • 40. E.R.R.O., CSR/22/1.
  • 41. Ibid. /21/7; /31/102.
  • 42. See pp. 251, 270.
  • 43. O.S. Map 25" (1910).
  • 44. Yorks. Lay Subsidy (1297) (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 16), 129.
  • 45. E 179/202/43.
  • 46. E 179/202/168; no figure for the poll tax of 1377 is available.
  • 47. Miscellany, v (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 116), 95.
  • 48. E 179/205/518.
  • 49. Abp. Herring's Visit. Ret. ii (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 72), 176–7.
  • 50. V.C.H. Yorks. iii. 494.
  • 51. Ibid. ii. 210n., 265, 325, 326.
  • 52. C 142/287/66.
  • 53. Cal. Inq. p.m. iv, p. 352.
  • 54. C 142/310/79.
  • 55. Cur. Reg. R. xiii. 149.
  • 56. Yorks. Inq. Hen. IV–V (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 59), 165.
  • 57. E.Y.C. xi. 104; Poulson, Hist. Holderness, 318.
  • 58. Cur. Reg. R. xiii. 149.
  • 59. Poulson, Hist. Holderness, 318.
  • 60. Yorks. Fines, 1327–47 (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 42), 36; Yorks. Fines, iv. 41.
  • 61. Yorks. Fines, 1327–47, 59.
  • 62. Cal. Inq. p.m. viii, p. 343.
  • 63. Cal. Pat. 1377–81, 374.
  • 64. Yorks. Fines, 1614–25 (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 58), 42.
  • 65. C.P. 25(2)/1083/4 Geo. I Hilary.
  • 66. Ex inf. Mr. F. P. White, Keeper of Records, St. John's College, Cambridge, 1966.
  • 67. Yorks. Fines, i. 85.
  • 68. Ibid. iv. 41.
  • 69. Ibid. 99.
  • 70. Yorks. Fines, 1614–25 (Y.A.S. Rec. Ser. 58), 24.
  • 71. E.R.R.O., DDHB/27/19.
  • 72. See below.
  • 73. E.R.R.O., DDHB/27/21.
  • 74. Ibid. /27/36.
  • 75. Ibid. /27/82.
  • 76. Cal. Pat. 1547–8, 170, 250; 1554–5, 17.
  • 77. E 310/33/198.
  • 78. Cal. Pat. 1377–81, 374.
  • 79. Ibid. 1557–8, 383; Dugdale, Mon. vi. 590.
  • 80. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xxi (1), p. 782.
  • 81. Cal. Pat. 1557–8, 383.
  • 82. H. F. Howard, Finances of St. John's College, Cambridge, 35.
  • 83. See e.g. E.R.R.O., DDHB/27/3, 4; O.S. Map 6" (1855).
  • 84. E.R.R.O., DDHB/27/4.
  • 85. Ibid. /27/43.
  • 86. Ibid. /27/3, 4.
  • 87. 3 Geo. III, c. 30 (priv. Act); Registry of Deeds, Beverley, AF/122/8.
  • 88. E.R.R.O., DDHB/27/37.
  • 89. O.S. Map 25" (1910).
  • 90. O.S. Map 2½" (1953).
  • 91. Ex inf. Mr. W. E. Helm, J. H. Fenner & Co. Ltd.
  • 92. Ex inf. Mrs. F. G. Bedell.
  • 93. Ex inf. Mr. Helm.
  • 94. Pub. Works in Med. Law, ii (Selden Soc. 40), 312; Cal. Pat. 1381–5, 359.
  • 95. Howard, Finances of St. John's College, 65.
  • 96. E.R.R.O., CSR/22/1.
  • 97. Ibid./16/6, 24, 45, 71, 78, 79, 81, 83, 85, 89, 94, 96, 97, 104.
  • 98. June Sheppard, Draining of the Hull Valley (E. Yorks. Loc. Hist. Ser. no. 8), 13–14, 18–19.
  • 99. O.S. Map 6" (1855).