A small extract from a book called “A Gossip about old Grimsby” by Mr. Bates
We will now transfer ourselves to the Nuns, and commence our perambulations along the roads and streets of Old Grimsby, and gossip about their characteristics and objects of interest, antiquarian and otherwise, which the various localities may suggest. The Nuns’ Farm House is the site of Saint Leonard’s Nunnery, where was a small Society of Benedictine Nuns, established about the time of Henry I. At the suppression of the Society in 1543, its possessions were granted by Henry VIII. to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, and are flow the property of the Earl of Yarborough.
All the surrounding fields up to the boundaries of adjoining parishes, were unenclosed and common lands. In 1827 the proceedings for the enclosure were initiated, but the award was not signed till May, 1840. Before the Act of Parliament could be obtained for the enclosure of the common lands, the consent of a majority of the Freemen was necessary, which was obtained at a meeting held for the purpose. Except forty, all the Freemen gave their consent, under the influence of twenty pounds a man. At the meeting, one of the forty threw a halter amongst the majority, saying: “Here, you fools, take this and go and hang yourselves.” Some of the forty afterwards fell under the influence and received the bribe, but a few honest and far-seeing Freemen declined to be parties to the transaction. Mr. Burcham, Lord Yarborough’s agent, was the Commissioner.
When the Freemen knew how the land had been disposed of, and their claims to certain rights of common rejected by the Commissioner; they complained bitterly, but, considering they had sold themselves and their successors, they had not much to complain of. Except allotments to the Vicar and Mr. Tennyson, all the land from Chantry Lane to Bradley Lordship on the North side of Laceby Road, and the West side of Scartho Road, was allotted to Lord Yarborough, and the land from the East side of Scartho Road to the Town, was allotted to Mr. Heneage.
The corner field to the right, turning from the Scartho Road, was called Gallows Hill. In the 13th century a certain Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, claimed to have royal liberties in the Borough, including the power of erecting a gallows and of suspending unruly people upon it. The Mayor of Grimsby also had a gallows, both of which were freely used when questions of tolls arose, and physical resistance resulted. There is good reason to assume that this field being at the entrance to the town where tolls were demanded, was the locality of a gallows— whether that of the Earl of Lincoln or of the Mayor, cannot now be ascertained, hence its name. It was also the spot in later times where the old Methodists held their camp meetings, and annual fairs were held there. Being so near the Abbey and the Nunnery, the Abbots of Wellow may have derived some income from the tolls of the fairs, for in many instances the right of exacting tolls of goods at fairs was attached to Abbeys.
The old toll-gate set up in the year 1765 across the turnpike at the Weelsby Road end, was abolished in 1856.
Arriving at the “Wheatsheaf Inn,” we will pause. Nearly opposite Mr. Cook’s house, was a cottage and garden occupied by Tommy Wilkinson, an old Waterloo man, he was so thoroughly impressed there was a gold mine beneath his garden, that he commenced to dig and excavate, but the deeper the excavation became, the fainter were his impressions, until he had none left to sustain his hopes of finding gold. Mary Plumtree, for some years the landlady of the “Wheatsheaf” was a very thin precise person; it was said the skirts of her gown only contained three widths of a gown piece, and her companion was a lark with a wooden leg. The old Inn has put on a modern lace, and the whale jaws, brought from Greenland by one of the Grimsby whalers, which formed the entrance to the yard of the Inn, have been transferred to ornament the Abbey Drive.
At the corner of Welholme Road stood a post wind corn-mill, which was burnt down about forty-five years ago. When digging there, not long since, a bronze Roman eagle banner-head was found. This being on the bank of the old Haven, is some evidence that the Romans encamped on that spot. I have told you that the Haven came near to the road at this point; according to Mr. Oliver it was the ancient commercial part of the Town, and coals were delivered there for dispatch into the country.
After the Publication of his “Monumental Antiquities of Grimsby” the enclosure took place, and he evidently was correct in there being a landing-place at this point, for on cutting a drain behind the “Wheatsheaf Inn” during the enclosure, fragments of an ancient boat moored by a chain to a post were discovered.
On the opposite side to the Inn, at the bottom of the opening between the two cottages, is the Town Spring Well, or what remains of. It, The field adjoining was called Spring Field, from which Spring Villas derive their name. From the Villas to Abbey Park Road was bog land with large hummocks, where was a willow plantation which the Fox-hounds occasionally drew when the meet was at Weelsby House.
At the point of the road formed by Bargate and Brighowgate was a pinfold, or parish pound, having in front of it stocks for the punishment of vagrants; and at the point formed by Abbey Road, a large blue stone was embedded, its flat surface being level with the road. I have not been able to ascertain whether any historical importance was attached to it; but it was a pity that it was broken up by the Sanitary Surveyor.
There were other blue stones for boundary purposes, one in Wellow gate and the others near Bath Street on the boundary line of Grimsby and Clee, and on the Bradley and Scartho boundaries.
In the year 1827 a very large blue stone occupied a conspicuous position at the entrance to Loath, and which was supposed had retained its station for at least three centuries. It is somewhat noticeable that Louth and Grimsby should have had large blue stones in similar positions. Where did the blue stones come from? and how came they to be placed in such positions? Are questions to be answered by Antiquarians. At the point of junction of Abbey Road and Brighowgate facing Bar- gate, a thatched cottage stood, which, with its whitewashed walls and rose-covered porch, was always a picturesque object.
Abbey Road has not long borne its name, it was formerly known as Love Lane and Watery Lane; as the latter it was only twelve feet wide in some parts of it; nor was it macadamized.
My house was the first built in the road, and when it was in that condition—that was in 1854—Brighowgate was an unmacadamized road, but in the centre of it, very irregularly laid, were cobbles for foot passengers.
In this road was the old House of Industry, built in 1802, which accommodated one hundred inmates. The building formed three sides of a square, with outhouses on part of the fourth or east side—the cottages with the stables belonging to Mr. Grange, are formed out of it. The House was not confined to the poor of the Borough; the adjoining villages also contributed their poor to it. When the Caistor Union Workhouse was built and. the Union District formed, Grimsby being within the District, the poor were removed from the old House of Industry to the Union Workhouse at Caistor, and in 1847 the old House was sold by auction.
By the Poor Law Act of 1834 Houses of Industry became Workhouses, a term which sounds penal. There was a treadmill in the old House of Industry which worked with the weight of four men, and ground sufficient corn for the use of all the inmates: it also ground bones for manure, worked a circular saw, and turned a grindstone. It was invented and erected by William Sherlock, son of the Governor of the House, for the purpose of curing “sham sick,” idle, and disorderly inmates. One of the matrons of the House under the influence of jealousy committed a gross assault on an inmate, for which she was prosecuted. The offence was described in the Bill of Indictment thus: “by binding “her to the treadmill in the dead of night, tearing off her “gown, loosing her stays, blindfolding her, and tying-up “her mouth; then with a bunch of oisiers flogging her on “the shoulders and all her back parts until the ends of “the oisiers split in pieces, and afterwards repeated her “flogging with a single tough stick until the parts flogged “were black with diffused blood beneath her skin.” This jealous matron underwent four months’ imprisonment for her vicious conduct. Leaving the House of Industry we come to the farm yard opposite to Grosvenor Street, where is the old pear tree on which the mythical raven perched, referred to in the “Byrde of Gryme.” When Grosvenor Street was formed, it included a crooked footpath about eight feet wide called Shag-foal Lane. Dr. Stephenson’s house was the old Manor House. The name of Sir Titus Salt, of Saltaire, is well-known; he married his wife, a Miss Whitlam, from that house.
In digging the foundations of the malt-kiln at the end of Brighowgate in the year 1825, were found in a good state of preservation an ivory figure of St. James, and a half figure of Our Saviour as He hung dead on the Cross, the lower part being broken off, the ribs of the naked body being perfect, and the upper part of the head perforated all round to imitate the punctures by the crown of thorns. It is not known where those relics now are.
Where they were found is supposed to be the site of the house of John Empringham; “Pra for ye saulle of Jhon Hemperynga” will be found inscribed in the upper turret of the Church Tower, and some history is given of him in Oliver’s Antiquities. A public house called “The Malt Shovel” formed the corner, afterwards converted into a private house. Since the lecture was delivered the malt-kiln and house have been pulled down and Salisbury Terrace occupies their place.
Returning to the pinfold at the west end of Brighowgate and passing along Bargate to the foot of the bridge is Dr. Moody’s house, where formerly stood a house once occupied by two ladies, aunt and cousin of Robert Lowe, the late Lord Sherbrooke, the aunt died there and was buried in Little Coates churchyard; a grave-stone to her memory, laid flat is on the south side of the Church under an elder tree. Robert Lowe when a boy spent his holidays with his aunt. The cousin married a Dr. Richmond here. Before the Railway Bridge was built, a road branched off to the right along the west side of the Churchyard; in this road was a low thatched cottage, the original Vicarage House called the “Homestall,” opposite an entrance to the Churchyard which led to the south porch and joined the present footway. The old house had one brick and two clay floors. Near the old Vicarage House were stables and sheds. From the east gate of the Churchyard to the gateway leading out of Wellowgate four cottages stood, which were pulled down when the Borough Improvement Act was passed in 1853. The present Wellowgate entrance to the Churchyard is only a restoration of an old gateway.
The original Town Hall and Gaol formed one block of buildings, and with the “Granby Inn,” stood on the open space west of the Corn Exchange, the principal front being to the shops extending from the Church gate to Riggall’s shop, the road between was called High Street; the Gaol buildings and the back part of the Inn fronted the cottages on the south part of the open space, forming a narrow street called Bethlehem Street. The Hall was a brick and timber structure, and tiled, with shops for a basement, and faced High Street—the room used as the Town Hall was above the shops. The buildings being in a ruinous condition were pulled down in 1780, and the late Town Hall and Gaol were erected on the site. The following are extracts from the Corporation Minute Books: “At a “Court held 4th April, 1780, whereas the Town’s Hall “belonging to the Corporation, with the buildings thereunto “belonging, are in so ruinous condition that no meeting “can be held therein without manifest danger, it is there- “fore the opinion of this Court that the same be taken “down and built upon a more commodious plan, and that the “next full Court do take in consideration plans and proposals “for rebuilding the said Hall, Gaol, and other necessary “Offices. It is also ordered and resolved that the Town Clerk “do give notice to the occupiers of the shops under the Hall “to quit the same at May-day next; and that the deeds, “writings, books, and papers be removed from the Hall “to the Town Clerk’s Office, to be there locked-up in a “private room till the said buildings be completed, and that “the key of the said room be delivered into the hands of the “Mayor.” Another full Court was held on the 11th April, 1780, and “it was ordered and agreed upon that the Town “Hall and Gaol be immediately taken down and rebuilt “upon the plan now produced; and it was ordered and “agreed that the Town Clerk do procure the sum of £200 “upon the security of the Corporation Estate, and that “in case the said sum shall not be found sufficient to “complete the said new buildings, that such further sum “be raised in like manner as shall be found necessary to “complete the same; and it is further ordered that the “money to be raised as aforesaid be paid into the hands “of Mr. William Hildyard, who is appointed to pay for “the work and materials, and to inspect and superintend “the said new buildings; and it is further ordered that Messrs. William Empson and John Skelton do begin to “take down the said Hall and Gaol to-morrow, and that they “employ such labourers as they should think proper.” The men of that day appear to have been men of action and not of talk only, their deliberations, production of plans, arrangements for money, and commencing to pull down only occupying eight days. The building was completed within a year, for Mr. Hildyard’s accounts were allowed on the 24th April, 1781. There is no entry in the Corporation Minute Book stating when the first meeting was held in the new Hall, nor whether there was any demonstration on the opening— was borrowed to pay for the new Hall. John Harrison and Francis Eyre, who had during the erection of the Hall been returned to represent the Borough in Parliament, paid £63 for their freedom of the Borough, which exactly balanced Mr. Hildyard’s account. The old wood of the taken-down buildings sold for £2 19g. 10d., and the tiles for £1 10s. 8d. It took seven days to pull down the old buildings, and ten labourers, in addition to Messrs. Aldermen Empson and Skelton, were employed therein; the latter receiving 2g. 6d. per day, and the labourers 1s. 4d. per day as their wages; 59,000 bricks were purchased for the building which cost 13g. per 1,000. The Aldermen of the last century believed in the dignity of labour, and that an Aldermanic labourer was of superior quality to a non-Aldermanic labourer, for he received nearly double the wages of the latter. It will be within the knowledge of many that the late Town Hall was a plain structure of one room, sixty feet long and twenty-four feet wide, having a gallery at the east end, with a shutter arrangement, which, when closed became the private Council Chamber, in which were a table covered with green baize and backed seats; it received light from a cupola. At the west end of the room was a row of seat-like benches fixed to the wall, and in the centre under the west window, was a seat with arms, slightly elevated, for the Mayor. Below was a table with seats on three sides of it, and a gangway leading fro the body of the Hall between two pew-like enclosures to the table. The Members of the Council transacted their business and held their full Courts at this part of the Hall, the remaining part being for the public.
The entrance to the Hall was from the High Street, and a door directly opposite led into the Gaol-yard. On the inner wall of the Hall next the Gaol, were fixed hand- irons to which offenders were fastened whilst undergoing the penalty of whipping. The Gaol buildings consisted of a lower room for male criminal prisoners, and an upper room for debtors. For females there was a room behind the gallery of the Town Hall, which was approached by stairs out of the Hall; and there was a Gaoler’s house with an open yard surrounded by a high brick wall, having loose bricks on the top of it. The upper room had two straw beds with blankets for the use of the debtors. In the centre of the floor of the lower room were leg-irons for refractory prisoners. The Gaoler had certain regulations to enforce; he was not to permit spirituous liquors in the Gaol, nor suffer tippling or gaming; but a prisoner for debt could have what he pleased (except spirituous liquors) on paying for what he ordered.
Every prisoner was allowed fourpenny-worth of bread per day, and one pound of coarse meat a week, except a prisoner for debt, who should not be sustained by, or have the allowance, on any pretence whatever.
In the old days justice was administered in a very primitive manner, and committals to prison took place without warrants in spite of actions for false imprisonment. A Constable would take into custody whom he thought he would, however trivial the offence, without further authority, and the Gaoler would incarcerate the unfortunate offender. The discharge of a prisoner was equally summary. A good story is told of old Tomlinson, the Gaoler, who had in custody a refractory prisoner who stormed, kicked, and threatened to pull down the Gaol. This so alarmed old Tomlinson that he went to the Mayor, Joseph Fletcher, who was imbibing in the adjoining Inn, and asked the course to take with the prisoner. The Mayor replied, “If the brute does not know how to behave himself, turn him out,” and he was turned out accordingly. One, whose name it would be improper to give, having loved not wisely but too well, and then forsaken his fair lady, was taken to the Gaol and kept there three days. He was then escorted direct from the Gaol to the Church, having been brought to a better state of mind, and ordered to marry the lady, who was waiting to receive him, and honourably repair .the wrong he had committed. He accepted freedom and the lady, and the marriage took place. Under the Act Geo. II., c. 31, a man at the instance of the Parish Authorities, could be ordered to marry a woman who had sworn that the child she was expecting to give birth and of which he was the father, in order that the child might not become chargeable to the parish. The Constable had to see the marriage ceremony performed.
The Hall, Gaol, and Inn were pulled down under the Improvement Act, as was the block of buildings extending to the length of the Corn Exchange. Between the end of this block and the “Granby Inn” a road passed from High Street to Bethlehem Street, the street on the east side of the block was called Butchery Lane, and that on the west side, High Street.
It may here be noticed that the streets round the Town Hall, Market Place, Flottergate, and Victoria Street to George Street, were paved with cobbles. At the entrance to the Railway Station stood a thatched bakehouse, and adjoining the cottage was a grass paddock.
We will now look into Wellowgate. This was the road from the Abbey to the old Abbey Church of St. James. A pinfold stood at the Abbey Road end, and a footpath, in a line ‘Westbourne Terrace, led across a grass close to the Abbey. Facing the footpath were two thatched cottages standing in a paddock, in which was a blow-well, from which flowed a stream of water along the footpath side, into an open drain in Abbey Road.
The Abbey was then a farmhouse, the farm buildings being near it. The boundary line between Grimsby and Wellow, was marked by a blue stone known as Havelock’s Stone, placed in the road opposite the end of the passage to the house No. 8, Wellowgate, and what remains of it may now be seen near the kerbstone, so that part of the house was in Wellow, and part in Grimsby. A tradition attaches to this stone, which is given by Gervase Holles, the Grimsby Antiquarian and Historian, who relates that Grime, a poor fisher, discovered Haveloc, a child, wrapped in swaddling clothes, floating in an otherwise empty boat upon the Humber. He took the foundling home, and attempted to bring him up to his own occupation. The natural bent of the lad’s mind, however, was to arms, and he obtained such renown by his valour, that he married the King of England’s daughter, and subsequently he was heir to the Danish Throne. All legends agree that Grime founded Grimsby, and that Havelock granted it many immunities when he became Sovereign. bites further states that the boundary stone at the East end of Brighowgate bears the name of Havelock’s Stone, and calls attention to the Common Seal of the town, which represents Grim, Havelock, and Goldeburgh.
Tradition says that Grim threw down three of the turrets of the church in his endeavours to stop a hostile fleet. The first fell amongst the advancing foemen; the second in Wellowgate, where it became Havelock’s Stone; whilst the third crashed down into the churchyard, and the fourth remained on the tower.
Another tradition says that the stone, composed of imperishable materials, was brought by the Dance out of their own country, and received the appellation of Haveloc’s Stone. I shall have occasion to refer to this stone afterwards. The last thatched cottage pulled down in Grimsby, stood in Wellowgate near Duke Street.
The Bull-ring, as its name implies, was the place where the cruel sport of bull-baiting was carried on, which was conducted under the official direction of the Mayor. In later years it was enclosed with posts, having a top bar, about three feet high. Entrances were at each corner, and midway on each side, except the narrow end to Bargate. In the centre of the enclosure stood a pump, and near it the large stone, to which, in bull baiting days, the bull was chained. The bull chain, I believe, is now in existence, and in the possession of the Superintendent of Police. Within the enclosure, opposite the house No. 9, the stocks were placed. To the boys of the Free Grammar School, in Chantry Lane, the sitting in the stocks by drunkards, afforded a great source of fun and amusement, particularly when the prisoner was a jovial character, and had his beer and tobacco supplied by his friends during his sitting. A convicted drunkard was liable to be committed to the stocks for six hours.
Grimsby provided three sets of stocks for her drunkards and vagrants. The other two were at either end of Abbey Road, in front of the pinfolds there. These two were removed before the stocks in the Bull-ring were taken away. The latter were transferred to the opposite corner, afterwards to the East corner, from whence they were finally removed.
The Bull-ring stocks would admit of two persons sitting in them at one time. I have seen a woman under going the degrading punishment of sitting in the stocks. In those days of primitive justice, there was no local newspaper by which a person, who felt himself aggrieved, could give expression to his wrongs, he therefore printed and handbills, setting forth his case for the judgment of his peers. For example, one published by one Thos. Sleight, shewing he was wrongly convicted of being drunk, and after describing the witnesses as thieves, and the con stable a drunken blackguard, he signs himself, “your injured parishioner, Thomas Sleight;” and adds, “N.B. I hope as many of my friends as conveniently can, will attend my sitting in the stocks.” Had be lived in our day he might have invited them to his “at home.” The last drunkard who sat in the stocks in discharge of his penalty, was one Jack Mackinder, on a snowy day, when Mrs. Emerson, a baker, in the Bull-ring, kindly gave him his dinner of beef steak pie. For this exercise of sympathetic charity, the then Mayor caused notice to be given that she would be prosecuted for supplying a prisoner with food. The punishment was a barbarous and degrading one, which has happily passed away. After its abolition, the Bull-ring instrument of torture remained for a long time the plaything of children.
The first Dissenting Meeting House in Grimsby stood on the East side of the Bull-ring. The erection of it was commenced in 1756, and the licence to preach in it was granted in October, 1759. John Wesley preached there, and he also preached in the Parish Church. Some papers relating to the building of the meeting house, are in my possession. The old thatched tithe barn stood on the vacant space between the houses Nos. 7 and 8. In 1785 a pinfold stood at the North-East end of Moody Lane; in all probability it was removed to the end of Brighowgate, to give place for the erection of the building, now a joiner’s shop.
The Old Market-place was of limited dimensions: the South side being the end of a row of five shops, extending- to a road passing from the road between Nos. 29 and 30. The wall of the end house facing the Market-place, was the back ground of many a stump orator. The present Corn Exchange was opened on the 6th March, ‘
We will turn into Victoria Street. Before it was so named in honour of Her Majesty’s visit to Grimsby in 1854, that part from the Market Place to North St. Mary’s Gate was called Baxter Gate West, and from East St. Mary’s Gate to George Street was Baxter Gate East, at the end of which was the Seamour White Bridge. Along George Street, Osborne Street, Bethlehem Street, passing into the Bull-ring along Bargate, was part of the Turnpike Road. On the site of Nos. 37 and 39, Bethlehem Street, stood an old thatched house, which was occupied by Nancy Parker, a noted maker of meat pies. This old house was always recognized as the house in which Archbishop Whitgift was born. The block surrounded by St. Mary’s Gate was a grass paddock, originally the site of St. Mary’s Church and Churchyard; on the South side was a dirty drain. Garden Street had houses on one side only, and it opened into the fields beyond. The cottage near the Cemetery was the Wellow Water Mill, belonging to the Abbot of Wellow.
Flottergate was for a time, according to old deeds, known as Queen Street; that name appeared on the gable of the “Black Swan Inn,” probably given in honour of the granting of a Charter to the Town by Queen Elizabeth.
Pinfold Hill was more commonly called Red 11111, which acquired that name from the election of Pole and Wood, who adopted the red banner, and all the voters residing on Pinfold Hill voting red.
The “Black Swan,” built in 1699, is the oldest house in Grimsby. The main building is the same, but its original character is lost in its cemented face; that part of the Inn adjoining the druggist shop, was a horse stable and granary.
An Old blacksmith’s shop occupied the site of No. 4, Victoria Street, belonging to one Frank Brown, who for a time kept the “Black Swan” opposite. His wife, whose temper was not one of the sweetest, managed the Inn.
One of the customers, a rhymester, perpetrated the following:
The children of Israel prayed for bread,
“And God sent them manna;
“Old Frank Brown prayed for a wife,
“And the Devil sent him Hannah.”
The Silver Street School-room was built in 1786 for a Calvinist Chapel, called Ebenezer. A pastor named William Smelle ministered there, and was buried therein. A mural tablet was erected in the chapel to his memory, but it has now disappeared. The chapel was pewed, and had a gallery over the doorway; the pulpit being on the side wall facing the window. “A Register of Births and Baptisms “in Grimsby, and in the different congregations united or “belonging to Grimsby under the ministry of William Smelle,” was kept in the chapel, which, with a copy thereof, has recently been discovered.
The original is in the possession of Mr. John Wintringham, who has placed it in the Spring Church chest for safety. The copy I have. The register also contains the names of 14 persons buried in the chapel, the first being in 1785, and the last in 1827.
There are entries of 197 baptisms, of which 149 were in Grimsby, and 48 were at Louth, Brigg, Caistor, Barrow, and other villages. The baptisms commence in 1786, and end in 1836. One is registered as born in 1733 and baptized in 1813.
Children born of free parents are noted as “free.”
It may be appropriate to state that, in the year 1822, William Grassham, a member of the Salthouse Lane Baptist Chapel, in Hull, came and located himself in Grimsby, and finding friends who had worshipped in Smelle’s Chapel, which was then closed, they formed a Baptist Society, and engaged a school-room of David Simpson, behind his houses in Burgess Street, in which to hold their services. This room was originally built in the early part of the century, for a Masonic Lodge, “The Spurn and Humber.” Ministers from Killingholme and Hull came to conduct services on Sabbath days. Their cause prospered, and a lot of land, the site of the present Lecture Hall in Burgess Street, was purchased from Jabez Robinson, for £13, and in 1824, a small chapel and a school-room were built, costing £289 and £37 : 10 : 0 respectively. The Rev. Stephen Marston, from Gainsborough, became the first pastor, at a salary of £50 a year. He also kept a ladies’ boarding school. The land behind the chapel was used as a burial ground, and Mr. Grassham was the first interred there. Altogether about 40 persons were interred, amongst whom was the minister, Mr. Marston.
He was the father of the late John Westland Marston, the Dramatic Author.
Yarborough Terrace was built on the site of a rather handsome mansion, the residence of Christopher Clayton, from whom Frederick Tennyson, Esq., derived his estates in Grimsby. The mansion was pulled down about fifty years ago; its last owner was a gentleman known as Squire Marshall, who, rather than any other person should live in it after him, sold it to Lord Yarborough for a less sum of money than he could have obtained from another person, so that it might be pulled down. In the last century, the mansion had an uninterrupted view to the Humber, and occupied with it was the garden, containing the old elms, extending to the West branch of the Haven, (not as it now appears,) over which was a rustic bridge into the fields beyond. In those fields, and near to the old Haven, the Corporation, in 1607, granted a lease of a piece of land to the Earl of Shrewsbury, for the purpose of making fish ponds, for the term of 1000 years, at the rent of a penny a year, and “one fatt bucke in the summer season yearly.” I would be interesting to know more of the connection the Earl of Shrewsbury had with Grimsby, and of his “fatte bucke” and his fish ponds. I have not seen or heard any allusion to his Lordship’s association with the town, other than the lease granted to him.
One of the most picturesque and interesting spots in the town was the old elms; no prettier street view need be desired than that given by those old elms, on whose branches the rooks every Spring located and built their nests. The destruction, by the builder, of the trees, under which old Grimbarians from their childhood had daily passed, was a severe deprivation.
The houses in George Street had gardens behind running down to the bank of the old Haven, and on the South side of Seamour White Bridge, the bank of the Haven was cut down to form a wash-dike for horses. The “Old King’s Head” was built in 1824, in place of an old whitewashed thatched Inn, having its entrance in Haven Street.
In 1769 there were eight alehouses in the Borough, which would give one alehouse to about every 100 inhabitants. Only three of the houses, the “Black Swan,” the “Wheat Sheaf,” and the “White Hart,” now exist. That part of the town on either side of Pasture Street had only three or four houses; the roads were simply grass, and the vacant land was formed into gardens.
Victoria Street, Burgess Street, and King Edward Street, do not possess any feature of interest worth describing, except the building in Burgess Street, having the word “Apollo” cut in stone in the gable, which was built in 1813 for the “Apollo” Lodge of Freemasons. Dr. Oliver was a leading Freemason, and it was through his influence that the Lodge was erected. The warrant constituting the Lodge was returned in 1834, and there was no other Masonic Lodge in Grimsby until 1859, when the “Pelham Pillar Lodge” was constituted. Previously to the “Apollo,” another Masonic Lodge, called the “Spurn and Humber,” met in a building erected for the purpose by David Simpson, behind the houses Nos. 170 and 172, Burgess Street, which is now converted into cottages. On the opposite side of the road was a pretty bowling green attached to the “Fountain Inn.” The streets did not exhibit much activity, for want of traffic, but the daily arrival and departure of the coaches from and to Louth, gave some life, and occasionally they would be enlivened by the performances of jugglers and acrobats, on their carpets in the centre of the road; or a wedding party walking in procession to the church, would be a pleasing incident. A funeral had generally a long train of mourners, preceded by a company of singers, singing hymns on the way to the church; the coffin was borne by bearers with white towels, old Mary Grassam carrying the resting stools. A hearse or a cab was not then known. On market days might be seen arriving in the town a farmer on horseback, with his wife behind him on pillion, carrying on her arm a basket of eggs and butter; nor was it an un common thing for a farmer to bring his corn in sacks on horseback, and placing them in the market for sale. Quoit playing on the footpath was not considered an obstruction. I was told by an old inhabitant that he had played quoits on the footpath, which was not paved, along the old church yard, in North St. Mary’s Gate.
There were four windmills to supply the inhabitants with flour: Emerson’s smock mill, in King Edward Street, facing Havelock Street; Brewer’s post mill, at the end of West Marsh Lane; Davy’s or Wardale’s mill, nearly opposite the Wheat Sheaf Inn, and Hollinshead mill in Cartergate. Grimsby was well supplied with water from rover-flowing springs and public pumps; but after the constitution of the Waterworks Company, the Corporation permitted public pumps to fall into decay, and then taken up. There were nine of those public pumps, besides the fountain in the Central Market, and it may be interesting to record the positions of those old pumps as removed land marks. The principal pump, and larger than any of the other pumps, stood in the Old Market Place, near the footpath, between the shop windows of Nos. 12 and 13, this pump formed the rostrum of many an election orator. The second was at the West end of the old Town Hall, called the jail pump; the third was in the centre of the Bull-ring; the fourth was on Pinfold Hill, known as Red Hill Pump, fixed to the yard wall of the old houses, adjoining Flottergate Chapel; the fifth, called 3 Brown’s pump, was fixed to his bakery-wall in Silver Street, now Dr. Atkinson’s surgery, No. 31, Victoria Street; the sixth was at the end of an old house, on the site of which No. 22, South St. Mary’s Gate is built, and was known as Charley White’s pump—this was the last public pump taken up; the seventh was fixed to a garden wall opposite to ‘Yarborough Terrace, called Bell’s pump——No. 51, Victoria Street marks its position; the eighth was in Burgess Street, fixed to the wall of the back premises of No. 132, Victoria Street, and called Pailthorpe’s pump; the ninth stood near the footpath at the North-East corner of Middle Court, called Dick Martin’s pump. The names of the pumps were derived from the occupiers of houses near to which the pumps stood.
During the present century, the surface level of the town has increased, as may be observed by the floors of old houses being below the level of the road. Since early times, the surface must have greatly increased in height, for in digging the cellar of the house at the corner of Riby Street, in the year 1863, some posts were found in a regular and upright position, the tops of which were about seven feet below the surface of the road. Anciently there was an inlet from the Humber at this point.