For centuries this attractive village belonged to the Archbishops of York, and one of their palaces is said to have Stood in a nearby held called Knight Garth. The parish church contains a bust of John Wesley, carved from an elm under which he preached when he came to the village. His visit is also commemorated by an open-air service on the green each July.
Bridlington is a popular resort, its fine sandy beaches sheltered by Flamborough Head and offering good bathing, angling and sailing. The Bayle Gate (built 1388) serving at various times as courtroom, school, sailors’ prison and barracks, is now a museum. Sewerby Hall, a Georgian mansion north east of the town, also has a museum (which includes relics of Amy Johnson) and an Art Gallery, and its grounds contain a small zoo. William Strickland of Boynton three3 miles west of Bridlington sailed to America with Sebastian Cabot in 1497, and was the first Englishman to set foot on American soil; he also brought turkeys to Europe. The east window of Boynton church contains the Strickland coat-of-arms, which incorporate a turkey. The lectern too has a turkey carved on it.
The sleepy village of Burton Agnes is one of the most attractive in the Wolds. The main attraction to visitors is Burton Agnes Hall, built by Sir Henry Griffith more than 380 years ago and still owned by his family. It stands among smooth lawns and clipped yews, its red brick mellowed by time, and its semi-octagonal plan echoed in the octagonal towers of the gatehouse (built slightly later). The interior is splendidly furnished and has a fine collection of Impressionist paintings, including works by Renoir, Pissarro, Manet, Gauguin and Sickert, as well as drawings by Augustus John and other 20th-century masters. The Norman church, containing a fine alabaster tomb, stands next to the hall, and nearby is a restored Norman manor house.
Lying between the 487-acre freshwater lake of Hornsea Mere and the sea and sandy beach, this Holderness town has become a popular holiday resort. An additional attraction is Hornsea Pottery, where there are factory tours, a country crafts centre, a mini-zoo and a model village.
Hull, Kingston upon Hull
The Humber Bridge, opened in 1981, spans the River Humber and is (or was when it was completed) the largest single-span suspension bridge in the world. Previously, the easiest way to reach the city from the south was by ferry from New Holland. Officially named Kingston-upon-Hull, the city was badly damaged in World War II. It contains much modern development, some very striking. Among the parts of the old city that survive is the curiously named ‘Land of Green Ginger’, a narrow street that recalls Hull’s former importance as a trading centre. It was from here that Alexander Selkirk sailed on the voyage that was to make him the model for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. There is a plaque in the Queen’s Gardens. Hull’s dockland stretches for seven miles, handling a wide variety of cargoes and also serving Continental ferries, although in recent years the fishing industry has drastically declined. In 1921 Hull was the scene of the tragic flight of the airship R38, which collapsed over the city, killing the 44 Americans and Britons aboard. The western cemetery has a memorial to them.
Displays in the Town Docks Museum illustrate the past importance of hshing, whaling and shipping to the town. Other places to visit include the Transport and Archaeological Museum; Ferens Art Gallery; and 17th-century Wilberforce House where the anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce was born.
Sledmere village and the surrounding Yorkshire Wolds owe a great deal to the Sykes family. In Tudor times, they were Leeds merchants; and then, in 1751, Richard Sykes began work on Sledmere House – the site of which had once been that of a medieval manor. His nephew, Sir Christopher, carried on the work in the 1780’s. The house is beautifully decorated and contains many handsome pieces of furniture. Sir Christopher’s most important achievement was the introduction of agriculture to the Wolds – an achievement celebrated by a classical temple beside the main gate. On top of Gaston Hill, a 120ft Gothic tower was erected in memory of Sir Tatton Sykes after his death in 1863. Sir Tatton, it seems, was renowned for his skill as a bare-knuckle fighter. Indeed, there seem to be monuments great and small to Sykes Wherever you look in Sledmere. They are well deserved. Before this industrious family took the village under its protection, the inhabitants used to live in fear of raids by packs of wolves from the wilderness that surrounded them.
In 1066 at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, King Harald of Norway, who had sailed up the Humber and the Ouse and sacked York, was decisively beaten by King Harold of England. The battle took place on the flats above which now stands a fine 18th century bridge. Immediately after the battle, Harold and his army went south to meet William of Normandy at Hastings, where they were defeated in a decisive battle which marked the beginning of the Norman conquest.