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Crenellated Towers in Kingston upon Hull

In the civil parish of Kingston upon Hull.
In the historic county of Yorkshire.
Modern Authority of Kingston upon Hull; City of.
1974 county of Humberside.
Medieval County of Yorkshire East Riding.

OS Map Grid Reference: TA100288
Latitude 53.74141° Longitude -0.33351°

Crenellated Towers in Kingston upon Hull has been described as a probable Fortified Town House.

There are no visible remains.


Hull was granted a licence to crenellate the town wall in 1321. Six years later, in the first year of Edward III's reign this licence is confirmed and an additional licence given to the burgesses to crenellate their houses with stone and tegula (translated variously as tile or brick). No specific person or house is identified.

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1327 March 5 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).


In the Cotton collection of manuscripts in the British Museum is a birds eye plan of Hull, sometimes said to be a C14 date although more probably of c. 1530 (It may have been based on an earlier plan as it does have some anachronistic features.). As with all such plans interpretation can be difficult but there seems to be several crenellated houses, at least three with towers. One of these is the house known variously as the Duke of Suffolks Palace or Courthall Other Hull merchants may well have felt a particular need to compete socially with such a prestigious person as Courthall builder Micheal de la Pole. Henry VIII antiquarian John Leland, writing in the 1530's, mentions three other houses with 'towers of brike built by Michael de la Pole in Hull, '2. of them be in the hart of the toun. The 3. is apon Hulle ripe in the haven side'. He also records the town hall as having a brick tower for a prison. Given Leland's political purpose we have to question these towers representing all that survived in Leland's time or just those buildings that Leland felt were importance enough to report? The VCH identifies a number of possible towers from names in the Hull City records; Whitehouse Tower, midway along Market Place; Stonehouse Tower on the Foreland; Harper Tower, Ingilby Tower and Burdux Tower (Sometimes 'Burdour', 'Burdeux'; perhaps from Bordeaux and having some connexion with the wine trade. The de la Pole's were known to have imported Gascon wine). Several other domestic houses known from the record may also have had some crenellated features. At least eleven crenellated structures can be identified on the Hull town plan, other than churches and the town walls, of which one will be the town hall prison. Most of these towers and houses will have been built of brick, which was ubiquitous in Hull, although presumably not Stonehouse tower.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:01

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