village of Paull is over a thousand years old. In 910 AD Edward and
Aethelflaed came up the River Humber and landed on the Humber bank at
the site of present-day Paull and brought Scandinavian immigrants to
establish a settlement. This settlement was recorded in the Domesday
Book as "Pagula," which was the Latin term for a stake marking a landing-place.
Since the land is extremely low-lying (in places below sea level) and
at the time, before relatively recent drainage to provide fertile farmland,
mostly marshland, the approach from the river would have been difficult
and dangerous, across saltmarsh and mudflats at low tide and shallow
water even at high tide. The villagers of Paull were, until recent times,
dependent on the river for their livelihoods and much of their transport,
so a marker visible from the seaward approaches would have been essential
to ensure a safe landing. The name "Pagula" appears on old maps in various
spellings and was soon contracted to "Pagul" and thence "Pagil" or "Paghil"
and eventually "Paul" and "Paull." The variant Paghill is still in use
today, in the area of Paull known as Paghill.
Paull was originally part of the manor of Burstwick, and it was the duty of Low Paull
to provide sufficient men to row the Lord and Lady of the Manor across the Humber
from Holderness to Lindsay (Lincolnshire.)
In 1377 the population
of Paull was recorded as Paull: 28, Paull Fleet: 140, Paull Holme: 61, giving
a total of 229 although as this census was for the purpose of a poll tax this
could well just be adult males.
The whole of the manor of Burstwick
belonged to the Constable family until 1769 when a wealthy Hull merchant, Benjamin
Blaydes, bought High Paull and the manor of Paghill for the sum of £6,700. This
seems a lot of money to pay for a property which at the time rarely made
more than £100 a year, and often incurred major outgoings for repair of the flood
banks - one tide alone did damage recorded at over £300. Since that time, extensive
improvements have been made to the river defences and the village has gained
better protection from the sea, resulting in the reclamation of thousands of
acres of fertile farmland.
village has been almost entirely dependent on the river throughout its
long history for transport and employment and even today the shipyard
on Main Street is thriving and employs local labour, and although the
shrimping and fishing industries have died out as livelihoods the river-front
at Paull is a popular place for recreational fishermen.
1892, the chief occupation of the village was fishing and shrimping;
the left-hand photo shows one of the "Paull shrimpers"
once common on the river but now long gone, and the right-hand
photo shows some of the fishermen themselves. The last active
shrimp fisherman died in Paull in the 1990's, and the last eel-trapper
died in 2001.
has built ships of all kinds for many years, and in 1812 HMS Anson, a 74-gun
warship of 1,741 tons was built at Paull at a cost of £140,000 - an immenses sum at the time. The stocks used whilst building the Anson can still be seen
at low tide on the beach by the old slipway, and the adjacent cottages are called Anson Villas. Although built for the Napoleonic Wars, HMS Anson never saw battle and ended her days as a prison hulk in Tasmania.
The modern shipyard on Main Street still makes and repairs
boats and ships of all sizes up to small coastal tankers and pleasure boats.
PAULL BATTERY (FORT PAULL) : Henry
VIII established the very first fortress at Paull, on the site of the
present-day Fort Paull (now a museum); King Charles
I visited Paull Battery to review his forces and it was after this
visit that he went to Hull, only to be famously turned away at the city gates by Sir John Hotham at the start of what became the English Civil War.
Later in the same year the Battery was partly demolished by gunfire from Parliamentarian
ships sailing up the Humber to relieve the siege of Hull, which at the same
time damaged Paull Church with shots meant for the Battery.
It was not until
the Crimean war of 1854 - 56 that it was thought necessary to fully repair and
rebuild the Battery and it is this building complex which can be seen today.
It was occupied by the Royal Artillery and was armed with 19 guns for the protection
of the river approaches. During WW2 the battery continued to be part of Hull’s
defences, and until the 1960s it was owned by the Crown before being finally
sold off into private ownership. The battery (re-named “Fort Paull” ) is now
fully refurbished as a historical military site and reenactments centre and is open to the public.
PAULL PARISH CHURCH, originally dedicated to St. Andrew and later to
Saint Mary and Saint Andrew, is now known once more as St. Andrew’s church.
It was built around 1355, on higher ground a quarter of a mile outside
the village in order to avoid flood damage. It is in the Perpendicular style,
with very thick walls partly built of cobbles from the shore. A thorough restoration
was carried out in 1880 and many traces of fire were found, showing the extent
of the damage caused the Parliamentary guns aimed at Paull Battery during the siege of Hull in 1642.
The stone and
carved oak pulpit dates from 1879, as do the choir stalls, but the east window
is from an earlier 13th century building and there is also a simple oak chest
which dates from the 11th century. The vicarage was built in 1859: it was sold
as a private home when Paull became a joint parish and renamed Beech Rise, then it became a residential home for the elderly, renamed yet again as
Paull Manor, and eventually reverted back to a private residence.
Besides the church there have been two chapels in Paull : the Primitive Methodists
erected a chapel in 1871 (since converted into two cottages) at the junction
of Back Lane and Main Street, and the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel was built in
1805, restored in 1912 and again in 1991 and is still in regular use.
PAULL SCHOOL was built in 1868, before schooling became
compulsory, and enlarged twice in the next thirty years. No further extensions
were added until June 1979 when extra accommodation in the form of mobile
classrooms was added; after the threatened closure of the school in 2002 because of falling numbers, the school was not only saved but extended, with two new classrooms and cloakrooms and the original schoolroom converted into a school hall.
In 1892 the number of children on roll was 62, although
there were places for 100; over a hundred years later there are even fewer children on roll,
although of course the children transfer to South Holderness School in Preston
at 11 whereas in the 19th century they would have remained at the village school for the whole
of their school careers.
PIER HOUSE on Main Street once housed a “Museum of Curiosities,” the
collection of Mr. Battersby which was open to the general public. Amongst the
exhibits was a facsimile of Charles I’s death warrant (now on display at Fort
Paull,) a model of Hull Town Hall made out of cork, and the entire skeleton
of a Miss Jenkins, known in the locality as “Rabbit Nanny.” She hawked rabbits
in the streets of Hull and it was said that her voice could be heard across
the river at Barton. She sold her body prior to her death for the sum of £5,
for dissection and medical research in Hull, and her skeleton was subsequently
bought from a Dr. Hay and put on display; this skeleton is also now one of the
exhibits at Fort Paull.
PAULL HOLME was originally the home of the Holme/Hulme family, who took
their name from the place and not vice-versa. A brick tower is all that remains of the Great Hall, built in the 15th century. It stands 30 feet high
with battlements and small loophole windows. It is reputedly haunted by the
ghost of a cow which, in 1840, somehow climbed up the narrow staircase to the
battlements and since it was unable to get back down (cows being unable to go down stairs) fell to its death. The present farmhouse
was built in 1837 out of materials from the Old Hall.
BOREAS HALL on Boreas Hill, north-west of the village,
is on one of the few “high” points around (a glacial moraine some 15 metres
above sea level!) It was formerly Boar House or Bower House, and the grounds
once extended to 300 acres.
NEWTON GARTH lies halfway between Paull and Hedon and is built on the site of an ancient
leper hospital founded in the reign of Henry II (1133 - 1189). During the Reformation
of the 16th century the hospital's revenues of £40 per annum were seized on behalf of Henry
VIII and the inmates turned out. Opposite Newton Garth is a short stretch of ancient brick wall, known locally as "the Witches' Wall,"
which may have once formed part of the boundary of the original hospital.