The 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.

The 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.

In 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.

Paull 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.


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