Ravenser Odd

An indication of the Humber coastline in 1764. Note the channel between the north bank and Sunk Island. The channel eventually silted up and the island is now attached to the mainland.

 At the time of our story, Ravenserod (various spellings) was a very important seaport, sitting (according to George Poulson: The History and Antiquities of the Seigniory of Holderness … Vol.II. 1841) … at the farthest limits of Holderness, between the sea and the river (estuary) Humber, and was distant from the mainland rather more than a mile. 

The location of its former site is difficult to pinpoint, but it can be thought of as occupying a position close to Spurn Head (aka Spurn Point).  Early in our story (1292), Geoffrey Jolif pays the town a visit in order to settle his Preceptory accounts with the merchants of the town.

Ravenserod was thought originally to have been thrown up by the sea some time before 1240 and given over to the monks of Meaux Abbey to erect buildings for the preservation of herring and other fish for the use of the abbey.

By 1286, an inquisition found the town to be a thriving port of trade.  In 1299, Ravenserod successfully obtained a charter (Charter Rolls 27Ed.I. Vol.2.p.476.).  By 1310, the town was beginning to struggle with the ever changing forces of the sea and estuary.  The bailiffs of the town obtained a grant of murage for two years, for the repair of their quay, overthrown by the violence of the sea. (CPR 4Ed.II. Vol.I. p.281.).

The violence and unpredictablity of the weather, the currents and the tides at the mouth of the Humber also gave rise to ships being driven ashore in times of a storm. (E.g. CCR 14Ed.II. p.297.).

Ships and men were sent from Ravenserod to take part in the wars with Scotland.  When Edward I was considering a naval base on the Humber, Ravenserod was dismissed because of its vulnerability and he subsequently acquired the port of Hull, together with Wyke and Myton which, combined, were the origins of the (now) city of Kingston upon Hull.

By the late 1300’s, Ravenserod had been reclaimed by the sea.

The current Humber coastline.

If you require further details of Ravenserod, George Poulson: The History and Antiquities of the Seigniory of Holderness has all the details.  If you prefer an abridged history, Ravenserod by Pete Crowther  may be of interest.  Anyone wishing to view more old maps of the East Riding of Yorkshire can click on his link.