Kingston upon Hull Town Wall

Has been described as a Certain Urban Defence

There are masonry footings remains

NameKingston upon Hull Town Wall
Alternative NamesBeverley Gate; Mamhole Gate; Hessle Gate; Myton gate; Postern Gate; Quay St Gate; Low Gate; North Gate; Sutton Town Gates
Historic CountryYorkshire
Modern AuthorityKingston upon Hull; City of
1974 AuthorityHumberside
Civil ParishKingston upon Hull

Hull Town Walls; built 1321. No walling along the Hull. 4 gates and 4 posterns pierced the walls which were made of brick with an earth bank behind. It is estimated that some 4.1 million bricks were required for the circuit, those being made at the Royal Tilery owned by the de la Pole family. Turrets irregularly spaced. Strengthened in Civil War and after. Demolished 1776-1810. (PastScape)

There is no reference to defences round the town until 1321, when Edward II licensed the building of a ditch and a crenellated wall of stone and lime. The licence was supported by a grant of murage for five years, and in 1325 murage for three years was granted for the completion of the work. The king is said to have been highly pleased with the fortifications when he visited Hull in 1332. These defences apparently lay on the south side of the town, as well as the north and west, for as early as 1339 there is mention of 'the wall of the town towards the Humber'. Further grants of murage were made in 1341, for five years, and 1348, for seven years, for the inhabitants 'to wall in their town'. Both grants were also 'to complete a wall, begun by them for the safety of the town and the parts adjacent, on the water of Humber', and in 1355 murage for sixteen years was granted 'to finish their wall begun on the water of Humber'. These may well be references to a sea-wall along the Humber bank, rather than to the town fortifications. Thus it seems likely that the defences were first built in the 1320s, and that they were strengthened in the 1340s and 1350s. The east side of the town was to have no defences for some two centuries more. Despite the words of the original licence, there is no reason to suppose that the defences were built of stone. The exact nature of the work carried out in the 1320s is difficult to establish

The only surviving chamberlains' account, for the period 1 January 1321 to 1 January 1324, is much concerned with receipts and expenses connected with the defences. Digging and similar work cost £110 and included the construction of a bank and a ditch (magnum fossatum and le mote). The cost of timber, boards, and stakes or piles (pro pilis) was £142, and iron for nails cost £14. A further £40 was spent on stone, tile (i.e. brick), lime, and sand, which were used for North Gate 'and elsewhere'. (VCH - which goes on with much greater detail. see reference and link below)

Gatehouse Comments

Lower part of Beverley Gate, excavated in 1985-6, only visible remains of late C14 town wall although much of the line is now shown in the modern paving. First murage grant 1321 followed by others throughout C14. Licence to crenellate also granted 1321 and confirmed and extended in 1327, confirmed again 1462. In a early C16 plan of the town the Beverley Gate, the main town gate, is shown as a tower capped by a spire.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTA097287
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 53° 44' 36.31" Longitude 0° 20' 16.5"

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 53° 44' 36.31" Longitude 0° 20' 16.5"

View full Sized Image
Photo by Philip Davis. All Rights Reserved

() above

Latitude 53° 44' 36.31" Longitude 0° 20' 16.5"

View full Sized Image

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  • Salter, Mike, 2013, Medieval Walled Towns (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 82-3
  • Evans, D.H., 2010, 'The fortifications of Hull between 1300 and 1700' in Lübecker Kolloquium zur Stadtarchäologie im Hanseraum VII: Die Befestigungen (Lübeck: Verlag Schmidt-Römhild) p. 47-70
  • Creighton, O.H. and Higham, R.A., 2005, Medieval Town Walls (Stroud: Tempus) p. 30, 36, 72, 99, 124, 129, 135, 136, 144, 162, 163, 182, 222, 224, 243, 267
  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Yorkshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 50
  • Evans, D.H., 1997, 'Archaeological work in the medieval port of Kingston-upon-Hull' in Lübecker Kolloquium sur Stadtarchäologie im Hanseraum Vol. 1 p. 25-49.
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 285 (slight)
  • Gillett, E. and MacMahon, K.A., 1989, A History of Hull (Hull University Press)
  • Bond, C.J., 1987, 'Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Defences' in Schofield, J. and Leech, R. (eds) Urban Archaeology in Britain (CBA Research Report 61) p. 92-116 online copy
  • Hull City Council, 1987, The Archaeology of the Beverley Gate, Hull, Interim report (Hull City Council)
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 2 p. 534
  • Ryder, P.F., 1982 (paperback edn 1992), The Medieval Buildings of Yorkshire (Ash Grove Book) p. 141
  • Whitwell, J.B., 1977, 'Kingston upon Hull, Old Town' Archaeological excavations 1976 (HMSO) p. 127
  • Barley, M.W., 1975, 'Town Defences in England and Wales after 1066' in Barley (ed) The plans and topography of medieval towns in England and Wales (CBA Research Report 14) p. 57-71 download/view online
  • Turner, H.L., 1971, Town Defences in England and Wales (London) p. 103
  • Allison, K.J. (ed), 1969, VCH Yorkshire: East Riding Vol. 1 p. 412-18 online transcription
  • Frost, 1827, Notices relative to ... Hull (London) p. 76-88, 140-1
  • Hadley, 1788, New and Complete History ... Kingston upon Hull (Hull) p. 682-4


  • Speed, John, 1611-12, The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain online copy
  • Camden, Wm, 1607, Britannia hypertext critical edition by Dana F. Sutton (2004)
  • Chandler, John, 1993, John Leland's Itinerary: travels in Tudor England  (Sutton Publishing) p. 535
  • Toulmin-Smith, Lucy (ed), 1907, The itinerary of John Leland in or about the years 1535-1543 (London: Bell and Sons) Vol. 1 p. 49 online copy
  • Celia Fiennes, 1888, Through England on a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary (London: Field and Tuer, The Leadenhall Press) Vision of Britain online transcription


  • Creighton, Oliver, 2006, ''Castles of Communities': Medieval Town Defences in England; Wales and Gascony' Château Gaillard Vol. 22 p. 75-86
  • Foreman, M., 1989 Aug, 'The defences of Hull' Fortress: The castles and fortifications quarterly Vol. 2 p. 36-8
  • CBA Group 4 Register, 1989, 'Beverley Gate, Hull, Humberside TA09712872' CBA Forum (newsletter for CBA Yorkshire) p. 19-20 (brief excavation report)
  • Kenyon, J.R., 1981 'Early Artillery Fortifications in England and Wales: a Preliminary Survey and Re-appraisal' The Archaeological Journal Vol. 138 p. 215
  • Moorhouse, S., 1977, The Yorkshire Archaeological Register: 1976' Yorkshire Archaeological Journal Vol. 49 p. 10, 15
  • Barlett, J., 1971, 'The medieval walls of Hull' Kingston-upon Hull Museums Bulletin Vol. 3-4
  • Foot-Walker, W., 1968, 'The Walls and Gates of Hull' Humberside; The Magazine of Hull Literary Club Vol. 16 No. 1
  • (Bartlett), 1965, Medieval Archaeology Vol. 9 p. 197 download copy
  • Sheppard, 1902, The Antiquary Vol. 28 p. 149-50 and map
  • Hirst, J., 1894, Transactions of East Riding Antiquarian Society Vol. 3 p. 24-39

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1904, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward II (1321-24) Vol. 4 p. 7 (licence to crenellate) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891, Calendar of Patent Rolls Edward III (1327-30) Vol. 1 p. 33 (Confirmation of Licence to crenellate)
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1891-1916, Calendar of Patent Rolls (1321-1324) p. 10; (1324-1327) p. 197; (1348-1350) p. 87; (1354-1358) p. 155; (1374-1377) p. 274; (1377-1381) p. 23; (1381-1385) p. 175; (1389-1392) p. 362; (1396-1399) p. 40; (1399-1401) p. 119; 1401-1405) p. 471 (murage grants)
  • - < >Also see the Gatehouse murage pages for full details of murage [grants >], [petitions > ] and [other such >]. < >


  • Evans, D.H., 1994, Excavations at the Beverley Gate, and Other Parts of the Town Defences of Kingston upon Hull (Hull: Humberside SMR)