Burton to Barrow

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In this page I have attempted to give you a view of the south shore of the river Humber from Burton upon Stather, Lincolnshire, on the river Trent in the west, to Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire, in the east. These shores are where the Vikings over-wintered during their frequent raids, where later Lincolnshire wooden-ship-building yards were situated, and where many members of the extended Drakes family lived whilst occupied in the Humber-Trent coastal trade. Though I have found no evidence of them being employed in actual boat-building here. The local wooden Humber-Trent ship-building yards eventually failed after the onset of steel hulls and much larger boat-building yards elsewhere where these could be more-easily manufactured.

Alas and did My Saviour bleed
And did My Sovereign die
Would he devote that Sacred head
For such a Worm as I
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree
Amazing pity grace unknown
And love beyond degree
Elizabeth Drakes Wrought This In
The 14 Year of her Age Appleby 1809.
From a sampler courtesy of Mr & Mrs James Webb.

She was christened 'Elizabeth Drax' on 1.2.1795 at Appleby, Lincs., the daughter of John & Mary Drax (Drakes).
She sadly died in 1816 at Appleby, Lincs., aged 21.

The small communities of Appleby, Winterton, Burton upon Stather, Burton Stather, Winteringham & Messingham have all had 'Drakes' parishioners over the centuries. They are all high above sea level at the northern end of Lincoln Cliff, which is a ridge that runs from Lincoln north almost to the river Humber and alongside the east floodplain of the river Trent. I had never been here before and mistakenly thought that the area was all flat floodplain of the rivers Trent and Humber.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Appleby, Lincolnshire from the southeast.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Appleby, Lincolnshire from the north

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

St. Bartholomew’s Church, Appleby, Lincolnshire from the east

Appleby is a beautiful estate-type village with all the houses along the main through road (the Roman Ermine Street) built in an identical style of red brick with yellow sandstone inset in the corners of each house. The approach from the Lincoln in the south is through lovely woodland, with fields of arable crops and a good number of single trees. The land here is very high above sea level.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

All Saints Church, Winterton, Lincolnshire, from the south east. There is a separate graveyard nearby.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

All Saints Church, Winterton, Lincolnshire, from the south, with the main entrance and clock tower.

Winterton is a lovely small old unspoiled town, which probably hasn't changed much since the early 1900s. It has quite a few small shops and a very good small supermarket in Market Square. Most of the surrounding villages appear to be without shops, so this is probably the main centre of local life. See the 'Winteringham Local History & Genealogy' website; homepage: winteringham.info.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Looking down on the river Trent from halfway down the steep Stather Hill, which runs between the village of Burton upon Stather and the small riverside hamlet of Burton Stather by the river Trent.

There was a wooden-boat builder's yard here from 1788 until the advent of steel hulls forced its closure in 1892; the loss of the boatyard seriously affected local employment. Much of the equipment was bought for the Brown and Clapson shipyard at Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire, which continued in the trade until 1939. A total of 341 ships were built at Burton Stather; these were mostly fishing smacks and colliers, though a 700-ton ship named 'Burton Stather' was built to run between Liverpool and Natal, South Africa.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The raised bank of the river Humber at Burton Stather, to prevent flooding of this tidal river.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The near bank of the river Trent in the garden of the pub at Burton Stather, with a wooden boarding-walkway. You can just see the ramp on the far side for pedestrians to land - see the photo below for a close-up view. The regular ferry ceased operating in 1937, but the crossing appears to be still in use, though probably not very often.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The tiny concrete ramp of the old ferry crossing, on the far bank near Garthorpe, opposite Burton Stather, Lincolnshire. The last full-time ferryman was Roland Readhead, who ceased operating the King's Ferry here in 1937.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The river Trent at Burton Stather, Lincolnshire, looking south past the King's Ferry wharf with its cranes and containers.

Burton upon Stather (pronounced with a hard ‘a’, as in ‘Stath’ not ‘Stathe’), is a large village. A narrow road, on the right at a left-hand bend in the middle of the village, drops down steeply to the little hamlet of Burton Stather. At the end of the road there a pub garden that leads to the old passenger ferry crossing. There is also a crane and loading-wharf at King's Ferry Wharf next to it on the Lincolnshire side, but there is only a narrow concrete slope for foot passengers on the opposite bank across the river Trent - see the photo above. This is apparently the site of the ancient ferry crossing, as is at sea level, since the Trent is tidal and very wide for a long way inland. Until the 1930s, steam-paddle Packet Boats used to run from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire to Hull, Yorkshire via the rivers Trent and Humber. Packets boats plied this route from 1814, and other types of boats for centuries before them.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Winteringham Haven, Lincolnshire, at low tide looking north towards the river Humber.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Winteringham Haven, Lincolnshire, looking north towards the Humber Yawl Club.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The Humber Yawl Club for those brave members who sail on the treacherous river Humber.

There are Public Footpaths in the area that apparently lead to the river bank about 150 yards away, but all the land about them is privately owned with no public access. I was invited into the clubhouse, by a very kind couple who were members, and shown some lovely pictures of ships and boats 'from the old days'. A local history booklet was available in Winteringham Post Office some years ago, with some of these photos in it, but it is now sadly 'out of print'. The area is near Reede island, which is a moving mudbank that was once more that twice as long and stretched out to the west of its present location. All the mudbanks in the river Humber are 'on the move' with the tides and the area is treacherous for shipping. When I was there on 12th July 2010, it was only a few hours after a local dredger had been caught by the tide near the entrance to the nearby river Ouse, where it meets the rivers Humber and Trent. The dredger was apparently turned sideways and thrown partially up a bank by the strong currents, where it tipped over onto its side as the tide went out. The crew had to be emergency airlifted by helicopter. It may have refloated with the next incoming tide, but there is an even chance that it may have sunk.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The small lifting road-bridge at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire belies the structures underneath.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The massive lock gates on the south side of the lifting road bridge at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The massive overflow system for the New Ancholme river lock gates at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.


Barges on the River Ancholme c1914

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Shipping on the New Ancholme river at South Ferribly, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Shipping on the New Ancholme river at South Ferribly, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Looking south down the New Ancholme river at South Ferribly, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The big lock on the New Ancholme river, under the lifting road bridge at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire, which is guarded on the inland side by the green floats in the photo above.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

South Ferriby Lock on the New Ancholme river, from the south side, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Looking north from the lifting road bridge towards the river Humber and East Yorkshire at South Ferribly, Lincolnshire, when the tide was out. The old river Ancholme goes off to the right; you can just see the inlet near the blue board.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The place where the old river Ancholme and the New Ancholme river meet the river Humber at low tide; the height of the grass gives some idea of the depth at normal high tide.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The old Ancholme river at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire, looking north to where it joins the entrance to the New Ancholme river and the river Humber. You can see Reede Island across the top centre and left, and East Yorkshire in the background to the top right.

The Romans travelled north from Lincoln on Ermine Street and are believed to have crossed the Humber either near here or within two miles to the west. Since the river Humber mudbanks are always 'on the move' we have to rely on archaeological evidence remaining on the heavily eroded banks of the river Humber to indicate where a crossing may have been easier in Roman times. Later, through small inlets, like this one at the old Ancholme river, the Vikings invaded north Lincolnshire and sometimes overwintered in these small inlets safely away from the dangerous river Humber and its winter storms.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Landing stages in the mouth of the old river Ancholme at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The old Ancholme river, looking north, from the roadway near the lifting road bridge at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire,
showing the steel obstructions to shipping and the extremely low water level at low tide.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Old landing stages at the mouth of the old river Ancholme at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

Old landing stages at the mouth of the old river Ancholme at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The old Ancholme river, looking south, from the roadway near the lifting road bridge at South Ferriby, Lincolnshire, looking more like a stream at low tide than a once busy Medieval trading river.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The treacherous shifting mudbanks of the vast river Humber, looking north towards East Yorkshire from South Ferriby, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                           photo by Chris Drakes, 2010

The Humber Bridge crossing the Humber Estuary between north Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, as seen from South Ferriby looking east.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

The Humber Bridge crossing the Humber Estuary between north Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire, as seen from Barton upon Humber.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Looking north across the Humber Estuary from under The Humber Bridge, near Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

The massive footings of The Humber Bridge, on the south bank of the Humber, near Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

If you travel east on the south bank of the river Humber to the Humber Bridge you will come to Barton-on-Humber, Lincolnshire, where more members of the 'Drakes' family once lived. Then, continue to follow the Humber estuary as the coast turns southwards and you will come to Old Clee, near Grimsby, and other nearby villages where the earliest known Dracass family once lived. Since the progenitors of the five main Drax, Dracas(s), Drakes trees could easily access their places of earliest known residence from the rivers Humber, Ouse, Trent and Ancholme, and since they appear to be linked prior to 1590, it seems likely that they migrated by boat, possibly as coastal traders, and are all likely to be from one early family. The earliest know family being in nearby south west Yorkshire, on the other side of the river Trent. In Medieval times, prior to the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the old river Ancholme was probably the route taken with the best quality wool from the Moastery lands the Lincolnshire Wolds, on its way to the river Humber and the merchants with bigger ships who crossed the Channel and supplied the Flemish tapestry industry with their favourite tapestry wool. There is real history in this location and there may be a great deal of archaeology still buried under the muddy river banks.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Looking northeast towards Hull across the entrance to Barton Haven, Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

A boat sitting on the mud at low tide in Barton Haven, Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

The old boatyard at Barton Haven, Barton upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Looking north from the entrance to Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire in August 2011

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Looking northwest from the entrance to Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire;
The Humber Bridge can be seen at the far left.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

The entrance to Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire at low tide,
showing the steep contours of the mud where it is regularly churned by the tides.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Boats near the entrance to Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire at low tide.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Boats and boatyard workshop at Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire at low tide.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

The railway bridge that blocks access to all but small boats beyond Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

The quaint little railway level-crossing with no lights, no barriers, no signal box, and no cameras, but lots of signs, at Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire. This one appears to have missed modern Health & Safety regulations! Maybe it also has no trains?

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

Looking south along the inlet beyond the railway bridge at Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire.

                                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

A woodyard on the eastern bank of Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire, where I suspect there may once have been the local wooden boat-building yard, which purchased much of the machinery from Burton Stather boat-building yard when it closed.

                                                                                                 photo by Chris Drakes, August 2011

A woodyard on the eastern bank of Barrow Haven, Barrow upon Humber, Lincolnshire, where I suspect there may once have been the local wooden boat-building yard, which purchased much of the machinery from Burton Stather boat-building yard when it closed.