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Beverley BeverleyMinster
Beverley BeverleyMinster
  About your Area

Beverley Minster

Arms of Beverley Town Council

Beverley (East Riding of Yorkshire)

Beverley shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
Population 29,110 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid reference TA035399
Parish Beverley
Unitary authority East Riding of Yorkshire
Ceremonial county East Riding of Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town BEVERLEY
Postcode district HU17
Dialling code 01482
Police Humberside
Fire Humberside
Ambulance Yorkshire
European Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Beverley and Holderness
List of places: UKEnglandYorkshire

Coordinates: 53°50'42?N 0°25'37?W? / ?53.845, -0.427

Beverley is a major market town and the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire, England, located between the River Hull and the Westwood. The town is noted for its main feature the Beverley Minster and various other architecturally significant religious buildings, as well as the Beverley Racecourse and the bustling market place; the town itself is around 1,300 years old.

The town was originally known as Inderawuda and was founded by Saint John of Beverley during the time of Angle kingdom Northumbria. After a period of Viking control, it was passed into the hands of Saxons where it became more prominent in terms of religious importance in Great Britain. It continued to grow especially under the Normans when its trading industry was first established. A place of pilgrimage through the Middle Ages due to its founder, Beverley eventually became known as a noted wool-trading town. Beverley was once the 10th largest town in England and amongst the richest, thanks in part to its connection to founding saint of the town John of Beverley, however the English Reformation saw the town drop in stature.

For twenty two years, Beverley was the centre of the local government district of Beverley Borough, and is now the East Riding county town. It is located 8 miles north-west of Hull, 10 miles east of Market Weighton and 12 miles west of Hornsea. According to the 2001 United Kingdom Census the total population of the urban area of Beverley was 29,110, of whom 17,549 live in the historic parish.[2] As well as its Racecourse and markets, Beverley is known in the modern day for hosting various music festivals throughout the year. In 2007 Beverley was named as the best place to live in Britain in a study by the Royal Bank of Scotland.[3]


[edit] History

[edit] Angle, Viking and Saxon period

Inside Beverley Minster, foundation place of Beverley.
Inside Beverley Minster, foundation place of Beverley.

The origins of Beverley can be traced back to the time of the Anglian kingdom Northumbria in the 7th century. The first structure built in the area, which at the time was known as Inderawuda (meaning "in the wood of the men of Deira"), was a Christian church dedicated to St. John the Evangelist.[4] This was founded by the Bishop of York who would later become known as John of Beverley, strongly linked to miracles during his lifetime and was later venerated as a saint.[4]Around the 850s the now developed monastary was abandoned in a hurry, historians presume this was because of the invasion of the so-called Great Heathen Army of Norse vikings who had invaded part of Great Britain and instated the Kingdom of Jórvík in the Yorkshire area.[4] However, population on the site built up again by the 10th century by people feeling strongly in the veneration of John of Beverley.[4]

Before the Battle of Brunanburh, possibly located further north than Beverley, King of England at the time Athelstan visited Inderawuda, he prayed all night and saw a vision saying he would be victorious, in return he helped the town to grow greatly.[4] The name of the town was changed to Bevreli or Beverlac, meaning beaver-lake or beaver-clearing, in the 10th century; a reference to the colonies of beavers in the River Hull at the time.[4] The last three Saxon archbishops of York helped Beverley to develop, via the rise in prominence of Beverley Minster and the town in general; along with York itself, Ripon and Southwell, Beverley became one of the most important Christian centres of northern England. Aldred was declared by king Edward the Confessor as "sole lord of the manor of Beverley". Beverley developed as a trade centre, producing textiles, leather and objects made out of antler.[4]

[edit] Normans and the Middle Ages

After the Norman conquest of England, many pilgrims flocked to Beverley upon hearing reports of miracles in relation to the town's founder, John. However things were soon to take a turn for the worse, the north rejected Norman rule and rose up, hoping to reinstate Danish Viking rule.[4] Many of the towns in Yorkshire were obliterated by the Normans in response with the Harrying of the North, Beverley itself was spared, upon the Normans hearing about the town's saintly history.[4] In the 12th century Beverley developed from a settlement of several thousand, to an extensive town, stretching from around the North Bar area to the Beck in an elongated pattern, it was granted borough status in 1122 by Thurstan. Industry grew further, Beverley especially traded wool with the cloth making towns of the Low Countries.[4]

Westwood and the Black Mill.
Westwood and the Black Mill.

The town suffered a large fire in 1188 which was significantly destructive, destroying numerous houses and damaging the Beverley Minster. Lady Sybil de Valines gave the Manor of the Holy Trinity on the east side of Beverley to the Knights Hospitallers in 1201, where they established a preceptory;[5] also to be found in Beverley during the 13th century were Dominican fiars who were given some land by Henry III where they erected buildings, Franciscans were also present.[4] A dispute arose between local farmers and the archbishop during the 13th century in regards to land rights, after the locals demanded a royal inquiry the archbishop granted the townspeople pasture and pannage in the Westwood and other places.

England went through a very rough period during the 14th century, with starvation caused by poor weather conditions which destroyed crop, the Black Death, the Hundred Years' War and the Great Rising, despite all these hardships the prosperity of the country managed to grow and with it that of Beverley. The town was favoured so much that by 1377, Beverley had become the 10th largest town in England.[4] Beverley was governed by aldermen known as the twelve keepers, they oversaw the general running of the town and the maintaining of law and order.[6]

[edit] Reformation decline in Tudor times

Local man, Saint John Fisher was martyred in 1535.
Local man, Saint John Fisher was martyred in 1535.

As Beverley was a town which relied so strongly on pilgrimage to it and the benefits of its saintly history, the English Reformation hit it hard and vastly declined its stature.[4] Local Beverley man and cardinal John Fisher was martyred along with Thomas Moore for refusing to accept the Tudor king Henry VIII as Head of the Church of England.[7] There was a popular rising in Beverley where 500 men in the town gathered at the Westwood under William Stapleton, later becoming part of the larger Pilgrimage of Grace in York as part of the 30,000 rebels opposing Henry's new religious laws.[4] Henry followed through with the break from Rome and the Dissolution of the Monasteries, dissolving the Dominican Friary in Beverley and taking their land for himself, the Knights Templars in Beverley suffered the same fate in 1540.[4]

As a result of the tensions across the North of England, governance duties were handed over to the Council of the North so the Tudors could control the area at arms length.[8] Beverley was visited by John Leland, the man known as the "father of English local history", he wrote of the town in some detail, estimating the population of the time at around 5,000. Beverley Minster was almost demolished by its new owners who wanted to profit from selling its stone and lead, however the local people led by wealthy merchant Richard Gray saved it from this fate.[4] During the time of Elizabeth I, Beverley was endowed with its own mayor, Edward Ellerker was the first to take this position.[9] The gap between Beverley's rich and poor became more pronounced during the Tudor era, due to large unemployment. The substantial drop in pilgrimage to Beverley in honour of its founder John of Beverley, effected the jobs of the working class as that was Beverley's main industry.[4]

[edit] Civil War and Restoration recovery

Charles I spent some time in Beverley during the Civil War.
Charles I spent some time in Beverley during the Civil War.

The 17th century began badly for Beverley as many people died of the plague. Due to the close geographical proximity to Hull, focus on the area became magnified when the people of Hull refused to open the gates to Charles I a couple of months before the fighting began in the English Civil War.[10] After been turned away from Hull, the king spent three-weeks as a guest in a house at North Bar in Beverley, where he was openly greeted with the ringing of St Mary's Church bells.[4] Beverley was initially royalist, however it was taken by the parliamentarians of Hull, forcing the king to flee. A royalist army led by William Cavendish defeated Thomas Fairfax to reclaim the town for the royalists; from here they launced another Siege of Hull.[11] Eventually the parliamentarians won the Civil War and inserted the Commonwealth of England, in which alehouses were shut on Sundays, theatres and race meetings abandoned, the Puritans visited the then Church of England houses of worship and destroyed anything they thought to be idolatrous.[4]

Beverley Minister managed to escape this, in part due to the prominence of the Percy family and the fact that the church housed memorials to their ancestors. Beverley's Quakers however were not so fortunate, and were strongly repressed by the Puritans.[4] The English Restoration with Charles II coming to power was generally well received in Beverley, his royal coat of arms was hung in the Minster and remains there.[4] In terms of trade Beverley was not rich in the 17th century but had improved slightly, the majority were based in agriculture.[4] During the Georgian era, Beverley was the county town of the East Riding of Yorkshire and became the prime market town in the area during the 18th century, beating out competition from Pocklington, Howden and Market Weighton.[4] The replacing of old timber buildings with new ones in the Georgian architecture style helped the town recover in prestige level, with the religious structures also undergoing restorations.[4]

[edit] Modern Beverley

Beverley during a market day.
Beverley during a market day.

Due to an increase in population, some of the entrances into the town such as the stone Bars were taken down to accommodate this. Although population figures rose steeply, it was not as much as nearby Hull or most of England in general.[4] Beverley's association to religion remained during the 19th century, as well as the majority Anglican faith, there was several non-conformist religions practised such as Methodism with John Wesley previously having preached there, also with the completion of the Catholic Emancipation and the reinseration of a Catholic heiracy, the Diocese of Beverley in 1850 was chosen to cover all of Yorkshire, before being broken up into two dioceses.[4]

Communications were improved with the opening of the railway station during October 1846.[4] During the Industrial Revolution Beverley's people retained most agricultural jobs, though there was a presence of iron workers within the town.[4] The Second World War saw the nearby city of Hull suffering significantly, however Beverley was more fortunate and did not endure as heavy attacks.[4] Since the war, Beverley has gone through some remodeling and has grown in size, it attracts thousands of tourists each year who come to view the religious buildings and visit the Beverley Racecourse.[4]

[edit] Governance

Beverley was the seat of the Beverley borough in the county of Humberside from 1974 to 1996. It is now the seat of the East Riding of Yorkshire (as it was before 1974).

[edit] Transport

The town is served by Beverley railway station on the Yorkshire Coast Line that runs between Hull and Scarborough.

The five-mile £13m A1079 Beverley Bypass opened in May 1980.

Beverley Beck gives boats access to the town from the River Hull.

There are good, regular bus links with Hull City Centre

[edit] Public society

[edit] Culture

  • Every Saturday and Wednesday is a Market day in Beverley.[citation needed] The main market day is on Saturday with a limited number of stalls on a Wednesday.
  • About every month, on a Sunday, there is a music cafe at The Beverley Memorial Hall called Sunday Live, which features bands and solo artists from around Beverley and the surrounding area.
  • Throughout the year there are various annual music festivals in the town, catering to different kinds of music. This includes; the Early Music Festival in May, the Beverley Folk Festival in June which features two days of folk music, comedy and workshops, the Jazz Festival in August, followed by the Chamber Music Festival in September.[4]

The town has two main English football teams.

The town hosted the 2006 British National Cycling Championships.

Horse racing is catered for at Beverley Racecourse.

[edit] Education

Beverley is also home to the oldest state school in England: Beverley Grammar School (founded 700 AD). Other schools include Beverley High School and Longcroft School and Performing Arts College.

The Defence Driver Training School at Leconfield is nearby.

[edit] Religion

Beverley is a suffragan bishopric of the Diocese of York, created in 1994 to provide a provincial episcopal visitor for the Province of York. As of 2006, the present Bishop of Beverley is the Right Reverend Martyn Jarrett.

Beverley Minster is regarded as the most impressive church in England that is not a cathedral. It contains a tomb said to contain the bones of St. John of Beverley (died 721) who founded a monastery in the town.

[edit] Nightlife

Beverley town is also very well known for its rich variety of public houses,[citation needed] such as The Sun Inn, the town's oldest public house dating back to the early 12th century. There are over 40 public houses in Beverley - the vast majority have been there for over a century. Beverley is also home to one of the last pubs in the world to still use authentic gas lighting; The White Horse Inn (or "Nellie's" to the local population) is owned by the Samuel Smith Brewery company and has become popular with the local student population due to its low prices.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] Notable people

[edit] Twin towns

[edit] References

[edit] Notes

[edit] Bibliography

  • Isaac Taylor, Names and Their Histories (London: Rivington's, 1898), 68.

[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

[edit] Churches

[edit] Festivals

[edit] Schools

[edit] Newspapers

(Source: Wikipedia)
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