In the centre of Hull between Whitefriar’s Gate and Carr Lane is the excavated remains of the Beverley Gate. There isn’t a lot to see, just a few brick foundations below the level of the surrounding streets, but this is where the Civil War all began…
In the 17thC, Hull was a major town in the region with a very large and prosperous port. It was a walled city surrounded by a ditch and four gates. It also held the second largest arsenal of guns and ammunition in England.
When trouble started to brew between the King and Parliament, Sir John Hotlam was appointed by Parliament and instructed to take charge of Hull and its arsenal. He had over 1000 troops at his command. The town was a key port for receiving aid from abroad and was seen as an important target for the King to control.
King Charles arrived at York to consolidate his support in the north. He marched on Hull in April 1642 hoping to seize the city. He found the gates barred against him and Hotham refused him entry, the first act of open defiance of the King. The king retreated to Beverley to sulk and declared Hotham guilty of high Treason. The citizens of Hull strengthened their defences and flooded the land around the city. A couple of months later, a Royalist raiding party arrived to intimidate the citizens by burning down buildings outside the city walls. They were driven away. After a night raid by raft on the Royalist headquarters, the Royalists were taken by surprise and routed. The king, dispirited abandoned the siege of Hull and retreated to York.
Hull was again besieged in 1643 and suffered heavy bombardment. Again the surrounding land was flooded and Parliamentary ships patrolled the Humber and supplied Hull. The Royalist army attempted to storm the defences but were pushed back by a counter attack. After a month, the Royalist Army admitted defeat and again retreated to York. Hull never did surrender to the Royalists.
The town walls and gates were demolished in the 18thC as they were hindering the growth of the town and were a nuisance to traffic.
The remains of the Beverley gate were excavated about 20 years ago and stand displayed in a sunken amphitheatre. Ignored by shoppers, it lies forgotten apart from a few leaves swirling in the wind.