Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire

Beverley Yorkshire Post Card

“East Yorkshire, to the uninitiated, just looks like a lot of little hills. But it does have these marvellous valleys that were caused by glaciers, not rivers. So it is unusual.” –  David Hockney

We have lived in Grimsby in the far east of England for five years.  I like Grimsby but it has to be said that it is an odd place.   On the south bank of the Humber Estuary it is so far east that the only place to go after this is the North Sea and there aren’t any ferries to Europe as there are in Hull on the north side of the river.  It is a dead end.  It is a place that you only go to by choice.  No one visits Grimsby by accident.  You cannot stumble upon it while taking a leisurely drive along the coast as say in Northumberland or East Anglia.  It can never be an unexpected discovery.

I mention this because we have friends who live in the charming town of Oakham in Rutland and who visit us here at least once a year.  When Richard and Pauline come to stay we need something to do but after two or three times I can assure you that there is little left to see of any interest in Grimsby.  On their most recent visit we needed to come up with something new.

My friend Dai Woosnam (who lives in Grimsby) is always chastising me for regularly flying to Europe but neglecting to travel in England and the UK.  He cannot understand why I have never been to Bath for example (one of the finest visitor cities in the UK) and to be fair he has got a point because I cannot explain why I have not been to Bath either.  Anyway, Bath is too far to go for a day trip from Grimsby so we studied the Reader’s Digest touring guide of Great Britain (1992 edition) for somewhere closer and came up with Beverley, the County town of East Riding in neighbouring Yorkshire, which from the description sounded rather hopeful.

Reader's Digest Touring Guide to Britain

It wasn’t a very promising start to the day weather wise however and grey cloud and drizzle did not fill me with enthusiasm for the forty mile journey west, then north across the River Humber.  The cloud was low and as sticky as toffee pudding and as we crossed the Humber Bridge at the highest point we drove through mist and fog but once across and toll paid the clouds began to break as we drove into the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The White Rose County of Yorkshire is the largest in England and for administrative convenience was once divided into Ridings, North, West and East, but no obvious fourth and I wondered why?

Well it turns out that there is a simple explanation because the word Riding is derived from a Danish word ‘thridding’, meaning a third. The invading Danes called representatives from each Thridding to a Thing, or Parliament and established the Ridings System.  I rather like the idea that Parliament is called a Thing! To this day, Yorkshire consists of three ridings, along with the City of York, and that’s why there is no fourth, or South, Riding.

We arrived in Beverley in the late morning and by the time we had interpreted the complicated car park payment process at a pay and display machine the sky was blue, the sun was shining and a day that started needing a pullover did not now even require a jacket.

Beverley Georgian Quarter

The name of the town came into use sometime in the tenth century and I always find it interesting how far the name of an English town or city has travelled world-wide.  In the United States the U.S. Board on Geographic names have for some reason dropped the third ‘e’ but there is a Beverly in Chicago, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, South Dakota, Washington and West Virginia.  Beverly Hills in California is named after Beverly, Massachusetts so can indirectly be included in the list.

In Canada, as in USA the drop the third ‘e’ in Beverly, Toronto but in Australia they retain the correct spelling in Beverley, Adelaide and in a small town in Western Australia.

Beverley Market Place

The place was busy and we followed a stream of pedestrians who seemed to know where they were going and arrived quite quickly at the Market Place.  Ordinarily I would not find this an especially thrilling experience, even now after nearly sixty years I can recall being dragged around Leicester Market by my mother on a weekly basis, but Beverley Market, I have to say, was quite wonderful, busy, vibrant and full of life and I was so overcome by the moment I was talked into a rash purchase of a rusty garden ornament for £25 – my entire pocket money for the week.

I knew it was going to take me a while to get over that moment of shopping weakness so I steered us all away from the market and towards the ‘Georgian Quarter’ which I hoped would give me the time that I needed to recover my composure!

Rusty Garden Flower

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21 responses to “Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire

  1. Brings back great memories of a great day Andrew. Thanks for introducing Pauline and me to Beverley.

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  2. But the Ridings no longer are…..

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    • Well, ceremonially at least. Yorkshire will surely never forget its Ridings. The local Council retains the name East Riding. Lincolnshire, where I live, has all but forgotten its Ridings, Kesteven, Lindsey and Holland although these too live on in official Council names.

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  3. Fairly close to Beverley is Hornsea and Hornsea Mere where I used to call in to birdwatch. That would be a decent place, I suppose, to stop for your traditional fish and chip supper (on the way to somewhere else, admittedly).

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  4. Whenever my parents came up to see me at uni in Hull, we’d go to Bev for a posh pub lunch – thanks for bringing back memories!

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  5. I’m with Dai: you should visit your own place. It’s like Aussies who travel all over the place and have never been out of Melbourne or Sydney and carry on about Bali, Puket, London or LA. Anyway, I started out wanting to write my next post about Yianni but got sidetracked by the Cod Wars. Quite a lot of good stuff there. I have a lot to say about that 25 quid sculpture but I’ll keep it to myself.

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    • You make a very good point John. I do consider Europe to be part of my legitimate travel area and one day I will visit Australia.
      As regards UK, of course I travel around and visit places but here is an interesting point about the internet. When I started blogging I assumed my readership would be from UK and they would not be interested in Grimsby, Birmingham and Leicester but of course the internet is international and a post about Beverley can be just as interesting to someone in Melbourne as one about Barcelona!
      £25 – don’t remind me!

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  6. I love an article from which I also learn something and your explanation of the “missing” Ridings is just what’s needed.
    I take your point about seeing your own country first but although travelling around Britain is fun and nearly always enjoyable, I do miss that culture shock I get from visiting a foreign country.

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  7. Yes – you do need to go to Bath! Wonderful town, even with all the touristy stuff.

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  8. Definitely looks worth a visit – maybe I should consult my Readers Digest guide more – we have the very same edition!

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  9. I’ve never visited this part of the UK, although have been to North Yorkshire and also Teeside. I lived in Hartlepool for many years and did go to Scarborough. Looking forward to the tour, Andrew. I just hope you don’t have any more shopping impulses. I thought that was Kim’s department?

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  10. Pingback: North Yorkshire – Leyburn, Middleham, Yorkshire Day and Richard III | Have Bag, Will Travel

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