Tag Archives: east Yorkshire

East Yorkshire – Saint John of Bridlington

On day three of our mini-holiday in East Yorkshire, the heatwave predictably broke, clouds returned, the temperature plummeted and the panic was all over.  This is England not the Costa Blanca.

So we made the short car journey to nearby Bridlington.  Bridlington remains a busy seaside resort because it still has a railway service and after the city of Hull is the second largest settlement in East Yorkshire.

We decided against the harbour and the beach because we had been there previously and quite frankly it is a bit too much English seasidy for us and the seagulls are a nuisance and went instead to the old town.  Free Parking! Where can you find Free Parking these days? Answer – Bridlington Old Town.

The historical centre of Bridlington is absolutely wonderful.

A cobbled street of rapid decay locked into a bygone age, the original Georgian shop windows are grubby, the displays are many decades out of date, the window frames are flaking and pock-marked, no wonder then that they choose this location for filming the remake of the comedy series ‘Dad’s Army’ in 2014. Being a huge ‘Dad’s Army’ fan I was really happy about wandering along this special street and made a note to watch the film when I was back at home. And I did!

We parked the car close to the Bayle Museum, the original fortified gatehouse to Bridlington Priory.  It had free admission so I wasn’t expecting a great deal but as it turned out it was well  worth almost an hour of time spent exploring the seven rooms and the history of Bridlington.  So good in fact that I didn’t have to think twice about paying a voluntary contribution on the way out.  That is unusual for me.

Next we visited the nearby Priory.  In the days of its medieval glory Bridlington Priory was one of the great monastic houses of England. Its wealth and possessions made it a key monastery in the North, one of the largest and richest of the Augustinian order.  The Priory is just a church now and a fraction of its previous size courtesy of the insistence of Henry VIII that it should be demolished in 1537 to remove the potential Catholic pilgrimage site of Saint John of Bridlington.  Henry didn’t like Catholic Saints and Pilgrimages as this challenged his new self-appointed role as Head of the Church of England.

Saint John of Bridlington, it turns out is one of the most famous of English Saints and I am ashamed to admit that I had never heard of him before now.

A little about John courtesy of Wiki…

Born in 1320 in the village of Thwing on the Yorkshire Wolds, about nine miles west of Bridlington, educated at a school in the village from the age of five, completing his studies at Oxford University and then entered the Augustinian Canons Regular community of Bridlington Priory. He carried out his duties with humility and diligence, and was in turn novice master, almsgiver, preacher and sub-prior. He became Canon of the Priory in 1346 and was eventually elected Prior in 1356. He served as Prior for 17 years before his death on 10 October 1379.

During his lifetime he enjoyed a reputation for great holiness and for miraculous powers. It is claimed that on one occasion he changed water into wine. He brought people back from the dead and restored a blind man’s sight.  On another, five seamen from Hartlepool in danger of shipwreck called upon God in the name of John, whereupon the prior himself walked on water and appeared to them and brought them safely to shore. 

It seems that anything Jesus could do, John of Bridlington could match.

So good was John at performing miracles that according to legend he continued to perform them even after he had died of the plague and he continued to bring people back from the dead for some time.  That’s a very good trick if you can do it.  These days I imagine John would be admitted to the Magic Circle.

John of Bridlington was canonised and declared a Saint by Pope Boniface in 1401, he was the last English Saint before the Reformation and the dissolution of the Monasteries in the reign of Henry VIII.

A Saint has to be a patron Saint of something and although John is associated with fishing the patron saint of fishermen had already been bagged by Saint Andrew (I will make you Fishers of Men and all that stuff) so Saint John needed something else.  The Spanish Saint Raymond Nonnat is the patron saint of pregnancy and childbirth but Saint John is very specifically the patron saint of difficult childbirth.  I kid you not.  You could not make it up.

The best bit about the church was a side chapel reserved for prayer where people are invited to leave a note requesting a prayer (or a miracle).  This one was my favourite…

Other Unlikely Saint Stories…

Saint James and Santiago de Compostella

Saint Patrick and Ireland

Saint Spiridon and Corfu

Saint Janurius and the Miracle of the Blood

The Feast of Saint Paul’s Shipwreck

 

East Yorkshire – Holderness and Spurn Point

18th July 2022 was predicted to be the hottest day ever, EVER, in the UK and we were setting off for a four night caravan break in East Yorkshire.  I generally associate caravans with rain and cold, not unbearable heat waves.  Luckily we have an electric fan so we packed that first.

We were heading to the Holderness Coast which stretches from Flamborough Head near Bridlington in the north to Spurn Head in the extreme south east of the County.  

As we listened to the radio it seemed as though the whole country was in heat panic, trains cancelled, airports shut, schools closed, people advised not to travel, drawer the curtains and retreat Gollum like into the shelter of a basement.    The sort of heat that melts steel, fries people’s brains and turns pigs into  bacon crisps.  It all seemed like a massive and ridiculous overreaction to me.  There have been hot spells before and everyone knows that in the UK these temperature blips are only ever temporary and rarely last more than a day or two.  For some reason the Government declared a National Emergency.

And what are people complaining about?  Many Brits spend a fortune every year to go to Southern Europe for exactly the sort of temperatures that they were moaning about today, We shouldn’t have to go to work in temperatures like this they complained in TV news interviews but they would be a bit miffed if Spanish waiters said the same.

We left early to stay ahead of the predicted ‘danger’ temperatures and the risk of melting road surfaces and crossed the Humber Bridge, negotiated the traffic queues through the city of Hull and eventually found ourselves in the south Yorkshire countryside, quite unlike anything in the North or the West.

Holderness is an area of the East Riding of Yorkshire, an area of rich agricultural land that was once marshland until it was drained for agriculture in the Middle Ages and as we journeyed East we  drove through miles and miles of wheat and barley fields all shining proudly gold and standing erect in the unexpected July sunshine.

Arriving at Yorkshire Wildlife Spurn Head visitor centre we paid the £5 parking fee and set off on the three mile walk to Yorkshire’s Land’s End.  I immediately wished I hadn’t been so foolish to pay the fee because there was free parking all along the side of the road.  It used to be possible to drive all the way to the end but a mighty Winter storm in 2013 washed away the road and created an island which is now cut off by high tides.

At the point that the road ended we found ourselves walking on a beach flanked by sand dunes and periodic derelict buildings also victims of the storm.  Out in the North Sea just a few miles away we could see the seventy-three off-shore wind turbines of the Humber Gateway Windfarm gleaming in the sunshine  like an army of Viking invaders in shining armour waiting to come ashore.

If temperatures were approaching 40 degrees inland that wasn’t the case here on the sand spit and a pleasant sea breeze kept things down around a very manageable 30 or so.  At the end of the walk we came to the Spurn lighthouse, redundant now for several years, the remains of the demolished lighthouse keepers cottage, a military parade ground and what was once an army gun emplacement protecting the entrance to the Humber Estuary. 

A short way out to sea is  a sea fort, one of two built during the First World War, one here and one on the South side near Cleethorpes near Grimsby.  Construction began in 1914 but they were not completed until 1919 after the war had ended,  Luckily the Germans didn’t attempt to invade via the Humber.  In the Second World War a chain net was strung between the two to  prevent enemy submarines entering the estuary.  A distance of about five miles.  

I found it a rather wild and eerie sort of place, voices of the old sea, abandoned history in every grain of sand and ghostly whispers in the breeze.    We were now at the most easterly point of Yorkshire and we stared out into the vast expanse of the North Sea and Scandinavia beyond.

Not the most easterly place in the UK because that is Lowestoft in East Anglia,

There is nothing to stay for once we had reached the end so we turned around and set off on the three mile trek back to the visitor centre and hoped that the tide hadn’t come in and cut us off from the mainland.

Geography Quiz

1  What is the most northerly capital city in the World?

2  What is the most southerly capital city in the World?

3  Which country is regarded as the centre of the Earth?

4  What is the Highest capital city in the World?

5  What is the Lowest capital city in the World?

6  Which country is closest to the South Pole?

7  Which country is closest to the Moon?

8  Which is the most easterly US state?

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Skipsea in Yorkshire – Doors, Gates and Windows

 

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