The History of Barton upon Humber


The name Barton upon Humber comes from "Beretun" (Barley Town).  Around the 6th century the town was originally one large estate, which included Barrow upon Humber, and was known as aet Bearuwe.

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The History of Barton upon Humber

The town of Barton upon Humber is of Anglo-Saxon origin and it is during this period that a major settlement on Castledyke South was in occupation (Around where Kings Garth Mill {the Old Mill pub} is now).  There has been a large excavation of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery around this site.  There is also evidence that the Romans settled on a site to the east of the Beck stream by 400AD after moving from the location of Poor Farm to the east of the modern town.  There may have been a significant local Roman community.

Barton upon Humber is unusual in that it has two impressive churches located close together.  The earliest is St. Peter's, St. Mary's originally being a chapel of ease to St. Peter's.  There may well be an earlier church underneath St. Peter's built by the Saxon lord who lived close to the site of Tyrwhitt Hall (archaeologists have discovered evidence of 5th and 6th century buildings under the nave).  Historians are not sure why two churches have been built so close together but it may well be that with St. Peter's being under the control of the monks of Bardney Abbey, the local people felt they needed their own church.

In the Domesday book (1086) Barton was recorded as having a church, market, two mills, a ferry and a population of around 1000.  It was obviously a very important town in North Lincolnshire.  In Medieval times the town expanded with street names such as Fleetgate, Priestgate, Holydyke and Newport. It was basically two linked settlements.  The first settlement was based around the port of Barton Haven including Fleetgate.  When this settlement outgrew Fleetgate Newport was built at a right-angle to accommodate extra housing.  The second settlement was based around the two churches and included Burgate, Priestgate, Soutergate and Southgate (Whitecross Street).  At some point the two settlements decided to link and it was at this time that Catherine Street was built to link Newport with Soutergate.  Barton was an important and large port in Medieval times and this is where the early wealth came from.  In 1359 the town provided 8 ships and 121 men for Edward 3rd's expedition to France.  It is around this time that the "lost castle" could have been built (it has yet to be found, but it has been suggested it may lay around the area of Tyrwitt Hall).  In Post-Medieval times Barton declined slightly due to the close proximity to the new "Kingstown" upon Hull (or Kingston upon Hull as it is now known).

Big changes happened to Barton between 1793 and 1796 when new roads, fields and hedges were established.  It was after this that Barton went from being nearly wholly dependent on farming to other industries such as brick and tile making.  Barton once again grew in the Victorian era helped by the coming of the Grand Central Railway in 1849, and by 1856 there were 12 inns and taverns, and 6 beerhouses amongst the other shops and industries.

The first half of the last century Barton struggled with many of the local industries closing.  Since the Humber Bridge has been built Barton has moved away from being an industrial town and moved closer to tourism improving its fortunes. Many new houses have been built around the town, some new industrial development has occurred and people are now looking to live in Barton and commuting to Scunthorpe, Grimsby and Hull.

The Character of Barton upon Humber

The majority of the buildings in the historic core of Barton are 18th or early 19th century in date. Some of these buildings are very impressive, the Police Station, Assembly Rooms, Oddfellows Hall and Salvation Army Hall to name but a few.  There are also links to Barton's agricultural past around the town for example a group of barns stand on the corner of Holydyke and Ferriby road, and the old flour mill in Market Lane.  The buildings in Barton are mostly made of brick, due to the close proximity of many brick and tile works along the Humber banks.  The only real exception to this is the two churches which are made of chalk and stone.  The roofs in Barton are mainly Lincolnshire Pantile, but a few Welsh Slate roofs remain. The more modern housing can mostly be found further from the town centre.  The area around the two churches probably contain the oldest buildings in Barton and have the most complete medieval street pattern, Fleetgate is probably the oldest street but Soutergate, Burgate, Whitecross Street and Newport are close in date.

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