Monday, 17 August 2009

The Humber

The Humber pronounced /ˈhʌmbər/) is a large tidal estuary on the east coast of Northern England.

The Humber looking west

Map showing location of the Humber


Faxfleet was the location of the Faxfleet Preceptory, a former community of the Knights Templar. It was one of Yorkshire's principal preceptories, valued at more than £300 (equivalent to £100,000 today) when it was closed in 1308.

River Ouse at York

It is formed at Trent Falls, Faxfleet, by the confluence of the tidal River Ouse and the tidal River Trent.

Gainsborough Riverside Development on the River Trent

From here to the North Sea, it forms part of the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire on the north bank and

Map England showing East Riding of Yorkshire in Red

North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire on the south bank.

Map of England showing North Lincolnshire in Red

Map of England showing North East Lincolnshire in Red

Although the Humber is an estuary from the point at which it is formed, many maps show it as the River Humber.

River Ancholme

Below Trent Falls, the Humber passes the junction with the Market Weighton Canal on the north shore, the confluence of the River Ancholme on the south shore; between North Ferriby and South Ferriby and under the Humber Bridge;

Humber Bridge

between Barton-upon-Humber on the south bank and Kingston upon Hull on the North bank (where the River Hull joins), then meets the North Sea between Cleethorpes on the Lincolnshire side and the long and thin (but rapidly changing) headland of Spurn Head to the North.

Barton-upon- Humber Market Place

The River Hull tidal barrier is situated at the end of the River Hull where it meets the Humber

Cleethorpes Beach

Spurn Head Lighthouse

Map showing Immingham and Grimsby

Ports on the Humber estuary include Kingston upon Hull (better known as simply Hull), Grimsby, Immingham, New Holland and Killingholme.

Humber Oil refinery at Kingstone-upon-Hull
north bank of the Humber

Grimsby Dock Tower

The Humber is now only an estuary; but when the world sea level was lower during the Ice Ages, the Humber had a long freshwater course across the dry bed of the North Sea.

In the Anglo-Saxon period, the Humber was a major boundary, separating Northumbria from the southern kingdoms. Indeed, the name Northumbria simply means the area North of the Humber. It currently forms the boundary between the East Riding of Yorkshire, to the north and North and North East Lincolnshire, to the south.
From 1974 to 1996 the areas now known as East Riding, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire constituted Humberside. For hundreds of years before that, the Humber lay between Lindsey and The East Riding of Yorkshire. "East Riding" is derived from "East Thriding", and likewise with the other Ridings. "Thriding" is an old word of Norse origin meaning a third part. Since the late 11th century, Lindsey had been one of the Parts of Lincolnshire.
The estuary's only crossing is the Humber Bridge which was once the largest suspension bridge in the world. Now it is the fourth largest.

Map showing The Humbers tributaries

Graham Boanas, a Hull man, is believed to be the first man to succeed in wading across the Humber since ancient Roman times. The feat, in August 2005, was attempted to raise cash and awareness for the medical research charity, DebRA. He started his trek on the north bank at Boothferry; four hours later, he emerged on the South bank at Whitton. He replicated this achievement on the television programme Top Gear (Series 10 Episode 6) when he raced James May (who is driving a Alfa Romeo 159) across the Humber without using the Humber Bridge.

Bull Sands Fort

Two fortifications were built in the mouth of the river in 1914, the Humber Forts.

Haile Sands Fort

Fort Paull is further downstream. The Humber was once known as the Abus, for example in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.

Fort Paull

This river's name is recorded in Anglo-Saxon times as Humbre (Anglo-Saxon dative) and Humbri (Latin genitive). Since its name recurs in the name of the "Humber Brook" near "Humber Court" in Herefordshire or Worcestershire, the word humbr- may have been a word that meant "river", or something similar, in an aboriginal language that had been spoken in England before the Celts migrated there (compare Tardebigge).
The Humber features regularly in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th-century fictional chronicle Historia Regum Britanniae. According to Geoffrey, the Humber, invariably referred to by the latin word for river, was named after "Humber the Hun" who drowned there while trying to invade in the earliest days of Britain's settlement.

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