Inns of Hessle

The Inns, Hotels, Public Houses and Brewers of Hessle

Inns, in various guises, have long been one of the traditional features of society providing refreshment and accommodation for travellers as well as providing a social function local people. These traditions go back to Roman times when inns were placed at the roadside to cater from the needs of Roman messengers. Inns traditionally display a sign so that they are easy to recognise and many of these provide excellent examples of contemporary artwork. Many inns would have brewed their own beer, others became tied houses, that is tied to a particular brewery. Trade directories record the presence of inns, maltsters and brewers in abundance. Hessle was no exception and had several inns, hotels, taverns, alehouses, hotels or pubs.

Ale, too, was a staple of the English diet before clean piped water was introduced. Water was not safe to drink and the boiling of water as part of the brewing process killed of bacteria making it much safer. Beverages such as tea and coffee did not become affordable to the majority of people until well into the 19th century. Large houses produced their own ale and it was common to brew different strengths of ale from the same mash with the weakest, known as small ale being given to children.

The first hostelry in Hessle was probably adjacent to the ferry landing area at the Haven and would have provided refreshment and shelter to travellers crossing the Humber. The ferry to Barton was a vital link on the north south route between Lincoln and Beverley where many pilgrims travelled to the shrine of St John. Later, as Hessle grew, several inns appeared in the town.

Admiral Hawke

The Admiral Hawke stands on the corner of The Square and Prestongate. The Admiral Hawke is named after a famous figure from Britain's military past. Hawke, as his rank suggests was a member the Royal Navy and rose to high office. He was also a forbear of Martin Bladen (Lord) Hawke, the distinguished patriarch of Yorkshire cricket (despite being born in Willingham, Lincolnshire).

Edward Hawke, born in London in 1705, was the first Baron Hawke of Towton (1776). The young Edward was brought up by his uncle Martin Baden (though this may be a mis-spelling of Bladen, in the book I read). He entered naval service in 1720 and took twenty seven years to reach the rank of Admiral, being promoted to Rear Admiral of the White in 1747 due to the personal interposition of the King, George II and was, at that time, the youngest holder of such high rank. He was a keen, wiry and alert figure, especially compared to the more portly appearance of some of his predecessors.

Hawke first saw action, as a commander, in 1744 at the Battle of Toulon. But his most famous military exploits were to come later. In 1747 his fleet defeated and captured the greater part of a French squadron off Cape Finistere. The second exploit occurred in 1759 when Hawke engaged the French Fleet in Quiberon Bay capturing five ships and running others aground. He was thanked by Parliament and granted a pension of £1500 for his efforts. Hawke's action prevented French plans for an invasion of Britain from being put into operation.

From 1748 to 1752 Hawke was in command of the Home Fleet; he commanded the Western Fleet 1755 - 56 and the Mediterranean Fleet in 1756. In 1747 he was elected MP for Portsmouth. From 1766 to 1771 Hawke was First Lord of the Admiralty and in 1768 he was Admiral of the Fleet. He died in 1781.

The pub was auctioned in 1814 when its owner Robert Pinning retired from serving the public. Pinning, who was also a partner in a chalk and Paris White business ran the Admiral Hawke for thirty years. In 1817 it was again advertised, in the Hull Packet, for sale along with its brewhouse, having been in the care of a Mr Hare. By 1824 it was again advertised for sale, In the Hull Advertiser, along with a yard, garden, brewhouse and stables.

Some Nineteenth Century Licensees:

1823 Christopher Smith, vict.; 1826 William Rudstone, vict.; 1834 Henry Brittain;1840/46 John Walton; c1848 David Hearfield; 1857, 1858 William Hearfield; 1867/72/79/82 William Thompson Taylor; 1885/88 Francis Coates; 1892, 1899 Robert Raynor.

Blue Plough

The Blue Plough is recorded as an inn in the nineteenth century. It became the home of Dr Sheldon.

Coburg Hotel

The Coburg stood on the south side of the railway line close by the Station. It was used to house those injured in the accident of 1847. In the 1940’s it was run by Diana King and J H King. By the 1880s it had become a private residence but was later demolished.

Commercial Hotel

The Commercial Hotel stood on the west side of Hessle Square between the Marquis of Granby and the church. This was a temperance hotel.

Ferry Boat

The Ferry Boat Inn is probably the oldest of Hessle's hostelries, though the present building is of more recent age. It stands on the west side of the Haven. Whilst the derivation of the name may appear to be self-explanatory the history behind the ferry, which ran from Hessle across the Humber, is less well known. It was from the inn's position at Hessle Haven that a ferry to Barton ran for centuries until the Hull - New Holland ferry attained supremacy. The inn was advertised as for sale or to let in the Hull Advertiser in 1833 when Mark Green was the proprietor.

Despite the relocation of the ferry, after the coming of the railway, the inn continued in business. Indeed the area around the inn was the site of sevceral small businesses as well as two shipyards. It would appear from Directory extracts that the hostelry at the Haven has been known by several different names especially during the nineteenth century (and more recently). Various Directories record an inn in this vicinity as the Ship, the Sloop, The Ferry, Ferry Inn and the Ferry Boat. It is probable that all refer to the same establishment.

The Ferryboat Inn at Hessle Haven

Some 19th Century Licensees:

1823 Thomas Wright (Ship, at the Ferry); 1826 John Maw (Ship, at the Ferry); 1834 William Brown; 1840’s John Hodsman; 1857, 1867, 1872 John Kershaw (and coal merchant); Thomas Kershaw (and coal merchant; Mary Kershan (and coal merchant) (Is this a mis-spelling of Kershaw?); 1885 Thomas Kershaw (and coal merchant); 1888, 1892 Thomas Kershaw (and coal merchant); 1899 George Cograve.

George, The

This inn stood in Prestongate and is reputed to have taken its name from George IV. Fitzgerald records it as having been called The White Gate until around 1860, though this is not recorded in Directories. It had a small white gate hung over the door for its sign. It has also (and is now) been known as the 'Top House'.

Some 19th Century Licensees:

1840 Thomas Rhodes; 1846 Joseph Wilson; 1879 Joseph Allinson; 1885 John Spicer; 1888 Isaac Bayram; 1892, 1899 Charles R Papworth.

Marquis of Granby

The Marquis of Granby or Granby lies just a few yards from the Admiral Hawke on the western side of Hessle Square. There have been several holders of the title but the pub was named after John Manners (1721 - 1770) the eldest son of the Duke of Rutland. He was educated at Eton attended Trinity College, Cambridge before becoming M P for Grantham in 1742 (he was also later elected M P for Cambridgeshire). However, he found greater fame as a soldier.

At the time of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 Manners served on the staff of the Duke of Cumberland. He served in Flanders in 1747 and reached the rank of Major General in 1755. By 1759 he had risen to second-in-command of the 'Blues'. When his commander, Lord George Sackville, failed to lead the cavalry into action against the French at the battle of Minden Granby was furious. Sackville was relieved of his position. The following year Granby led the same cavalry to a spectacular victory at Warburg. He became a very popular man though his popularity was not universal as Walpole accorded him, sneeringly, the title of the 'mob's hero'.

In 1763 Granby was appointed Master General of the Ordnance and in 1766 he became Commander-in-Chief. He resigned the post in 1770 and died, at Scarborough, in the same year.

The Granby was a coaching inn and a staging point on the road from Hull for coaches such as the ‘Rapid’ (to Manchester), the ‘Royal Eclipse’ (to Selby) and the Royal mail coach (to Doncaster). Another coach to South Cave, the ‘Miles’, could take up to four hours to complete its journey owing to the parlous state of road surfaces before turnpikes.

The Granby, along with its brewhouse, was advertised in the Hull Advertiser as for sale in 1808 and again in 1821.

Some 19th Century Licensees

1823: Mark Green; 1834 Joseph Temple; 1840; Thomas Rhodes; 1846, 1857 Joseph Wilson; 1867 – 92 Edward Saunders (also brewer and maltster, and corn merchant); 1899 Mary Saunders (Mrs).

The Marquis of Granby before alteration.

Regatta, Ship and Sloop

Inns known as the Regatta (John Speck 1867, 1872), Ship (Thomas Wright 1826) and Sloop (William Brown 1840) are mentioned in mid nineteenth century Directories. They were all sited near the Haven. Whilst the Ship is listed as at the Ferry and may be the same house, the Sloop and Regatta are listed separately from the Ferry in some Directories.

Three Crowns

The Three Crowns had a somewhat shorter length of service to the public than other Hessle hostelries and now forms, Wintersgill, part of a pair of cottages on Hessle Foreshore in the shadow of the Humber Bridge. Its name is taken from the coat of arms of Hull. The pub was built to serve the needs of the industry on the foreshore and the demands of the small community that lived there.

It is also recorded that one of the landlords of the Three Crowns was not averse to supplementing his income through ‘free trade’. Apparently he smuggled tobacco and hid it in his vegetable plot and was discovered digging up the contraband when customs men made a return visit only a few minutes after departing from searching the scene. The situation of the Humber banks would have been ideal for smuggling.

Some 19th Century Licensees:

1823 John Sellars; 1834 Thomas Wallis; 1846, 1857, 1858 Amy Wallis (Mrs); Thomas Wallis; 1867 George Milner; 1872 Thomas Holt.

Griffin Brewery

The Griffin Brewery was situated in Cow Lane, as shown on the 1890 OS map and in early photographs. This brewery was owned by Joel Riplingham, from 1804 who was, later, assisted by his son, Robert (born 1806). Joel and Robert were still brewing in 1834 but Robert left to take up farming, possibly supplying the brewery with raw materials.. By 1846 the brewery had passed to James Hood, a Scot from Dumfries, who also owned a beer house and five inns. Hood ran a beer house and supplied five inns in the district. He was still involved at the Griffin in 1872 but by 1879 his son had taken sole charge. The brewery had passed to Morley and Dewhirst by 1882 and remained under the control of the Dewhirst’s until 1896 when it was put up for sale. Morley and Dewhirst were described as brewers, maltsters and ale and porter merchants. The premises were demolished in 1921 to make way for Hessle Square.

Cow Lane showing Banks' School and beyond the Griffin Brewery with its distinctive chimney.

Among other maltsters, brewers, beer sellers listed in Directories are James Appleton (1857) and Simon Appleton (1823, 1846, 1855), Robert Extoby (1834),George Kirk Forrest (1857), John Oxtoby (1836), Sarah Speck (1855, 1857), George Maw (1888) George Oust (1892), John Berry(1872), George Sneeston (1882), the Dewhirsts (1885, 1892) and the Hoods (1855, 1857, 1872, 1879). In 1857 Thomas Rudston is also recorded as a cooper, or maker of beer barrels.

Newer Pubs


The Norland is a modern pub on Hull Road named after the North Sea Ferry that saw service as a troop ship in the Falklands War. It was formerly called the Eight Bells.

The Hase

Opposite the church. It takes its name from the Norman name for Hessle as given in the Domesday Book. It was formerly called “Denton’s”.

Further away from the centre of Hessle there are also the Country Park Inn and Darley’s, which takes its name from the brewers, Darley’s, once of the Thorne brewery. It is sited on Boothferry Road which was built around the 1930s. For some time after the opening of the Humber Bridge the pub was called “The Humber Bridge” but as local people continued to use the original name this was reverted to by the brewery.