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History of Hull (Annales Regioduni Hullini) online

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by quarrelling with the fervants of his new establishment, who
were reluctant to acknowledge his authority ; and he feems to
intimate that his "lovely Alice," who had been the angel of his
youthful dreams, had fomehow been transformed into an Eve. —



THOMAS GENT, Printer, of York. 19



" I found her temper," he says, " much altered from that fweet
natural foftnefs, and most tender affection, that rendered her fo
amiable to me while I was more juvenile, and the a maiden."

Another fource of difcomfort to him, was the oppofition he ex-
perienced on the part of his wife's uncle, a Mr. White, Printer, of
Newcaftle. It appears, that on the death of Bourne, he had caft a
longing eye on the York eftablifhment, and endeavoured to dif-
fuade his niece from entering into a fecond marriage. Failing in
this, he fet up a Prefs at York, and endeavoured in every way to
thwart Gent's honeft endeavours. This evoked on the part of
Gent an implacable bitternefs of fpirit, and fruftrated every at-
tempt of his wife to bring about a reconciliation. The fruits of
fuch a courfe were foon apparent. The rival Prefs continued to
make rapid advances, while Gent could fcarcely find work for his
own. He refolved to try the chances of Authorfhip — " I was
obliged to contrive fome bufinefs," he says, "rather than go back
in the world ; and by an almoft unheard-of attempt, to feek a
living, by recalling the dead, as it were, to life," (referring to his
Hiftory of the Antiquities of York) "to afford me and mine, that
fuftenance which the living seemed to deny me." This leads me
to notice the principal works of Gent, which I fhall do in chronolo-
gical order, touching upon thofe points that I may deem of fpecial
intereft to the readers of this little treatise.

Gent publilhed his Hiftory of York, in the year 1730. "Poor
indeed, as it comes into the world," he says in his preface,
"without fomuch as one dedication, one patron to defend it; nay,
rather cenfures and menaces in the room thereof: fothat it flies to
the umbrage of the courteous reader, to be favourable in its recep-
tion, and to the justice of the world in defence of its compiler."
The work contains tranferiptions from the various Monuments,

(hort notices of the lives of fome of the Archbifhops and Bifhops,

details of the Religious Houses that exifted in and near the

City, mention of the chief benefactors of the Cathedral Church



20 Notices of the Life and Works of

of St Peter, a minute defcription of its ftained windows, and
translations of the epitaphs and inscriptions of the monuments.
There is a little dafh of the fhowman in Gent's manner of pre-
fenting things, due, rather perhaps to the cuftom of the times,
than to an}- affectation on his part. The prolixity of his general
style robs it of all power, but there is a fimplicity in the narrative,
a quaintness in the touches, and often a vividness of colouring,
which charm and intereft the reader. It is worth notice that his
fir ft account of Hull is given at page 246.

The hiftory of Ripon next appeared in 1733. In the preface,

Gent reminds his readers, that the feveral "portraitures and views
exhibited in the book" are fomewhat wanting in "the prospective,"
a fact that the courteous reader foon found out for himfclf upon
examination. " Yet I humbly conceive," says Gent, "they are
sufficient to give great ideas to the diftant readers, or to remind
thofe who have seen the originals." This Hiftory of Ripon is
conceived much upon the fame plan as that of York. It is in-
troduced by a poem on the furprifing beauties of Studley Park,
with a defcription of the venerable ruins of Fountains Abbe)-. It
then proceeds to treat, in minute detail, of the ecclefiaftical and
civic antiquities of the town of Ripon. There are alfo notices
of the Churches of Beverley, Wakefield, Leeds, and of feveral
Towns of intereft near York. "Faithfully and painfully collected
by the Author."

It muft not be omitted, that in this work occurs the firft adver-
tifement of the forthcoming Hiftory of Hull, which was set forth
in thefe terms : "In a little time, God willing, will be undertaken
the Hiftory of Kingfton-upon-Hull, both as to its ecclefiaftical
and civil government (authentick manufcripts being obtained for
that purpofe) which, as it has been always a princely and opulent
town, as well as remarkable for various furprifing transactions,
will, with its prefent happy conftitution, afford the moft agreeable
entertainment to the Reader." I cannot refrain from tranferibing



THOMAS GENT, Printer, of York. 21

fome verfes from this work .which have reference to Hull, not from
any inherent poetical merit they poffefs, but because they fliow
the spirit that animated the writer in his appreciation of the con-
tingencies of all human things. —

<<"p\\R hence my Eye with distant View surveys
A Bulwark' d Town wade out into the Seas,
Half Isle, Half Continent : Whofe narrow Neck
Withstands the Waves, and does their Inroads check ;
Whofe restlefs Rage affaults with fruitless Shocks
And vainly storms the unrelenting Rocks.
But what could Belgians Naval Pow'r sustain,
And with its Cannon clear th'infested Main ;
What stood th' Insults of War and raging Tides,
In Pride's o'erwhelming Insolence fubfides.
Pride has most Pow'rful Empires overthrown ;
Pride lank in Dust the Glorious Babylon!
Whole Rival Fame in Story boasts no more
In all the Tract that Time has travell'd o'er ;
Which now so waste a Wildernefs is made,
That e'en its Ruin's Ruins are d<
Wam'd by my Verfe, let other Ports beware,
And with their Trade RELIGION make their Care:
This Place, by Trade, like others, rear'd its Brow,
W rich and vain, and then (just bate !) grew low.
(Unerring Vengeance will offenders find,
However slow it seems to limp behind.)
I ' hurch in Ruins, once its grace and Boast,
Its Beauty buried in Time's Grave ami lost ;
Till to past ('runes discharg'd the Forfeit due,

II ve„ and rais'd 1 lis I lot si anew,

:i stand-, another i me,

We may this ( 'h tion name.

So when the Grave shall i' Us Trust,

And our ih-d Souls shall re aflume their Dust,
Tho' not our Bodies their old Form foi

' »ur ! I Mould sh dl take.

Nov. | miis, and I li-av'n soik I, . ,|, , t,, ,1

He'll ral e, on I Brow,

Thou, favour'd Town, shalt lift once more thy Head,
\nd Bummon back thy formei Fortune tied.



22 Notices of the Life and IVorks of



thy own So — rb — r — gh, a Man approv'd,
His Country's Friend, and ofhis Prince belov'd,
Dear to the Muses, who can Worth endear;
What may's! thou hope, if thou may'st claim liis Care ;
If thro' his Eyes, or thro' the Muse, the Grace
Of Majesty should lighten on the Place?
Built for a Mart, thou challengest the choice,
Bespeak'st the Merchant, and prevent'st his Voice.
The ( >cean's parting Trade thou dost invite,
Stand'st out to View, and court'st the ships to light ,
While with a bending Arm, thy Port provides
A common refuge from the Rage of Tides.
Blazed in my Verse, the World thy Site shall see,
And thou shah own thy open'd Trade to me ;
Thy Name the Earth's remotest Ends may pierce,
By Ships convcy'd ; to Heav'n ad vane' d in Verse."

***"AsI humbly conceive this to be the strongest Place for Fortification upon these
Coasts, and which in case of Apprehenfion from a Foreign Invafion might be made
excellent use of, methinks 'tis pity its Fortifications should have been neglected, and
suffer* d to lie in Ruins ; or that any of the Fortifications upon this Coast should not be
supported ; and for this Reason : The French, by their Contraband Trade with our
Smugglers for these late years, are now well acquainted with this Coast, which in their
late Wars would have been of bad Consequence to us ; for it was only owing to their
apprehenfions of our Rocks, which they now know how to avoid, that we were safe
from their Depredations."

Of the Hiitory of Hull, publifhcd in 1735, little need be said
beyond commending it to the courteous appreciation of the
reader. It has its defects, no doubt, both of conception and ex-
ecution, but to an\- one thoroughly acquainted with Hull and its
institutions, it cannot fail to be a valuable and interesting text-
book. Its details concerning the Churches of Holy Trinity and
St. Mar)-, the faithful transcriptions of the Monuments, and their
quaint translations for the benefit of the English reader, are proofs
that Gent spared no pains to please and to instruct his readers. —
Even were the book meritlesson all other points, it would still re-
main a monument of the most careful and scrupulous labour.
"Gent's performances were not, like too many modern books of
topography, mere bundles of pillage from the works of ingenious



THOMAS GENT, Printer, of York. 23



and painstaking authors, but contained matter honestly collected
and not, before his time, made public by the press."

It is interesting to note that the old Plan of Hull, given in this
work at page S2, exhibits the Market Crofs which had not yet
been replaced by the Statue of King William the 3rd. — The old
Crofs appears to have been removed whilft this work was in pro-
grefs, as the other plates represent the Statue. Gent's East View
of the Town, and also his Plan, furnish us with a sketch of the
Old Sugar House, the calamitous fall of which caused so much
consternation a short time since.

There is much interefting matter to be found in the Addenda
to Gent's Hiftory of Hull. Some of the scientific opinions there-
in advanced are of the moft curious nature, and may give an idea
of what paffed current for fcience in those days. A correspond-
ent from Whitby (p. 216) endeavours to account for the origin of
the lingular foffils now known as "ammonites" that are found
upon the beach there. "One will have it," he says, " that they pro-
ceed thro' the meer frolicks of nature ; " a second ascribes them
"to some occult quality of the earth " — another says, "they are
the spiral petrifactions which the ground produces thro' a Fer-
mentation peculiar to Alum Mines." — " I procured my engraver,"
says Gent, " to exhibit the form of one of these Serpentine Stones
in a vacancy of the copper-plate, from which the following Pros-
pect of Scarborough is taken off." Among the details at the
end of the work arc many curious articles that will repay perusal.

The curious portrait of Gent prefixed to the present volume, is
after a scarce print occalionally found in copies of his works. —
Although but indifferently executed, it is very characteristic,
representing the venerable figure of the old man with his snowy
hair, and around him the mufieal instruments in which he de-
lighted. 1 le is seated, it may be supposed, in his quaint apartment

in Petergate,

" Where, Heaven be praifed ! he bulll hie Printing k ,

Covered with lead* a Turret foi a Dome.



24 Notices of the Life and II or/cs of

In the same year Gent printed, and it is supposed partly edited
a literal')' serial entitled "Miscellanea Curiosa," confisting of
enigmas and mathematical problems in prose and verse. It con-
tains verses by Gent, on the Statue of King William the 3rd, at
Hull, which had then been lately erected. The work proved
very unattractive and soon died out

A quaint old volume is Gent's History of England, ( 1 741 )
and still quainter his History of Rome. In the appendix to the
latter is found an account of the demolishing of Pontefract Castle
in 1649, and a note records that, "Col. Overton, by an order from
the Lord General, for the Publick Service for Drawbridges, for
Hull, had iron teams delivered to him of the value of, in money,
2£ 17s 8d. and for timber, value 8£ 6s od."

Other works from the pen of our author, are his History of the

East Window in York Minster, (1762) tolerably printed, although

there are man)' points about it that give evidence of his failing

fortunes — a Tract entitled "Judas Iscariot " (1772) — "The Holy

life and death of S. Winifred,"(i742) "a poem writ by a sort of

infpiration on recover)' from fickness" — "The Gospel of Nicode-

mus," — "The History of the Ancient Militia in Yorkshire, (1760)

on the title page of which is inscribed: "Written under cruel

disappointment, and waiting for paper." In this book he thus

alludes to Hull: —

" Or who is ignorant how Hull increas'd,
To prove the Key or Fortress of the East ?
Both can to Glory make a just Pretence ;
Though this Superiour for a strong Defence:

And by its Harbour nothing them annoys;

* * « *

When Hothams, Gees, ami Moyfers mingling gain'd
Afcending Power o'er all their Swelling Hearts,
Like neighbouring Worthies by the mikleft arts;
They learn' t fuch Forms as gave them full content;
Of War, wife Laws, and happy Government."



THOMAS GENT, Printer, of York. 25



The illustrations to these latter works are most deplorable, and
betray the state of indigence to which the writer was reduced.

Slowly but surely, the shades of adverfity began to close
around him. His press came to be less and less in demand.
" Having but too much time to spare," he writes, "rather than
be indolent. I studied music on the harp, flute, and other instru-
ments."* It was not Gent's only misfortune to be surpaffed by
other and more enterprifmg printers, he lost poffeffion of a house
in Stonegate which had been the property of his wife's late hus-
band, and which he hoped to have tenanted when he should be
obliged to leave his present premises in Coffee Yard. These he
might, no doubt, have retained until his death, but he quarrelled
with the owners, and had to remove to a house in Petergate, from
whence he iffued the following quaint Advertifement : —

" To all Ingenious Lovers of Art and Industry. — Having in the Year 1724,
"removed my Printing Prefs and Letters from London to this ancient City, on
"the occasion of efpoufing the Widow of Mr. Charles Bourne, Printer, Grandfon
"to the memorable Mr. John White; and fince then followed my lawful Profeffion,
"for the preservation of my Family, with uncommon Care and Induftry, to the
"prefent Time: I take this happy opportunity in giving Notice, that 1 am now
moved into PETER-Gate, (that which is called the Lower Part of it) but a
" little way from Stone-Gate. -I humbly hope, thro' Divine assistance, that the
"favourable munificence of my friends, confidering the Contingency
" will generously extend to the place of my new Settlement, repair diet withlland
" the Inclemency of the weather, freed from all filth y Incumbrances, and by credible
" Apartments fit to entertain the better Sort of well-bred ir Customers thai

" rightly encourage the true Typographical Artists; those only that become fuch
" by virtue of lawful Indentures, <&v. and not by interloping furreptitiousMethods,
"to the Ruin of honest Practitioners! Which Houfe in /'</< de as

" neceffary for a Printing Office, astho' it had been contrived Two Hundred \
"ago: Where Books in Greek, Latin and En Mathematical Work;

"Warrants, Hand Bills, &v. may be printed in a n manner. —

M Likewife all Sorts of curious Printing Work, that Gentlemen
" have occafion to use, can artfully be done to Sati faction; Travi Hers fum
" with Various Sorts oi Chapm >er, Pens and Ink to he Sold

" also th( 1 with Pictures, and varii rts ol

,.ls.

• I is a Poem on the 1 larp 1 nd M . and a

lingular Cut and Gamut oi the liaip, p. 376.



26 No/ ires of the Life and Works of

In order to set before the public the extremities to which he
was reduced, he composed and afterwards printed a prologue to
the tragedy of " Jane Shore" that was performed for his benefit
in 1761. The poor, infirm old man mounted the stage, to pro-
nounce this prologue, which he entitled, "The contingencies,
viciffitudes, or changes of this tranfitory life." I cannot refrain
from quoting a few lines : —

"Strange that a Printer, near worn out thro' age,
Should be impell'd, lb late, to mount the Stage,
In silver'd hairs, with Heart nigh fit to break,
Tims to amuse, who fcarce has words to fpeak!

To kno\T sueh judges that I'm sure are here

Might strike a bold I >emosthenes with fear!
To fee an audience so illuftrious shine

Like Constellations, by the Power Divine

Free of four Cities, thus my state to view.

My fervants gone, fcarce anything to do:

My deareft friends laid in the filent grave

And me o'eqxnver'd, funk well nigh to a slave! . . . .

Depriv'd of Business, tho' with little left,

And even that, for wishing well, bereft:

And here, methinks, amongst you 'ti- I spy,
As when kind Pity grae'd the tender Eye:
When pence, spontaneous, but by you made willing,
Were dropt, a tester, or a splendid Shilling.
" How does your Spoufe? To iblace her, give that—
I >.. n't stand uncover'd ! Pray, put on your hat-
There, take, and drink- to comfort you— a gill '" —
(( ) how my foul with gratitude did fill !)
" Let's see your ware — Come, he with Fate content —
Get fomething warm, fo farewell, Mr. Gent."
If in deep ficknefs, fovereign Balm could eafe ;
If, in dejection, any Comforts please :
'Tis certain, from Inch tender Words they came,
That blew the dying Sparks of Life to flame."

Between the recitation, and the printing of the Prologue, Gent
was thrown into a still deeper affliction by the loss of his wife, —
" It was, " he says, "on Wednesday, April 1, 1761, between the
hours of X and xi in the night, that my beloved dear, Mrs. Alice
Gent, meekly refigned up her precious soul (that curious and un-



THOMAS GENT, Printer, of York. 27

searchable part of Divinity) to its Maker : leaving me in a dis-
consolate Condition."

Poor Gent was forced at last, to become the recipient of charity,
and to depend often for his food upon the bounty of the few
friends that remained to him. It was a sad termination to a life
that opened so fair, and with such promifing anticipations.

An unyielding and irascible temper doubtless produced many
bitter fruits, still we cannot but admire the fimple piety, the hon-
esty of principle, and the unswerving loyalty that characterised
the man. He was generous even to a fault, and would often
protect and relieve, in distress, those who had shown themselves
his greatest enemies. In the last years of his life, as he saw the
" things that are shaken " totter and fall, there is no doubt but
that he learned to plant his feet more firmly, beyond the waves
of time, upon the Eternal rock, among the "things that cannot
be shaken."

We have no circumstantial account of his death, which took
place at his house in Petergate, on the 19th of May, 1778. He
was in the 87th year of his age. The ^ld man sleeps in the
filent shade of the Church of St. Michacl-lc-Belfrey, — "Where
the wicked cease from troubling, and where the weary are at rest."

Grammar School, Hull, GEO. OHLSON.

May, 1*69.




t m t m ®®»®s



6 '/■






■en*.



.V, /"/^. IS - .J




^S, , • yc* t 'Kindt . S',



',, rsf/./rs



K



Annates Regioduni Hullini :

OR, THE

HISTORY

Of the Royal and Beautiful TOWN of

Kingjlotl- upon- Hull;

From the Original of it, thro' the Means of its Illuftrious
Founder, King EDWARD the Firft : Who (being pleas'd with its
beautiful .Situation whilft hunting with his Nobles on the pleafant
Banks of the River ) erected the TOWN Anno Do/n. 1296 : And
from that remarkable /Era, the Viciffitudes of it are difplay'd, 'till
this prefent Year, 1735.

In which are included,

All the mod remarkable Tran- The Names of the MAYORS,

factions Ecclefiaftical, Civil, Sheriffs, and Chamberlains:

and Military. with what remarkable Acci-

The Erection of Churches, Con- ll , ents havt -" tehilen fomc of

vents, and Monasteries ; with 1 t T hem m l T he Conife of their

the Names of their Founders, Lives : Interfpersd with a

and Benefactors: Alfo a fuc- \ Compendium lof British Hiftory,

cincl Relation of the De la , efpeaally what alludes to the

POLE'S Family, from the firft , c n ' tl Wars, (for the 1 better II-

MAYORof that Name, to his luftration of fuch 1 lungs as

Succeffors, who were advanc'd ; !" oft particularly concern d the

to be Earls and Dukes of Suffolk. , , mvn '» *°J e troublefome

limes;) ami (nice then, with
The Monuments, Infcnptions, Regard to t lie Resolution.

6v. in the Churches of Holy
Trinity, and St Mary. atJornrD i»tth cEutsj.

AS LI K E W I S E
Various CURIOSITIES in ANTIQUITY, History, Travkls, &>c.
Alfo a neceffary and compleat INDEX to the Whole.
•her with feveral LETTERS, containing fome Accounts of the

Antiquities of BRIDLINGTON, SCARBOROUGH,
WHITBY, &.c. for the Entertainment of the curious Travellers,
who vilit the North-Eait Parts of Yorkshire.

Di probos mores docili juventee,

Dt fenedluti placid,/- quielem,

Oppido II U LLIN date, rentque protein-

i/ue et decus omiie. II () R. Car, Sbbc.

Faithfully collected by THOMAS C, 1 N 1 , Compiler of the I Iiflory of
Y R K, dial the mofl remarkable Places if that large County.

Sold at the Printing-Oflice, neai t J 1 * - Star in stone-Cute, VORKj
by Ward and CHANDLER, Bookfellers, in Scarborough, and at

theil Shop in Fleet -free/. 1 I in mis. Book-

feller, in HULL ; al oilier Plao 1 In tin- < ountry ; and by
J. Wilford, behind the Chapter-Houfe in St. PauPt Church'

Yard, L( > N I" » N II I" I XXXV.



To All

Ingenious LOVERS



O 1-



ANTIQUITY



AND



HISTORY:

This

work

Is Dedicated by

Their Mofl: Obfequious
And Humble Servant,

THOMAS GENT,



+ + + t + + + + + + + + , + + + + + + + + f +



[ i ]




The PREFACE.




MONGST the many Writers of English Hijiory
in general, as to tJie affairs of the Kingdom, and
of fome of them relating to the particular Places
of it; I have often wonder 'd, that the Sub/eels, I
have treated of, should not, through their greater
Capacities, have been brought from their Cim-
merian Darknefs, to have feen the Light before, but fallen to my
SharPto introduce them to their pleafing Aurora. Works, that,
for their Fidelity and Induflry, have been candidly received by the
viofl ingenuous and fenfible Pcrfons in thefe Parts ; whofe kind
Letters to me are as fo many fair Teflimonials of their entire
Approbation : To oblige whom, I have endeavour 'd, in this Third
Book, not only to give an impartial History of a moft Renowned
Sea-Port TOWN, throughout all the flrange Vicifjitudes of it ;
but alfo, by a neeeffary and pleafing Lnterfperfwn of feveral
remarkable Traufaelious, compleat in a great meafure what I had
attempted before: For their Sake have I valitd no Labour, or
Expence ; no Difcouragcmoits could anticipate my Defigns, in
regard to the force of TRUTH, under its various Appearances in
the World, whether fortunate or unhappy.

If any Motive can induce a Reader to have a tender Regard for

a labouring Author ; certainly the Work of Antiquity (relating

either to the Rife of States, or Families) demand a favourable

Attention. To know what has pafl info many shining Ages before

our glimmering Dawn of Life ; and to confider the Origin and

;\ the Virtue or Vice of illuflrious and unfortunate Pcrfons,

(ince departed to the eternal Regions of Joy or M if cry ; are

to a contemplative Mind as differently entertaining, as thd Wi

prophetically to be fenfible of what should follow many

Wars after our Bodies were laid in the Mold. Alas ! the Know-

if the latter, might, in many rcfpctis, be a great Addition to

our prefent certain Sorroius of Life : But by Retroflexion, we

learn to imitate whatever was commendable in our AuceJ/ors ;

and to shun the contrary, equal to what Futurity would teach

us, by our SucceJJbrs. With mighty Pleafure we can behold the

one ;



ii The PREFACE to the Reader.

with profit able Contempt, defpife the other: We arc made to

underjland the Cujlotns and Manners of former Ages, the better to

a greater Relish for the Improvements of our own : Our

<ring will become wife, free from the Scorn of Foreigners,

when they can difeoiirfc knowingly of their Original : And, being

■■fiint concerning their fading Earthly Habitations, have a

greater Gn/l for their more lafling and * Cadeflial.

What exceeding Transports of Delight are afforded to ns in

many Paffages of the Sacred Script arcs ! The Creation of the

'd, the Formation of fin man Bodies, the Building of Towers,

Irk, &c. fill ns zvith P leaf are and Surprize: Nay, we are

pleas' d with the Invention of the f Poet, who imitates fome of thefe

Things, in his Accounts of the frfl I' or mat ion from a Chaos,

Promethean Fires, and Deucalion's Flood. The Renown of Tr< >y,

even by its Fall, is become more glorious, than ever perhaps it was



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