Chapter1. The Days of Violence.
2. Feuds and Factions.
3. Clee and Cleethorpes Folk.
4. Customs and Traditions.




The Days of Violence.

DEEDS of lawlessness often make their mark upon history where innocence and honesty go unrecorded; and though it is impossible to write an unbiassed account of any country or district from its criminal court reports, yet many of its more exciting events may be gathered from them. In the case of the Clee parish documentary evidence is so scanty that one is in danger of interpreting the legal records into implying that most of its inhabitants were “men of Belial,” and that the townships of Itterby and Hoole especially, were homes of violence and deceit.

In the 13th Century the extension and consequent decay of the feudal system had generated a race of respectable highwaymen. The more influential of the smaller landowners of a district would think nothing of waging a guerilla warfare upon the lords of adjacent manors or upon the burgesses of a free town. Grimsby itself and the surrounding districts were sorely pestered by a gang of opulent robbers who levied toll by hanging chains across rivers and roads, or by seizing by force the merchandise of such burgesses as were proceeding, for purposes of trade, to neighbouring markets and fairs.

There was living at Hoole at this time a man of considerable means named Simon Bond and he and Henry Leycurtes of Clee together with Roger Stow—the bailiff of the Earl of Lincoln,—William the Polite {40} of Thoresby and others were in the habit of preying as much as they could upon the luckless traders and wayfarers who ventured upon roads adjoining their land, or attempted to trade in districts in which they had or claimed to have the least semblance of authority.

Rot. Hund. Of their company in harassing the Grimsby folk was John Baa of Clee who found a convenient weapon in the fact of his being the town’s tenant. He stopped paying rent entirely, relying probably upon the physical prowess of his friends should the Mayor seek to evict him. For twelve years and more he maintained his defiant attitude and paid nothing for his farm, grieving the free-men of Grimsby most sorely as we may well suppose.

Another incident sheds light upon the wildness of the times which has direct reference to our district.

Ibid. One day Walter Unkel, of Clee, found near his house upon the shingle of the beach a porpoise, which had been washed ashore, See Sect. VI. Chap. 3. and which he promptly carried home. But the report of his find reached the ears of Henry Leycurtes, and posting off to Hoole he told his friend, Simon Bond. That night there was a raid made upon Walter Unkel’s house, headed by Roger Stow the bailiff, Henry Leycurtes, and Simon Bond, who seized the porpoise and made off with it to Thoresby, where they cut it up and sold it,* regaling themselves upon the proceeds.

*Porpoise was evidently reckoned a delicacy in those days, for when Edward I. laid the foundation stone of Vale Royal Abbey, in Cheshire, in 1277, a great feast was prepared, in which porpoise formed one of the specified dishes.

The Burgesses of Grimsby, seeing that Walter Unkel was one of their tenants, were righteously {41} indignant, mostly perhaps because they claimed for their port the fishing rights along the shore for several miles, and were inclined to regard the porpoise as their own property. They consequently lodged a complaint against the marauders, who were brought to book before the King’s justices. Now at this period all wrecks of the sea and waifs and strays on this coast were demanded by the Earl of Lincoln, and Roger Stow, his bailiff, claimed that the porpoise in question was not a fish caught, but a wreck cast up by the tide. However, the justices decided against him, and the party was fined.

But it was not alone by the lesser landowners that such deeds were done; for early in the same century considerable tracts of land in Hoole, Itterby and Thrunscoe Ibid. had been granted by King John to Randle III., Earl of Chester, on condition that three of his knights served for Grimsby when the King called upon that town for soldiers. The same property by the time of Edward I. had passed into the hands of Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, who repudiating any obligation to provide knight’s service, left Grimsby to find three men to fill their places as best it might.

Dick Turpin is not the only highwayman that England has produced by many a score. Such robbers conducted a quiet business on turnpikes less famous than the Great North Road, and neither sought nor gained the notoriety enjoyed by the leaders of their profession. One such character in the thirteenth century, when he was at home, lived at Hoole, possessing land there and in Itterby {42} and Thrunscoe. Yet so stirring and uncertain were the times, that stopping a fat Alderman now and again and easing him of his purse, or holding up the rumbling Lincoln coach or the fish-cart of some wealthy Grimsby merchant, offered greater attractions and perhaps greater profits than fishing to pay toll to the Grimsby Bailiff, or farming to pay toll to the Earl of Lincoln or some other bullying baron. So he left his farm and took to the road, trusting to his horse for his life and to his arm for a living. However, the violence of the violent at last returned upon him. He fell into the hands of the irate burgesses of Grimsby, and after a scant trial was hurried off to the gallows and hanged before there was time for rescue or escape.

Perhaps it was to recoup themselves for losses at his hands that Ibid. the Mayor and Corporation confiscated the lands and property of the dead highwayman; but when enquiry was made into it later they said they but claimed these for and on behalf of the King, and held them only until his royal mind was made up. The Corporation in those days was poor—but honest.

Wrecking is traditionally ascribed to the inhabitants of the See Sect. VI., Chap. 3. Mag Highland, and if opportunity makes the thief, tradition may well be correct. All the conditions necessary for effective wrecking are to be found in the vicinity of Hoole and Itterby. The lawlessness of the middle ages afforded abundant Opportunity; jealousy of Grimsby, or rivalry with Ravenser-odd,—the two nearest ports—would supply motive, if a natural instinct for gain were not enough. A cow with a forefoot tied loosely to its head and a {43} lantern fixed to the horns, set to perambulate the cliff on a dark and stormy night, easily tempt strange or even familiar craft too near the shore under the impression that the heaving light was at the masthead of some vessel in mid-channel.

It was to benefit such luckless mariners and all who from the ports of the Humber “go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters” that in 1427 a certain “Richard Reedbarowe, hermit of the Chapel of the Blessed Mary and St. Anne at Ravensersporne, having pity and compassion of the Cal. Rot. Pat.
Boyle’s Lost Towns of the Humber.
Christian people and of the goods and merchandise there lost” began “to build a certain tower there for the preservation of the said Christian people, and of the goods and merchandise coming into that river, to be a mark visible and noteworthy of itself by day, and by the light to be found in it by night, to all vessels coming into the same river.”

This tower was the ancestor of the two lighthouses which face the Meggies whenever now they cast their eyes across the Humber.

Piracy in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was far too common to excite special interest. The vessels of foreign countries were generally looked upon as fair game by all who dwelt near enough to the sea to hazard a venture. The creeks to the Southward of Itterby were safe sally-ports, and many a Flemish merchant suffered, and not a few Scotch and even English navigators had reason to dread the mouth of the Humber.

Tolls and dues and customs on imports and exports levied at all the harbours from the very earliest times {44} have created a vast number of smugglers. It is in keeping with the English spirit when any authority imposes restrictions upon one class to privilege another, to risk property and even life to evade them. Moreover, the adventurous career of a smuggler attracted many who could well have afforded a more peaceful life.

A favourite plan of action was to procure a licence to trade in corn, and then putting into some sequestered creek (like the entrance to the Luda river) in corn-growing districts to land or load corn in small quantities, and contraband goods of different kinds in much larger proportion.

Cal. of State Papers. Dom. series. In 1572 the Earl of Huntingdon in writing from York to Lord Burghley describes how the creeks of the Humber are thus used by smugglers, and remarks upon the absence of any revenue officer or preventive man. Five years later a somewhat amusing incident occurred, in which the smuggling crew came off second best.

Ibid. A certain skipper, named Robert Scarborough, was ostensibly bringing a catch of fish into market; as a matter of fact upon entering the Humber he had met with a “fly boat” engaged in contraband trade, and had speculated in two rolls of broadcloth, some fifty pieces of pewter, and other wares, which he intended to land quietly and dispose of at a handsome profit. But unluckily before he reached his friendly creek he was espied by a pirate, who gave chase and overtook him; and lest the pirates should board them and discover a cargo more valuable and less perish-{45}able than fish, he paid them all the money he had as ransom. But his troubles did not end with the loss of his cash, for to end the trip, he was pounced upon by the officers of the law, and heavily fined for smuggling. Verily the way of transgressors is hard.



Feuds and Factions.

BY trade fishermen, and by nature independent, the natives of Hoole, Itterby, and Thrunscoe have always had a standing feud with the people of Grimsby. For as that town developed its burgesses became possessed by royal license of rights which the neighbouring villages resented, since by them their own time-honoured privileges were curtailed.

Ye Byrde of Gryme. It was during the reign of Edward I. that Grimsby obtained a comprehensive charter under which they were enabled to demand tolls for anchorage and quayage (keyage) of all vessels lading or unlading, not only in their own harbour, but also at any of the adjacent villages which were thus declared to be within the jurisdiction of the port. This claim the villages resisted so strenuously that the Mayor was compelled to go to law once and again to derive the full benefit from his charter.

The first cause came on for trial in the Court of Westminster in the year 1326, and it must have involved both Grimsby and the highland townships in considerable trouble and expense. Travelling was slow and costly work in those days, and the roads in North Lincolnshire were certainly not noted for the excellence of their surface. Indeed many of the chief turnpikes were but rough country lanes, and coaches were better fitted with reserve traces than with any kind of spring. Happy the traveller who could escape the jolting chariot and bestride a horse.

{47} Who went to Westminster to represent the fishermen of Hoole does not transpire. The record of the case states the contention of the Grimbarians to have been that Hoole was within the limits of their port, and that by landing and selling their fish without paying the tolls demanded by the harbour officers, the men of that village had violated the Royal charter. To these charges the defendants replied, that being inhabitants of Thrunscoe in Hoole, which from time immemorial had enjoyed the right of free fishing along those sea-coasts, and of landing their catches upon the Thrunscoe beach, they had ever been wont to trade without hindrance.

Custom, however, was not to be permitted to stand against the King’s charter, and the Hoole fishermen lost the day. But the spirit which had impelled the inhabitants of an obscure village to contest the claims of a Corporation, even in the metropolis, was not to be quelled by an adverse verdict. The impost was evaded whenever opportunity occurred—cargoes being landed by night under cover of the darkness and smuggled into convenient creeks close at hand.

When Ravenser-odd, the town across the Humber, was engulfed by the sea toward the close of the fourteenth century, its extensive fishing trade in the natural course of things would have transferred itself to its whilom rival on the opposite shore. But unfortunately for Grimsby at this period its harbour was rapidly silting up, and it was becoming a matter of increasing difficulty for vessels to effect an entrance to the port. The result was that the larger craft of the Florentine and Flemish Merchants made {48} their way to Hull, while the fishing boats took to landing their cargoes at various points along the coast, and particularly at Hoole and Itterby, whence the fish was conveyed by road to market at Grimsby and elsewhere.

The real importance of the Thorpes of Clee as fishing villages seems to date from this time, and as the prosperity of Grimsby waned the chartered privileges which she had enjoyed appear to have been allowed to fall into abeyance, so that after the lapse of a century the old verdict was forgotten, and Calendar to Pleadings. in 1496 when they seemed likely to be revived the Cleeites assumed the offensive and put the Mayor, Bailiffs and Burgesses of Grimsby in court to make good their claims.

All this reluctance on the part of the villages to pay Grimsby dues drove the Corporation to other expedients to replenish the town exchequer at their expense. The old road from Grimsby to Clee and Hoole seems to have skirted the Wellow Abbey lands and extended very nearly in a bee-line to Clee Church. Probably the footpath which at one time traced a direct route, but which now is being diverted piece-meal and obliterated, represented this ancient way. After passing through Clee village this road parted right and left—the former leading to Weelsby or Humberstone and Tetney, the latter “hugging” the hill-foot, to Hoole, Itterby and Thrunscoe. This was the road traversed by the fish-carts bringing in their loads from the villages for market in the town—and the Mayor, seeing that his claims upon the water were disregarded, entered into a compact with the {49} Abbot of Wellow to erect a toll-bar where the road passed the Abbey boundary, and started to extort dues from every incoming wayfarer.

At this juncture the Hoolites (”Owlets” is the more modern form) found a champion in a prominent Grimbarian—Sir Christopher Ayscough. Sir Christopher was not altogether disinterested in his action, since he owned land in Itterby which had formed part of the estate Calendar to Pleadings. purchased by his grandfather from the De la Sees, and which was enhanced or lowered in value according as Itterby prospered or decayed. Indirectly the Mayor’s new toll-bar touched his pocket, so he challenged the legality of the proceeding, lodging information at Westminster against the Mayor and the Abbot. The Abbot pleaded his right of Intak. Poor Whitgift! The King himself made some such claim with regard to his own fair Abbey a few years later, and with greater effect.

To be revenged, the Mayor in the year following the law-suit Ibid. set the King against Sir Christopher Ayscough by charging him with the appropriation of a sturgeon which he had caught at Clee, and which, being a “Royal fish,” belonged to the King’s representative, the Mayor.

The questions of waifs and strays, wrecks of the sea, fish royal, and free fishing were stirring ones in those days, and Ibid. no less than four times within three years in the reign of “Bluff King Hal” the Westminster Court was occupied over such matters in regard to Itterby, Hoole, Thrunscoe and Clee; while the reign of Elizabeth saw the Duchy of Lancaster, {50} the Town of Grimsby, and the Admiralty all wrestling for the fishing rights of the coast from Clee to Wainfleet.

If we pass over two hundred years in silence it is not because the volcano was not active during that period, but because the eruption was not visible afar. The rivals emerge from two centuries on fresh ground and with new weapons, but as acrimonious as ever, and from this time the battle rages round the “Blue Stone.”

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century, where now are Beaconthorpe, New Cleethorpes and New Clee, there stretched a marshy common which extended inland to within a stone’s throw of Clee Church, and was called, from the number of its drains and ditches, Smallfleets Common. At a point some distance North of the Old Haven Ye Byrde of Gryme, 131. stood the famous “Blue Stone”—probably a fellow to “Havelock’s Stone,” in Wellowgate—and a relic of the time when the Mayor and Corporation of Grimsby “whipped the boundaries.” Tradition, however, could not control the rapacity of the Grimbarians, who claimed that their Marsh extended as far as the Old Haven. The Meggies pinned their faith upon the Blue Stone, and the Kirton Quarter Sessions of 1828 pronounced in their favour. The town was not going to be brow-beaten by the village, verdict or no verdict; Grimsby turned its cattle to graze between the Blue Stone and the Old Haven. Cleethorpes promptly impounded them. Grimsby sent out a hundred stalwarts armed with bludgeons to assault the pound and rescue the cattle. Cleethorpes {51} charged them with pound-breach, and nine of the enemy went to prison. Grimsby thereupon adopted the Meggy plan of campaign and impounded all Cleethorpes cattle found on the North of the Old Haven. Cleethorpes again invoked the law, and at the Lincoln Assizes of 1830 the matter was finally settled in their favour.

“Old times are changed, old manners gone.”

And now it is more smoke than flame that shows where the old fires smoulder. The feud that raged so fiercely once, now finds full relief in more or less fanciful stories of Meggy simplicity and duplicity.



Clee and Cleethorpes Folk.

IT is possible to review the names of those who have lived their lives among scenes familiar enough to us without the kindling of a single spark of sympathy. Men and women have walked the very fields and footpaths which to-day we tread with the arrogance of natives, and have been as much at home where we have now our dwelling, but have left no record of their cycle of joys and sorrows, successes and failures, to make them near akin to us. It is hard to bridge the centuries with a mere string of names; and the brief business notices which find their way into the records of a State give us very little to enshroud in an atmosphere of domestic reality.

In the reign of Edward the Confessor the families of the parish were few. The greater part of the population was comprised of serfs, of whom no one has made record—even as to their number.

Domesday. In Clee Algar* and Grimbold divided almost all the land between them. Rolf lived in Weelsby; in Thrunscoe, Grinchel; and in Itterby, Elaf.

* Perhaps Alfgar the Earl, father of Edwin, Morcar and Lucy.

Ibid. When we come to the time of William I. we have rather more evidence to work upon. The male {53} population is seen to have been about 109, distributed as follows:—


Of these four were of the rank of mesne-tenants:— In Clee, Wimund; in Weelsby, Robert; and in Itterby, Ilbert and William. Beside these there were 87 sokemen or small copyhold landowners, one bordar or cottager, and 17 villeins or serfs.

Out of the seven centuries that follow we take but three names—all more or less strange to modern ears.

Cal. Rot. Chart. William Tuchett lived in Weelsby in 1300. He secured a licence from the King to plant a small park for the breeding of hares, partridges and pheasants.

But for a single stone in the Parish Church we might not have known that men of the name of Kygger ever stood on the cliff at Hoole and peered seaward into the dusk of many a stormy evening full 500 years ago. Yet at least four generations of Kyggers were petty squires of the village.

Rot. Hund.
Testa de Nevill
Valor. Eccles.
For ten generations and more the name of Curteys or Le Curteys was familiar to the district. Henry Le Curteys, who figured in the raid upon Walter Unkel’s farm, was the 13th Century representative of a family which haled probably from Normanby; and in 1531 Bryan Curteys, who was Mayor of Grimsby, had property in Clee.

The connection of the Earls of Albemarl, the Constables, the Faulkners, the Stanleys, the Nevilles, {54} the De la Sees, and the Ayscoughs with the parish has long ceased to excite interest: though these names have been upon the lips of the village gossips many a time and oft in days of yore. Even those who took their surnames from the townships have nearly all died out: the De Clees and Itterbys are no more; the Lincolnshire Hooles are not numerous.

What the population of the parish was during the Middle Ages we have no means of computing, and it is not until the 19th Century that Clee emerges from statistical darkness with a total of 542 inhabitants. Of these 115 belonged Clee village and Weelsby, 238 lived in Itterby, 164 in Hoole while the remaining 25 were Thrunscoe folk.

A Lincolnshire family of great antiquity—the Thorolds, who sprang from the Southern parts of the County, have been represented in the district since the 17th Century. Thomas Thorold was thrice Mayor of Grimsby in the 18th Century, while about the same time Richard Thorold was Alderman. The Rev. William Thorold, who was the Mayor for the year 1787, died at Weelsby in 1814, and was buried at Clee. His son, Richard Thorold of Weelsby, who served as High Sheriff of the County in 1829, died in 1864 and was buried beside his father. His kinsman, Alexander William Thorold Grant, succeeded to the estate and name, making the latter familiar to the district in connection with those schemes of church building and extension which so signally marked the rectorate of the Rev. William Price Jones. He contributed largely to the funds of the new churches at Cleethorpes and New Clee, and at his sole cost {55} restored the ancient mother-church of the Parish. He was High Sheriff of Lincoln in 1870.

There was a time when you might have described Cleethorpes as being inhabited by Appleyards, Osbornes, Chapmans, and a few others. One of the important sons of the first-named race seems to have been a certain James Appleyard who in 1736 married Audrea Brackenborough, and became the father of five sons from the number of whom Matthew, the youngest, was also father of six. Another branch of the family produced Amos Appleyard, a man of force and character, and one well-known in his day especially among the Wesleyan Methodists. He died in 1813. “Amos” and “Tobit” have long been favourite names in this line. In the same connection mention must also be made of that fine old christian “General” Appleyard—so called from the possession of a plume-like silvery forelock: and of Joseph Appleyard, well-known to Megs and visitors alike, the whilom post-master of the village. These were necessary and characteristic figures in the life of Cleethorpes two decades ago.

It is impossible to think of the village on the cliff without an Osborne, although they obtrude but little upon the scanty local records. However, beginning with 1878, the name of William Osborne occurs for twenty consecutive years in the list of the members of the Local Board and District Council: a worthy record indeed.

Of the family of Chapman there were two distinct lines. One whose claims upon Cleethorpes are to be reckoned by centuries; the other by generations. {56} Among the worthies of the former race Thomas Chapman who in 1601 married “Easter” Dixon must be ranked. He had three sons, John, Richard and Tobias. John’s son Samuel was born in 1631.

Since the latter years of the 18th Century the district has been familiar with the name of Benjamin Chapman, a combination favoured by the second line. In Clee churchyard there is a stone to the “memory of Benjamin Chapman, who departed this life the 17th day of June, A.D. 1798, aged 50 years,” and since his day three or four generations have perpetuated his name, nunquam sine dignitate.

Among individual Meggies of the generation gone there stands out the stalwart figure of Levi Stevenson. Clad in “Fear-nought” knee breeches and “gansey,” with a particoloured cap upon his head and hanging in a point down his back, he was generally to be found at the flow of the tide upon the cliff or the beach vociferously demanding to know whether, among the assembled visitors, there was anyone yearning for a sail “in the large three-masted schooner belonging to Levi—that chap with the big nose.”

Of other names than these recorded Cleethorpes has reason to be proud: they have been linked with hers many of them for hundreds of years. Of such are the Rowstons, the Sleights, the Paddisons, the Johnsons, the Robinsons, the Taylors, and the Crofts. The host of incomers to the place of late years has almost overwhelmed the aborigines, but they may still be found here and there, and may for the most {57} part be known by their sturdy build and Davidic complexion; and if the wind be high and the waves rough some will be found congregated where the town street ends upon the cliff gazing seaward—Vigilantes; semper vigilantes.



Customs and Traditions.

YEAR by year the old folk tales and traditions are dying. The “little learning” of modern time has been strangely contemptuous of such things, and even if it had not, we move to-day at too great a pace for the once-loved “tales of a grandfather,” which need village soil and an atmosphere of sleepy leisure in which to grow and flourish. Many Meggie tales, alas! are buried in oblivion: many customs are obsolete. Only a very few remain and some of these are sick unto death.

First ranks the patronal festival—the relic of a by-gone fair-week—commonly known as Clee Feast. On Trinity Sunday, the first day of the feast, the church floor was wont to be freshly strewn with rushes for the coming winter. These were cut from the “Bescars”—a contraction of Beast carrs—and were conveyed with some pomp and considerable hilarity to their destination accompanied by singers and dancers. This was in the olden time when the rushes were needed—when the church was innocent of paving or roughly flagged, and the “heating apparatus” was a thing unknown. At the Inclosure of 1846 the Bescars, which lay a little wide of the village, were appropriated, and a small field adjoining the churchyard was charged with the provision of sufficient grass to strew the isles on Trinity Sunday to perpetuate the custom. He who loves old forms {59} and would keep the feast aright must dine upon stuffed chine and plate cheese-cakes at this season.

Each old year is ushered out at Clee with a muffled peal which at midnight changes, as the mufflers are removed, into a clamour of welcome to the year new born.

This village was famous in the days of yore for its Mead, a potent decoction made mainly from honey after the manner of the Danes who introduced it into England. Tales, witnessing at once to the quality of this beverage; to the fame of Clee therein; as well as to the confusion of appreciative but imprudent bibbers are still current.

It is not necessary to place upon record that wait-singing by the younger folk—a relic of the mummers’ plays and melodies—still heralds the approach of Christmas in this parish. Cleethorpes is especially blest in this respect.

A species of blackmail known as “Saint Thomasing” has fortunately fallen upon evil days and is only favoured by a few to whom St. Thomas’ Day is only one of the 365 on which they are prepared to beg.

The punishment of the stocks once so frequent but now happily fallen into desuetude was reckoned to be efficacious as a cure of vagrancy and drunkenness. It is noteworthy that the great Cardinal Wolsey, when vicar of Lymington, near Yeovil, was himself placed in the stocks during the village feast for being intoxicated.

The Cleethorpes village stocks stood in Cuttleby, not far from the first—now the Infants’—National School, at a corner of the village green. They were {60} subsequently removed to Folly Hole, to a point a little to the South-east of the site now occupied by the fountain which commemorates the 60th year of the reign of Queen Victoria.

Turning from customs to traditions, we have at the outset to waive aside a host of little stories invented by jocose and not over scrupulous Grimbarians, which savour more of old-time rivalry than the simple truth. These a true Meg can well afford to overlook.

Cleethorpes, a generation ago, shared with a hundred other sea-board places the dimly traditional claim to have been the landing place of the Apostle Paul when he made his shadowy visit to Britain.

Another and better defined tradition was that the Pilgrim Fathers, when they sailed for Holland, encamped upon the Sea Bank and embarked thence. The story is now almost forgotten and as the written records of these Puritans favours rather some spot between Grimsby and New Holland it is likely to disappear absolutely.

After being disappointed in an attempt to escape from Boston (Circa 1606) the Pilgrims the year following made another effort to reach Holland, and meeting with a Dutch skipper at Hull they agreed with him to convey them thither, “moreover to avoid the risks of a large sea-port they bargained with him to take them on board at a lonely common on the flat coast somewhere between Grimsby and Hull. Every precaution was taken to avoid surprise: the men were to steal their way to the appointed rendezvous by land while the women and children, with their goods, were to be conveyed thither in a {61} small bark. On reaching the spot the ship had not yet come up and as the sea was rough and the women and children were suffering greatly from sickness they prevailed with the seamen to put into a small creek for shelter where at low water the vessel lay upon the mud.”* Here they remained in fear and trembling until the appearance of the ship on the following day. The tide was out, however, and while it flowed the Dutch skipper proceeded to fetch off the men in his boat. The first detachment had only reached the vessel when a mob of horsemen and footmen, armed with guns and pikes, appeared along the shore and the panic-stricken Dutchman hoisted his sails and made for the open sea. The forsaken remnant—for the most part women and children—were hounded about from magistrate, constable and judge, until their persecutors wearied out suffered them to escape and they found opportunity of rejoining their relatives in Holland.

* “The Pilgrim Fathers,” by W. H. Bartlett.

Perhaps the most interesting of all the old-wives tales of Cleethorpes is the story of “Church Well.” Upon the bee-line between Clee and Humberston Churches and at a point nearly half-way, in the Township of Thrunscoe, there is a small swampy spot. It is situated on fairly high ground about 100 yards on the S.E. side of the road to Clee Fields Farm and Peaks. The place is planted round with a quickset hedge of about 150 yards in circumference inside which and round about are a number of ash trees, one large willow, and several fine thorn bushes. These were planted at the time of the Inclosure {62} (1841–3) to perpetuate the tradition that a church had once stood there and that it had sunk out of sight into the earth. The boys of two and three generations ago were wont to come and listen at this spot for the sound of bells underground. It is remarkable that one small swamp with a large stone in the middle should be found upon ground so high and dry. Possibly this accounts largely for the story.

A host of minor traditions of lands and churches and hamlets engulfed by the sea—of shipwreck and wrecking—linger even yet and are interesting if only to show of what materials the chief events in the history of the district have been composed. The eyes of unnumbered generations have looked toward the sea: for from its bosom Aphrodite-like have risen almost all they could hope for, alike to sustain and relieve, the common round of daily life.