Chapter1. The Story of Clee Township.
2. Hoole, Itterby and Thrunscoe.
3. The Strange Eventful History of Weelsby Manor.
4. Holm.




The History of Clee Township.

AS we have already seen, Clee, during the Norman Period was comprised of two Manors. Of these one had been held prior to the Conquest I by a certain Algar and it is thus described in Domesday:—

Domesday. M. In Cleia ht Algar dim car tre ad gld. Tra ad I car. Nc Ilbt ht de epo > wasta e. Ibi sun xl ac pte tre ual x sol m xx sol. In Itrebi e inland > soca huj m i car tre ad gld. Tra ad i car > dim. Ibi ht Ilbt v soch > ii uill hntes i car > dim.

Which being expressed in modern English reads:—

Manor. In Clee Algar had half a carucate of land rateable to gelt. There is land for one team. Ilbert now holds it of the Bishop and it is waste. There are 40 acres of meadow. The (annual) value in King Edward’s time was 10 shillings it is now 20 shillings. In Itterby inland and soke of this manor there is one carucate of land rateable to gelt. There is land for one team and a half. Ilbert has there 5 sokemen and 2 villeins who have 1 carucate and a half.

Terse and formal though the description is it reveals a good deal to the careful reader. First we have the term wasta ē—“it is waste ”—which was applied in Domesday to those districts devastated by fire during the Conqueror’s terrible journey of {20} vengeance in the North. When other parts escaped, lands near the water were put to the flames to deprive of shelter any invading host from over seas: so, as this is the only mention of such “waste” in the immediate vicinity, Ilbert’s Manor may be located as lying toward the Humber. Confirmation is to be found also in the value of the lands. While nearly all the neighbouring Manors had depreciated, and despite the ravages made by the flames, the value of this one was double what it had been in the reign of Edward the Confessor—a state of affairs easily understood if the sea was receding; as we have had reason to suspect was the case at this time.

In or adjoining this Manor was the Church—or rather the Church Tower, the only portion remaining, the wooden nave having been demolished in the general conflagration.

With regard to the second Manor owned by Grimbold in pre-Norman times; it became part of the possessions of Ivo Tallibois on his marriage with Lucy the sister of the Earls Edwin and Morcar.

The Domesday account of it is as follows:—

Domesday. “Manor.—In Clee Grimbold had 2 bovates and 2 parts of a bovate of land rateable to gelt. There is land for half a team. Here Wimund, Ivos’ man, has half a team and 16 acres of meadow. The value in King Edward’s time was 20 shillings; it is now 10 shillings.” Of this the original Manor house is now represented by Clee Hall. It was a moated grange and was rebuilt about the reign of Elizabeth in its present form and the course of the old moat is still discernible.

{21} In the year 1088 the Bishop of Bayeux entered into a conspiracy with other Norman Nobles to exclude William Rufus from the English throne in favour of his brother Robert. Losing the day he fled to the continent and Rot.Hund. 12 M. 1. his estates being confiscated the first Manor of Clee became the property of the king who seems to have converted it into a royal fee farm and let it to the Town of Grimsby, in the possession of which the manorial rights have remained ever since.

Like this one the sister Manor early reverted to the crown and Rot. Hund. 12 M. 1. was in part made over along with the Church and lands in Grimsby and elsewhere to the Augustinian Abbey of Wellow by Henry I, on condition that Rotuli Chart. 20 Johan. they maintained a Hospital or Almshouse for the entertainment of poor strangers upon the Sandhoe by the highway near Grimsby; and also provided two chaplains to say daily masses for the souls of the royal family and the faithful departed: Cal. Rot. Pat. 9 Edward III. responsibilities which they quietly ignored before the century had run its course.

In the possession of the monks of Wellow however, this Manor remained, Cal. Inquis. Post Mort. 46 Edward III. being included in a list of their lands in 1374; and at the dissolution it was granted along with other estates of the Abbey to Sir Thomas Heneage, in exchange for the lordships and manor of Barton-on-Humber.

Domesday. The Archbishop of York possessed land in Clee at the beginning of the 12th Century as part of the Lincoln. Survey, Henry I. Manor of Stallingborough, and at the close of the following century there was a certain William de Hardredshull who held as many as 300 acres in Clee and Itterby of the Earl of Lincoln.
Testa de Nevill.  

{22} Throughout its modest history Clee has ranked as a purely agricultural village and the inhabitants have but rarely marked their names upon even local records. Now and then a piece of land is transferred, or a wronged farmer utters his protest, but of the rank and file of the village folk it may well be written—

“Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
  Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
  They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.”

The family of Unkel whose farm adjoined the shore appears twice in the State Records: once in connection with the finding and theft of a porpoise—account of which will be found in a later chapter—and again in the 13th Century when Catalogue of Ancient Deeds. “Alan son of Durand de Cle with the consent of Alice his wife” granted to John son of Walter Unkel de Cle a “dayla” of meadow in “le Wra” between the meadows of the Abbot of Grimsby and Hugh Fitel, abutting upon “Haycroft.”

Cal. Rot. Pat. Another member of the family De Cle yclept William who was resident in Grimsby in 1327 had his house broken into and various deeds stolen.

Thomas Mayne of Clee and Ellen his wife in the years 1365–7 Cataloge of Ancient Deeds. acquired by purchase considerable property in lands and houses in Clee from William Hagh, of Healing. This same Thomas, whose father’s name was Humphrey, was executor under the will of a certain Cal. Rot. Pat. Walter Howeton, of Howeton (Holton-le-Clay) and rendering himself liable for neglect of his duties had to obtain the King’s {23} pardon—in other words, pay a fine. The Mayne family was resident in the district for many generations and Valor. Eccles. Henry VIII. 200 years later we find a Thomas Mayne serving the Abbey of Wellow as seneshal of their Weelsby Manor.

Religious houses drawing revenues from lands in Clee beside the Wellow Abbey were the Nunnery of St. Leonard at Grimsby and Ibid. the Benedictine Abbey of St. Mary and St. Peter at Humberston.




THE name of Hole or Hoole—as it began to be pronounced—does not occur in the Domesday Survey so that it is evident that this township was included in one or more of the Manors of the immediate vicinity. This proves to have been the case with regard to 20 acres of land belonging the Manor of Stallingborough which in the Domesday Book are described as being in Thrunscoe, but which the Lincoln Survey in the reign of Henry I. locates in Hoole. Around these acres there gathers a little story in which figures familiar in English History appear.

Prior to the year 1070 the Northern section of Lincolnshire formed a part of the See of York and when, upon the death of Aldred the last Saxon Archbishop of York in 1069, William appointed Thomas of Bayeux his successor and invested him with various estates in his new diocese, among them was included the Manor of Stallingborough with lands in Healing, Clee, and Thrunscoe.

At this time South Lincolnshire was part of the great See of Dorchester, which, along with that of Worcester was attached to the Northern Province. But Thomas had hardly donned his mitre before changes occurred which aroused all the pugnacity of {25} his by no means meek nature. Remigius, Bishop of Dorchester, transferred his episcopal seat to Lincoln and laid claim to Lindsey, while LanfraneLanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury demanded that the Lincoln diocese should become part of the Southern Province. With exceedingly bad grace Archbishop Thomas was made to relinquish Lindsey from his See, and Lincoln from his Province, and content himself with the Humber as the Southern bound of his domain and jurisdiction. Lincoln. Survey. This change caused some slight alteration in those possessions which he himself held in Lincolnshire, and among other things his land in Thrunscoe (or Hoole) was transferred to the Bishop of Lincoln. The Bishop of Lincoln of later years granted it, along with other lands already in his possession in Ravendale and elsewhere, Testa de Nevill. to Simon de Kyme, who in his turn sublet them to William Walterson (Wills filius Walti), who was the tenant of them towards the beginning of the 14th Century.

Domesday. When the Domesday Survey was compiled there was a little farm of 15 acres belonging to a certain Eudo de Spirewic in Itterby in charge of a labourer who was furnished with an ox and a plough. This Eudo was the founder of the present Tattershall family.

The Manor of Itterby is thus described in Domesday:—

“In Itterby (Itrebi) Elaf had 2 bovates and a half rateable to gelt. The land is 5 bovates. Here William, Waldin’s man, has two oxen in a plough and 14 acres of meadow. The value in King Edward’s time was 20 shillings it is now 16.”

{26} From this time the identity of the Manor is lost until the 17th Century when it emerges in an unexpected manner. Peter Blundell, who was born at Tiverton in 1520 and who followed the kersey trade and rose to great opulence, died in 1601, bequeathing £40,000 to various charitable objects of which the most important was the founding of Blundell’s School in Tiverton. The sum of £2,000 was to be set aside for founding six scholarships in Oxford or Cambridge and of these four were eventually assigned to Sidney Sussex College in the latter University. Hist. of Sidney Sussex College by G. M. Edwards, M.A. Thus it came to pass that in 1616 the College agreed with the feoffees of the Tiverton School “for £1,400 for purchasing the Manor of Itterby (lying in or near the Parish of Clee in the County of Lincoln) to maintain for the future Mr. Peter Blundell’s two fellows and two scholars.” The soundness of the investment may be judged from the following items in the College Half-Yearly Account for Michaelmas 1648:---

RentsClee,£41 7s. 11d.
Expenditure4 Blundell Scholars,£15 8s.  0d.

We will not venture to even imagine the present position of the College Exchequer on account of this Manor: but return to earlier times again.

Thrunscoe had its own Manor in Domesday times, which is thus described:—

Domesday. “Manor. In Thrunscoe (Ternescrou) Grinchel had 5 bovates of land rateable to gelt. There is land for 10 oxen. Here Wimund has one team and five villeins with one ox and 12 acres of meadow. The value in King Edward’s time was 20 shillings it is now 10 shillings.”

{27} A large proportion of the land in Hoole, Itterby, and Thrunscoe during the middle ages appears to have been held by outsiders. Lincoln. Survey. The Earls of Albemarl lived in Holderness, but claimed a fairly large tract in Hoole as part of their Weelsby Estate. Eighty acres in Thrunscoe belonged to the Earls of Lincoln. Radulphus de Bradlegh, who died in 1259 seized of lands in Hoole and Humberston, haled from Bradley, Cal. Inquis. Post Mortem. while Radulphus Faukoner, who reckoned in his domain property in Hoole, Itterby, and Thrunscoe, and who died in 1272; and his son Radulphus who deceased some four years later, both resided in Keelby.

In the year that Richard II. ascended the throne (1377) England was threatened with an invasion by the French and strict commands were issued to all parts of the coast for careful watch to be maintained, for beacons to be set up in the usual places and to be kept in constant readiness to give warning of the approach of the enemy’s fleet. Cal. Rot. Pat. Two Lincolnshire gentlemen, John de Welle and Ralph de Cromwell, were among those appointed in Lindsey to array and equip men-at-arms and archers and superintend the erection of beacons. One of their most important stations was that in Clee close upon the boundary of Itterby where they had their beacon. The “Mag Highland” upon which Hoole and Itterby were located was marked by three slight eminences. The one nearest the sea was topped by Itterby itself, the middle one, Crow hill, lying to the West, and beyond it a shoulder of the same hill, was what is still known as Beacon Hill. Standing here the beacon fire with-{28}out being too patent seawards would be easily visible from the Wolds where the next station was situated and if the French navy attempted a landing in the Humber the ready messengers would blaze forth the news

“In twinkling points of fire”

throughout the length and breadth of the land.

The 15th Century aspect of the district seems to have been rather more peaceful: Chron. Mon. de Melsa. though the landing of the Duke of Lancaster—afterwards Henry IV.—at Ravenser Spurn in 1399 augured a tumultuous time, and doubtless the Wars of the Roses were not without their effects even in this corner of Lincolnshire.

Henry IV., perhaps retaining a grateful recollection of his landing-place and a pleasant memory of the distant town of Grimsby with its two church towers seen across the waters of the Humber, Dugdale’s Monast. endowed the new-formed Nunnery of St. Leonard there with numerous lands and buildings in the neighbourhood and notably at Clee, Weelsby, and Hoole (Thorpe).

Ibid. Another Monastery reckoning upon its new roll lands in the three hill townships was that of Humberstone; and in a list of the possessions of this Abbey Valor Eccles. Henry VIII. in the time of Henry VIII. the mention of land in “Thornestowe in Clee” marks the ecclesiastical position of Thrunscoe.

Cal. Inquis. Post Mortem. Elizabeth the widow of John Stanley and daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Beleysby Knight, who died about the year 1474, possessed divers lands and tenements in Hoole and property in twenty other townships in the County.

{29} When it became difficult to distinguish between men of the same Christian name and those descriptive additions which we now know as surnames began to come into existence, Testa de Nevill. Hoole lent its name to one or more families. The earliest instance of its use occurs in the reigns of Henry III. and Edward I., when Richard de Hole is described as farming land in the parish as tenant of the Bishop of Lincoln. But once used the name persisted, for Par. Reg. on Christmas Eve in the year 1575 Henry Howle was baptised in the parish Church at Clee; while another Henry Hool was Ibid. vicar of the parish towards the end of the following century.

In like manner Itterby gave its name to a family which rose into considerable importance in the 14th Century. Oliver’s Mon. Ant. Great Grimsby. Ralph de Itterby or Utterby (it is spelled both ways) was member of Parliament for Grimsby in 1357, 1364, and 1376; on the last occasion in association with William de Thorpe—who possibly belonged Hoole. Dugdale’s Monast. Among the Abbots of Wellow at this period we find in succession Richard de Utterby (who died in the 43rd year of Edward III.) William de Utterby, John de Utterby (both of whom were deposed within 5 years) and John de Thorpe.

Hoole and Itterby lost their names later and were grouped together as Cleethorpes.




OF the Saxon Rolf who owned the Manor of Weelsby when Edward the Confessor reigned tradition does not speak. Domesday. The death of Harold meant the loss of whatever dignity and estate had been his and he disappears from sight.

Prominent among the soldiers of the Norman Duke William who won for him the Battle of Senlac and the English crown in 1066 was a certain “noble” Fleming named Drogo de Beurere. He was a man of an overbearing and grasping nature and like so many of the Feudal over-lords of this age, haughty and cruel. To his share, among other things, fell the manor of Weelsby, and over it he set a dependent freeman named Robert who had under him fifteen sokemen and two villeins to work it.

Drogo lived at Skipsea in Yorkshire where as lord of Holderness he had built himself a castle. But his home-life was far from being peaceful. He had married a niece of the Conqueror, a dame who naturally resented his overweening manner and who was capable of giving him a Roland for every Oliver. Matters grew worse and worse until one night Drogo gave his spouse a dose of deadly poison and disappeared. If it be an advantage to marry into the {31} Royal family it becomes dangerous should the match prove unfortunate: the absent lord of Holderness was sought for high and low, and if he had not crossed the sea and passed beyond the reach of King William’s iron hand, it would have fared ill with him.

The Fleming having forfeited all his privileges and estates, the King next bestowed the Lordship of Holderness and the Manor of Weelsby upon Odo de Champagne the Earl of Albemarl, his brother-in-law, and for many years the names of the Earls of Albemarl are closely connected with the history of Ravenser-odd and Clee.

Odo the first Earl was a warrior of no mean standing who married Adeliza the sister of the Conqueror. He died in 1096 and Lincoln. Survey, Henry I. the Earldom descended to his son Stephen who was connected with our district as tenant-in-chief of 400 acres and more in Weelsby, Grimsby and Hoole, in the reign of Henry I. The Manor of Weelsby next fell to William le Gros—or Fat William—the third Earl, who, it is said, one day in a burst of pious enthusiasm rashly vowed to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, not counting upon his excessive bulk and the difficulties besetting the long journeys of even very agile men in those days. However he managed to effect a compromise with his father confessor and founded the abbey of Meaux or Melsa instead. Historia de Thorneton. This Earl was lord of the manor of Thornton in Lincolnshire where in 1139 he founded a priory of Black Canons which nine years later was raised to the rank of an Abbey. Meaux Abbey is three miles as the crow flies due Fast from Beverley: it afterwards {32} appears as owning the very Manor with which we are here concerned. Fat William leaving no son the Earldom went with his daughter and heiress Hawisia to her husband William de Fortibus, who, dying in 1195, was succeeded by his son William de Fortibus the fifth Earl, a man of great force and influence, and one of the twenty-five Barons appointed to hold King John to the terms of the Great Charter of 1215. Chron. Mon. de Melsa. His son the sixth and last Earl of Albemarl was that William de Fortibus who, dying at Amiens in 1260, was buried in two places. The Abbey of Meaux entombed his heart while the rest of his body found repose in the Abbey of Thornton. His daughter married Edmund Duke of Lancaster, the son of Edward I., and through her the Earldom passed into the Royal family.

Thus after an interval of nearly 200 years the Manor of Weelsby became again part of the property of the Crown. About this time the King formed the idea of establishing a royal port on the Southern shore of Yorkshire and he fixed upon a site near to where the little river Hull empties itself into the Humber. Here were the township of Wyk and the Manor of Myton, both in the possession of the Monks of Meaux with whom the King opened negotiations, Chron. Mon. de Melsa. and in exchange for these two places granted them various estates and churches, among which was the Manor of Weelsby with its dependencies. Upon the site which he thus acquired was built the King’s town (or Kingston) upon Hull.

Ibid. No sooner had the Abbot of Meaux obtained possession of the Weelsby Manor than he leased it to {33} the Abbey of Wellow along with lands belonging to it in Thorpe (Hoole), Little Cotes, Bradley, Grimsby, Waltham, Brigsley, and Clee. Cal. Rot. Pat. et Cal. Inquis. Post Mortem. This was in 1294. Their new acquisition was not destined however to afford the Monks of Wellow much satisfaction: hardly had they entered upon the enjoyment of it than Katerina the widow of Sir Simon Constable (who had died in 1293) laid claim to those of the lands which were located in Clee, Brigsley, Waltham and Grimsby. But the monks were able to make good their title and the lady was nonsuited: whereupon she promptly applied to the King in parliament at Lincoln for a writ of enquiry. Meanwhile the Mayor of Grimsby was distraining upon the property in dispute for the cost of the trial in the town court. The case came before Lord Chief Justice Scrope in the Court of King’s Bench in the year 1326, and Placit in Domo. Capit. Westm. the Abbots of Meaux and Wellow were able to prove that the lands to which Dame Constable laid claim had formed part of the Manor of Weelsby and as such had been held by the King prior to his Grant to the Abbey of Meaux. The widow being again non-suited the Wellow monks were left in peaceful possession for 27 years. During this period the old generations of claimants died off—but in the reign of Edward III. a grandson of Sir Simon and Katerina Constable one John de Faulkenberg, of Blyton, as heir of the former claimant, re-instituted proceedings against the Monastery at the Court at Barrow, and upon failing the first time, after four years renewed his suit, but as unsuccessfully as before.

The unlucky Manor was not yet out of court, however. In 1342 the king’s bailiff made an attempt {34} to seize the rent of the Manor on the ground that the royal license for a forty years’ lease had expired; but against him the two abbots were able to prove that it had still another four years to run, and when it did terminate Abbrev. Rot. Orig. they managed to continue the arrangement upon the old terms by paying 40s. for a patent from the King. Excepting a royal subsidy levied upon the Manor by Richard II.—concerning the payment of which they had a wordy war with the Abbot of Meaux—the Grimsby monks seem from this time to have enjoyed a fairly peaceful possession, and Valor Eccles. Henry VIII. at the time of the dissolution were deriving a handsome revenue from the estate.

The curious custom of Intak was a privilege of this Manor. Where it existed Ye Byrde of Gryme. the lord within certain limits was allowed to extend his borders annually over a certain extent of any adjacent wastes or commons and incorporate it in the Manor. Some of the ground thus appropriated by the Abbot of Wellow bears the name of “the Intaks” to this day.

At the dissolution Henry VIII. granted the Manor of Weelsby along with other Abbey lands to Sir Thomas Heneage in whose family it has for the most part remained since.

The Manor house—the representative of the original—was lately demolished to make room for the more pretentious mansion known as Weelsby Hall.




THIS place is considered by some to have been a hamlet on the sea-ward side of Hoole and to have been swept away by incursions of the sea. References to it are exceedingly scanty, but such as exist tend to identify it with Holme Hill near Grimsby.

The name does not occur in Domesday nor does it appear in those lists of places on the coast-line where Cal. Rot. Pat. embanking and draining were so persistently carried on during the 14th Century (see Section 1, Chapter 1). Although the argumentum e silentio is hazardous as a rule in this case the number of lists published and their detailed character render a chance omission very unlikely and point us to no site for Holm on the coast; unless indeed it be maintained that it had been engulfed prior to 1307; which is improbable.

The name “Holm” was applied by the Saxons to a verdant place surrounded by water or marsh-land and the necessary condition would be better fulfilled by a hillock like that near the old Haven than by any site on the range of cliffs on which the old thorpes of Clee were perched.

Cal. Inquis. as quod damnum. In the Hundred Rolls (13th Century) the Manor of Holme is mentioned as being near Weelsby. In 1313 license was granted to the Friars Minor of Grimsby “to make a subterranean conduit from Holm to their house in Grymmesby Cal. Rot. Pat. through the soil of the {36} king’s land in Grymmesby and that of John Yoruburgh and Ralf de Shirbek of Holm.” The deed, witnessed by the Bishop of Bath and Wells, was dated from Windsor, and in 1340 another deed was executed whereby “Hugh the Clerk son of Henry de Wyllynghoure dwelling in Grimesby” Catalogue Ancient Deeds. released to Walter Godebayne of the same all his right in land in Clee adjoining land of the Abbot of Wellow, “part lying in Houmarhyll.”

Rot. Hund. Mention of the Manor of Holm first occurs in the 13th Century when one part was in the possession of Simon Wachet and the other of Agnes de Skyrbeck (Shirbek). Cal. Rot. Pat. Forty years later the estate was owned by John Yoreburgh and Randulphus de Skyrbeck respectively. But the Abbot of Wellow who already owned much of the adjoining land had set his heart on these estates also, and it is not surprising to find that Cal. Inquis. ad quod damnum. by 1314 he had gained possession of John Yoreburgh’s moiety, and that the patrimony of the Skyrbecks followed it two years later. The former was comprised of a mansion and 60 acres of land lying in Clee and Holm, and the latter of a mansion, 35 acres of land and 3½ acres of wood in Clee, Holm, Weelsby, and Bradley.

Cal. Inquis. Post Mortem. Sixty years later the list of the Abbey estates included the Manor of Holm as well as those of Clee and Weelsby, and at the dissolution it was still in the monk’s possession.
Valor Eccles. Henry VIII.