Henry's Hull

A Royal Residence and a Strategic Port

In 1508 Hull was counted as one of the wealthiest and most important towns in England, so when Queen Mary announced her engagement (to a man who would later become Emperor Charles V of Italy) King Henry VII gave Hull a share of 250,000 gold crowns. The same year the King confiscated all the lands of local nobleman Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk and made his manor house on Lowgate his official royal residence in Hull. Because Edmund had died, he gave his widow the profits from the nine acres around the manor house. Suffolk Palace can still be seen, the building has been changed into a pub (The Three John Scotts) and the old Post Office which became flats.


The original buildings made of brick and stone included a tower and chapel. The buildings were surrounded by beautiful gardens with fishponds and buildings to house doves. One of the gardens had a nine foot high brick wall. The residence had kitchen gardens, a bakery, a washhouse and a brewery.

During Tudor times the main forms of transport were horse and cart or boat. Hull became an important strategic port because of its location on the coast and in the north of England. Travel to France, the Netherlands and Scotland was quicker and easier from here for the military and for traders.


In 1539 Hull was chosen to be one of the towns to be fortified. At first the citizens of Hull were a bit concerned about having a fortress and the Kingís soldiers in their town; they thought it might affect their freedom to go about their business. Henry reassured them this wasnít the case. Henry VIII inherited Suffolk palace from his father and in 1540 stayed there during a royal visit. He saw that Hull needed much stronger defences so he decided to build the citadel. It was an unusual building because it was triangular so had three blockhouses manned and with guns, one at each corner.


During his wars with the Scottish and Dutch, Hull was a useful base. It was a coastal town, so the naval ships could easily get on their way and it was a northern town so the trip to Scotland wasnít as long. In 1642 Henry wrote a letter to the town of Hull to thank them for their financial contributions to his war effort.

Map showing site of the Earl of Suffolk's manor house on Lowgate, Hull»

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