|Weel by The River Hull|
Riding on the bus to Beverley, when I was a sixthformer at Beverley Grammar School, we would pass through Routh and Tickton and just before Hull Bridge a lane branched left - adjacent to the river. The signpost said Weel.
Until yesterday I had never been to Weel. A single track two mile road with passing places and to the right the manmade banking that generally prevents the River Hull from flooding low-lying farmland. It makes me imagine how such areas would have been before medieval engineers sought to control water with drains and river banks. Rivers would have simply spread out so any old settlements tend to be found on slightly higher land. Even a few feet would have made all the difference.
There's nothing beyond Weel. It's an end of the line kind of place. Until 1953, villagers crossed the river by ferry to get to Beverley on the other side but in that year work began on nearby Grovehill Bridge making tranport so much easier.
|Carr Lane street sign in Weel|
Weel is mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086. There was a little agricultural community there even then. In 1860 non-conformists built a little methodist chapel but Church of England villagers had to cross the river and walk into Beverley for their weekly services which is where funerals, christenings and marriages also happened.
Many low-lying English villages have "carr land" nearby. Carrs were challenging to farmers for flooding was frequent and to the east of Weel you will still find Weel Carr - now drained and rich agricultural land but occasionally still prone to flooding. It's all arable now - no sign of cattle.
|The old chapel in Weel|
Some extra houses were erected in the village in the 1960's and 70's but Weel remains a sleepy nondescript little place without facilities - no pub or school, no shop or bus service and the chapel became a private residence in 1963. But it still has a cream coloured phone kiosk - proving that it is within the sphere of Kingston Communications - independent from the rest of Britain's telephone system which of course has red phone kiosks.
Living there would, I think, be strange. In my travels and rambles, I see many small rural settlements and isolated houses and increasingly I think - No, that wouldn't be for me. To actually choose to live somewhere like Weel. Not my cup of tea. But at least I have now solved the mystery of the signpost I passed on the school bus all those years ago.
|Cream phonebox in Weel - unique to East Yorkshire|