25 January 2015

Weel

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

14 comments:

  1. Well, it looks like Dr. Who has been to Weel!

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    1. Weely? Or Should I say WeeLee?

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  2. My carr has four weels.

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    1. ...And a bumper sticker that says "Proud to be a Democrat"?

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  3. Your post today reminded me of a piece of English literature. I cannot for the life of me remember the book's title this morning, but it was about a family that lived near a river, maybe in the 1800s, and a terrible flood they lived through. Living near a river as I do, it sent chills through me. I'm amazed that the low levees in your photos are all it takes to manage flooding. Our levees here are quite high because if it rains on a heavy snow pack in the Sierras, we get huge floods. I'm going to be wondering about that book title all day.

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    1. Do you mean "The Mill on the Floss" by George Eliot? By the way the River Hull meets a much bigger river - The Humber and there there's a huge flood barrier to prevent high tides from reaching up The River Hull.

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    2. Jan, the book YP mentioned is on Project Guttenberg if you want to check. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/6688/6688-h/6688-h.htm

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  4. LOVE the sign, lost in the bramble bushes. Wonder if the little chapel shudders under the new technology (satellite dishes) mounted on either end? Phone booths here were never so charming. Most, if not all, have been abandoned in this era of cell phones. The brick building is lovely....you didn't drive on the grass, did you???

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    1. Hilly! How could you even think that I would park on the grass? And yes, phone boxes are rapidly disappearing from the British landscape too. I am the only person I know who doesn't possess a mobile phone (cell phone).

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  5. It looks an expensive place to live but apart from the area being very flat it looks beautiful in the sunshine.

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    1. The little chapel (two bedrooms) and well-modernised is up for sale at around £100,000. That is all but I am sure it wouldn't be everyone's idea of a place to live.

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    2. Cheap. I was expecting four times that.

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  6. What I find amazing about your pictures is that there are more w(h)eely bins to be seen than cars. And the chapel is for sale! To live somewhere so remotely, though, is only feasible for those who don't mind taking the car for each and every piece and bit they need. If I can not reach a bakery and a train station on foot under half an hour, then that place is not for me.
    It looks very picturesque and quiet. The sign coverd in bramble is a great picture, and I've never seen a cream coloured phone booth before.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe they should rename the village Weel-i-Bin. You could buy an old Trabant and RJ could teach you to drive. Then the little chapel could be your holiday home.

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