Hook, Hooke usually "(place at) the hook of land, or bend in a river or hill", Old English hoc. Hook East Riding of Yorkshire. Huck 12th Century Old English huc "river-bend"
A Dictionary of English Place-Names, Oxford University Press
Two miles from Goole and as far from Howden, its long road is like a ribbon in a big loop of the River Ouse, whose banks are at times so high that we can see only the masts of the ships sailing up to Boothferry Bridge. Many old houses with red pantile roofs are among the fields and orchards, and the lowly bellcot church looks north to Hook Hall peeping from the trees. In a field by the church is a moat round hummocky mounds where a monastery is said to have stood; the water is still in the moat.
It is an old church restored last century, with black and white roofs looking down on cream walls and arches. The arcades are medieval, and the narrow 13th Century doorway to the vestry has an old studded door and hinges. There are two old carved chairs. The glass showing four choristers is in memory of two of them. A window in a corner of the chancel has a scene which may be unique in a church - Queen Victoria near the close of her long life, visiting the wounded of the South African War. She sits in her wheel chair, giving to one of the soldiers a bunch of the daffodils which one of her ladies (wearing a lovely mantle with a fur collar) holds in her arm. Conducting the royal party is an officer in the brilliant blue uniform of the Guards. It is like a vivid page from a picture book.
The King's England, edited by Arthur Mee
Hook arose when Viking raiders settled here while heading for York and from the 13th Century it had a ferry service to Howdendyke. It is now a commuter town for Goole. The new houses of Goole are gradually approaching the village and in a few decades time they will probably merge. Despite all this, it is a tranquil village where very little happens except for hundreds of rabbits bouncing along the riverbanks each morning and dozens of drunks wandering back along Hook Road on a Saturday night.
The best way to approach the village is from Boothferry Bridge along Wezzie Banks. Here you will see the M62 Ouse Bridge towering over the flat fields and encounter the chicane in the road which has caught out many a motorist. As you approach the village, you pass St. Mary's church. From the back of the graveyard, you can see a moat which all that remains of the medieval manor house of John de Houke, whose forebears had come over with William the Conqueror. This is supposedly the oldest part of Goole.
You reach a crossroads when you get to Hook itself, by the Memorial Hall. Go straight on to see the riverbank or go right to head to Goole. If you stray left, then you end up on a no-through road with a small pub, Hook Hall, and the old Cleveland storage tanks. The riverbank runs along the back of all the houses and is a nice place to catch passing ships sailing to Howdendyke and to view people's back gardens. Each year, the River Bank Challenge contestants run their ten miles along this route. You can also get a good view of the island in the middle of the river, although this is best viewed from the M62 Ouse Bridge.
The most impressive building in Hook is Hook Hall, built in 1743 by Admiral Frank Sotheron who was said to have sailed with Nelson.
The most popular pub in Hook, the Blacksmiths Arms, is famous for its good food, weekly pub quiz and a children's playground at the back which is great fun when drunk. This pub (as the name suggests) was previously a smithy for the farm horses. The other village pub is the Sotheron Arms, formerly a stabling inn for riders taking the ferry over the Ouse to Howdendyke. Heading back to Goole along Hook Road, you pass under the Goole to Hull railway where it crosses the river with a huge triple-span bridge. The river can be quite wild here and the bridge has been struck several times by passing ships.
Hook and Selby Abbey
Hook's name means just that - A Hook. It is the same sort of Hook as in the Hook of Holland and the name comes from the sharp corner which the Ouse takes here leaving a hook of land on which stands Hook.
Not entirely inappropriately its first resident seems to have been a Hermit: of him (or them - there may have been a succession) we know nothing, but the Hermitage became an accepted landmark: a deed speaks of "and on the moore of Huck near the Hermitage as far as the River Use".
By 1214 Hook House (or thereabouts) was lived in by "Baron John de Howke". He was grand enough to get a licence from the Abbot of Selby to build a Chapel for his Manor House, "saving the rights of the Mother Church at Snaith, the Chaplain thereof to swear fidelity to the Abbot of Selby". The site can be seen in the field across the road from the Church.
Hook seems to have been firmly in the "sphere of influence" of Selby Abbey. It is true that there was, in 1344, a great row between St. Mary's, York and Drax Abbey over the ownership of a Hook cow. But apart from that almost all we know about Hook comes from the records and accounts of Selby. They had a tithe barn there and also regularly collected tithes from a mill and a fishery. But in 1379 the Poll Tax showed it to be the smallest of the Townships in the neighbourhood.
The Church at Hook
Hook's importance seems to have been largely ecclesiastical. St. Mary's Church was consecrated in 1225 and like Whitgift came to be, in effect, the Parish Church of the neighbourhood. In 1499 the "Chapel Yard" at Hook was consecrated to be a burial ground for the use of "Hooke, Armin and Goole". Churches in the "age of faith" were expected to make a profit. "The Proctorship of Hooke" had to make its contribution to Selby Abbey funds. Thus in 1401 "William de Croft, Chaplain at Hook was given the right to collect from Airmyn, Hook, Marham and Loune, all offerings and dues, except mortuaries, lesser tithes and tithe hay from the first three places for ten years. In return he was to serve the chapel, provide bread and wine for Masses, candles and incense for the church and pay £10 through the Kitchener to the Abbey yearly. As the Monk's Proctor there he also had a residence in Hook and the right to obtain fuel from the monastic turbary".
An arrangement something like this persisted to - and indeed beyond - the Reformation. For the King's Inspectors were keen to make it clear that Hook was not a Chantry Chapel: "Memorandum: There is a chapell in the said paroche of Snaithe called Hoke Chapell, wherein is one Chaplane, having cure, and doth mynystre sacraments and sacramentalles to the towneships of Armyn, Hoke and Gowle. And the incumbente ther hath none other levinge but the tithes of the said townes, by a lease and offerings by the late Abbot of Selby and the overplus of the same is now paid to the King's Majestre".
This "memorandum" was effective and it was decreed that "Roger Leavins, incumbent, should serve the chapel of Hook as had heretofore been accustomed".
In the time of the Commonwealth and Oliver Cromwell a major attempt was made to tidy up many of the anomalies that had grown up in the parishes of England and these Parliamentary Commissioners recommended that Hook "be a parish with Armin and Goole annexed thereto". The return of the King in 1660 ensured the survival of the ancient ways, and it is not clear exactly when Hook did become in law a parish entirely independent of Snaith. But the change had come about before the new town of Goole was founded in 1826. In 1848 the new parish of Goole came into existence and this was almost entirely taken out of Hook parish with the approval of the then Vicar and Patron.
Hook Church feels as though it has changed very little since 1225! But it was restored and partially rebuilt at a cost of £900 in 1844. Today its most surprising feature is the window in which we see Queen Victoria, in a wheelchair, visiting the soldiers in the Boer War! Not to be missed.
Hook through the Centuries
Hook doesn"t seem to have a great deal of history! In 1743 Admiral Frank Sotheron built Hook Hall and the Sotherons (who in the 19th Century became Sotheron-Estcourts) remained the "big family" of the neighbourhood until this century. They built the school in 1844 and were Patrons of the living. But I doubt if, after the Admiral, they lived much in Hook. The Hall was sold in the 1920s (and its fine pine panelling removed and sold) and the Patronage given to the Bishop. The "Sotheron Arms" records the ancient link.
That Hook was in a corner, ferryless until modern times and not on the road to anywhere, must have made it feel very isolated before the coming Goole. But though Hook Churchyard is full of Goole gravestones (and the communal burial pits of the 1832 Cholera epidemic) yet it remains very much not Goole!
The Wesleyans built a chapel in 1816 and its 1874 successor remains in use. A 1901 health report reminds us that the ancient ways lingered into this century. There are "141 Houses" and "Each house has its garden and the privies are placed well away from the dwellings". But there doesn"t seem to have been a proper supply of running water.
Today Hook feels something of a threatened oasis. The traffic of the M62 speeds across the great Ouse Bridge; across the river Howdendyke grows secretly into a big port and Goole keeps getting nearer. Yet Hook survives and a modern Hermit could still find a quiet solitary niche for his Hermitage
Hook with Airmyn is now a united benefice of which the patronage is held jointly by the Bishop of Sheffield and the Church Society Trust. In ancient times the Abbot of Selby would appoint the Chaplain or Curate at Hook. In the 18th Century Hook became more clearly a separate parish and the right to appoint having come to Admiral Sotheron, the patronage remained with the Sotheron-Estcourt family until it was transferred to the Bishop of Sheffield in 1926.
Rivers, Rectors and Abbots, David Lunn - Bishop of Sheffield, 1990