1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Humber

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HUMBER, an estuary on the east coast of England formed by the rivers Trent and Ouse, the northern shore belonging to Yorkshire and the southern to Lincolnshire. The junction of these two important rivers is near the village of Faxfleet, from which point the course of the Humber runs E. for 18 m., and then S.E. for 19 m. to the North Sea. The total area draining to the Humber is 9293 sq. m. The width of the estuary is 1 m. at the head, gradually widening to 3½ m. at 8 m. above the mouth, but here, with a great shallow bay on the Yorkshire side, it increases to 8 m. in width. The seaward horn of this bay, however, is formed by a narrow protruding bank of sand and stones, thrown up by a southward current along the Yorkshire coast, and known as Spurn Head. This reduces the width of the Humber mouth to 5½ m. Except where the Humber cuts through a low chalk ridge, between north and south Ferriby, dividing it into the Wolds of Yorkshire and of Lincolnshire, the shores and adjacent lands are nearly flat. The water is muddy; and the course for shipping considerably exceeds in length the distances given above, by reason of the numerous shoals it is necessary to avoid. The course is carefully buoyed and lighted, for the Humber is an important highway of commerce, having on the Yorkshire bank the great port of Hull, and on the Lincolnshire bank that of Grimsby, while Goole lies on the Ouse a little above the junction with the Trent. Canals connect with the great manufacturing district of South Yorkshire, and the Trent opens up wide communications with the Midlands. The phenomenon of the tidal bore is sometimes seen on the Humber. The action of the river upon the flat Yorkshire shore towards the mouth alters the shore-line constantly. Many ancient villages have disappeared entirely, notably Ravenspur or Ravenser, once a port, represented in parliament under Edward I., and the scene of the landing of Bolingbroke, afterwards Henry IV., in 1399. Soon after this the town, which lay immediately inside Spurn Point, must have been destroyed.