Page 1 of 1

Herring anyone?

Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2019 5:23 pm
by Richard
The Herring festival is next weekend so here is some background information:

A short history of why Cinque Ports (Portsmen) were allowed
rights/privileges over herring in Great Yarmouth:

Great Yarmouth owes both its origins and its growth to the North Sea
herring. The town’s origins go back to the tenth century when this
coastal sand-bank was first settled by herring fishermen from Kentish
Ports. The fishing was good and Yarmouth gets a mention in the
Domesday Book (1086) as the centre of the herring industry. At this
time, over the border in Suffolk, the Manor of Beccles paid an annual
tribute of 30,000 herring to the Abbey of St Edmund which was
increased to 60,000 after the Norman Conquest. Henry 1 declared
Yarmouth a burgh in 1108 for an annual payment of ‘ten milliards
In the Middle Ages the prosperity of Great Yarmouth was still based on
herring fishing and by the 12th century a herring fair was held at
Yarmouth. (Fairs were like markets but they were held only once a
year. Merchants came from all over Europe to buy herrings at Great
Yarmouth fair). However certain ports in Kent called the Cinque Ports
were given jurisdiction over the Yarmouth fair. That might seem
surprising but ships from the Kentish ports had privileges owing to
their custom of providing ships to the Navy to fight in disputes,
often with foreign countries. Also Great Yarmouth had not yet been
given a charter and was not yet self-governing. So the Kentish towns
ran the fair, which caused much resentment among the people of Great
Yarmouth. ... -yarmouth/ ... age6.shtml

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 1:17 am
by ColinL
There is a lot of detail of Hastings fishermen causing havoc to Gt Yarmouth. If memory serves correctly it was the then equivalent of current young Brits abroad, wrecking places, getting drunk, yet having the legal right to do so. It is explained in Historic Hastings book, unfortunately I have lent my copy out and this is a reminder for me to get it back.

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:25 am
by Richard
Manwaring Baines, one time curator of Hastings museum and Parish Clerk of All Saints and St. Clements.
It's curious case that if you lend books they are rarely returned.

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 12:01 am
by Richard
Red Herrings are salted and smoked for weeks, not split or gutted.
Bloaters are Herring, lightly salted and smoked, not split or gutted.
Kippers are the mid-way in terms of amount of curing but are split ( butterfly-fashion, along the backbone) and gutted.

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:18 pm
by ColinL
"As early as the 11th C men from Hastings went there (Gt Yarmouth) in the fishing season and established rights of proprietary control (the Hastings Bailiffs became the towns law and order.). Their Bailiffs, specially selected for the purpose maintained law and order. ....this forbade assault, affray or ryott."

This was not all to the liking of the local men and there was much friction...........

1582 Octr.15th. This date one Richard Bartlymew of Yermouth, sayler who had broken the Queens Peace the daie before and drawn blood of one Mathew Baylston of Hull was brought before us ...and examyned on the matter who confessinge his faulte was fyned 3s.4d for the blodshed.....and were then made lovers and friends before us and dysmyssed

1584.Octr.17. This daie one Robert White of Yermouth baker who was committed for divers abuses unto his mayde....correcting her w'th whips & salting her w'th brine....was brought before us.............humbly kneeling down craving pardon was discharged of his imprisonment.

(However the Bailiffs actually discharged the maid - presumably to protect her and as a result she lost her job,despite being the victim!)

This is just a taster of the power of one town over another and all because of fish!

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:45 pm
by Richard
This power of one town (Hastings) over another (Great Yarmouth) was mainly because of the position of Hastings as the chief Cinque Port town, which helped defend the realm by maintaining ships ready for the Crown in case of need. In return Hastings received many rights and privileges that were encompassed in a Royal Charter.
The Crown basically rewarded Hastings for its support but of course through time the power of the portsmen of Hastings and other limbs of the Cinque Ports became weaker and eventually terminated, despite never formally being dissolved.

Colin suggests that this is just one example of the power of a prominent town (plus, in this case, associated Kentish ports) over another town, just based on fishing rights.
How many other examples of a power struggle exist, between towns, which formed part of our history and on what basis, remains to be seen.

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:26 pm
by Richard
I went to the Herring Fair today.
I thoroughly enjoyed the very informative cookery class explaining about the different methods of curing and cooking and the history of the seasonal herring.
The fact that herring does not keep well beyond a day or two without curing, smoking and/or salting.
I felt a little too squeamish to eat the Herring female roe or male milt, but I enjoyed the fish Pat and Tush were cooking i.e. whole herring for £1 a-piece.

Re: Herring anyone?

Posted: Sun Nov 24, 2019 11:53 pm
by ColinL
Glad you enjoyed it and supporting local events. Hope that the rain held off down there to encourage attendance. I did not step outside the door in the NE today but at least I did manage to do some rewarding work on my genealogy and tying loose ends. Thinking about it, I am never at a loose end or bored, there are too many stimulating things to do!