Researchers survey mouth of Humber Estuary to locate the lost town of Ravensor Odd

A team of researchers from the University of Hull is conducting a study to locate the lost town of Ravenser Odd in the mouth of the Humber estuary, England.

Ravenser Odd, also called Ravensrodd, was a port town in the East Riding of Yorkshire on the sandbanks of the Spurn heritage coast.

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The town’s name probably stems from Ravenser, ‘Hrafn’s Eyr’ or ‘Hrafn’s Sandbank’, which is mentioned several times in the Icelandic sagas.

Most of what we know about Ravenser Odd comes from contemporary sources such as the Chronicle of Meaux Abbey which documents reports of inquisitions and grants, and the awarding of a Royal charter granting a market and annual fair.

Over the centuries, Ravenser Odd became a town of national importance by collecting dues from merchant ships, consisting of a bustling seaport, wharves, warehouses, custom sheds, a court and a prison.

By 1340, the fortunes of the town began to decline due to coastal erosion. A Royal inquisition held in 1346 documented that two thirds of Ravenser Odd had been lost to the sea.

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An account by a chronicler of Meaux Abbey wrote “At that time the chapel of Ravenser…. and the majority of the buildings of the whole town of Ravenser, by the inundations of the sea and the Humber increasing more than usual, were almost completely destroyed.” By 1356-57, the town was completely flooded, and by 1362 succumbed to the Grote Mandrenke storm (also known as Saint Marcellus’s flood).

Daniel Parsons, a professor in sedimentology at the University of Hull is leading a new study to locate the town using high-resolution sonar systems after hearing of disturbances on the seabed from lobster fishermen.

The study has already surveyed an area of 10 hectares off Spurn point to no avail, but Parson believes that a second survey being undertaken will pinpoint the location of the town in the coming weeks.

Parson told the Guardian: “We think we were a little bit too far to the east. “Given the stories we’ve had from the folks on the lobster vessels, I’m pretty confident we will find something.”

Header Image Credit : Keith Corrigan – Alamy

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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