Sir William Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir William Alexander Gordon Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet was a Scottish landowner, soldier and socialite. A notorious womaniser, he is best known for being the central figure in the royal baccarat scandal of 1891. After inheriting a baronetcy he joined the Army and saw service in South Africa and the Sudan. Something of an adventurer, he spent time hunting in the US and India. A friend of Edward, Prince of Wales for over 20 years, in 1891 he attended a house party at Tranby Croft, where he took part in a game of baccarat at the behest of the prince. During the course of two nights' play he was accused of cheating. After news of the affair leaked out, he sued five members of the host family for slander; the case was a public spectacle reported in the UK and abroad, but the judgement went against Gordon-Cumming and he was ostracised from polite society. A handsome, arrogant man, Gordon-Cumming was a womaniser with married women. After the court case he married an American heiress.
He was the grandfather of the writers Katie Jane Gordon-Cumming. William Gordon Gordon-Cumming was born on 20 July 1848 at Sanquhar House, near Morayshire, his parents were his wife Anne Pitcairn née Campbell. The big-game hunter Roualeyn George Gordon-Cumming was his uncle, he was educated at Wellington colleges. At the age of eighteen he became chief of the Clan Cumming, his inheritance included three Morayshire estates: Altyre near Forres, Gordonstoun near Elgin and Dallas. Though the estates totalled 38,500 acres, they yielded poor revenues. Although Gordon-Cumming suffered from asthma and was blind in one eye, he purchased an ensign's commission in the Scots Fusilier Guards in 1868, he was promoted to regimental lieutenant and to the rank of captain in the army by purchase on 17 May 1871, the last year commissions were allowed to be purchased. He volunteered for service in South Africa in the Anglo-Zulu War, where he served gallantly, was the first man to enter Cetshwayo's kraal after the Battle of Ulundi.
That year he conveyed the condolences of the army to the Empress Eugénie on the death of her son, Napoléon, Prince Imperial. Gordon-Cumming was promoted to the regimental rank of captain and the army rank of lieutenant-colonel on 28 July 1880, he went on to serve in Egypt, in the Anglo-Egyptian War and in the Sudan in the Mahdist War, the last of, with the Guards Camel Regiment in the Desert Column. He was promoted to regimental major on 23 May 1888, he found time for independent adventure, hunting in the Rocky Mountains in the U. S. and in India, where he would stalk tigers on foot. Scenes in camp and jungle. In September 1890 Gordon-Cumming was invited, along with Edward, Prince of Wales, to a house party at Tranby Croft in Yorkshire. There he was accused of cheating at baccarat by placing additional counters onto his stake after the hand had finished, but before the stake had been paid—a method of cheating known in casinos as la poussette. Gordon-Cumming insisted they had been mistaken, explained that he played the coup de trois system of betting, in which if he won a hand with a £5 stake, he would add his winnings to the stake, together with another £5, as the stake for the next hand.
In order to avoid a scandal involving the prince, he gave way to pressure from the attendant royal courtiers to sign a statement undertaking never to play cards again in return for a pledge that no-one present would speak of the incident again. "In consideration of the promise made by the gentlemen whose names are subscribed to preserve my silence with reference to an accusation, made in regard to my conduct at baccarat on the nights of Monday and Tuesday the 8th and 9th at Tranby Croft, I will on my part solemnly undertake never to play cards again as long as I live." Despite the pledge of silence, rumours of the incident began to circulate and were brought to Gordon-Cumming's attention. In an attempt to scotch the rumours, he demanded a retraction from five of the house party; the trial opened on 1 June 1891 and entry to the court was by ticket only. The Prince of Wales was present, sat on a red leather chair on a raised platform between the judge and the witness box; the trial closed the following week, after the judge's summing up "had been unacceptably biased", according to Tomes.
The jury deliberated for only 13 minutes before finding in favour of the defendants. The day after judgement was passed, the leader in The Times stated that "He is... condemned by the verdict of the jury to social extinction. His brilliant record is wiped out and he must, so to speak, begin life again; such is the inexorable social rule... He has committed a mortal offence. Society can know him no more."Gordon-Cumming's senior counsel, the Solicitor General Sir Edw
Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Edward was related to royalty throughout Europe, he was heir apparent to the British throne and held the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. He was heir presumptive to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until before his marriage he renounced his right to the duchy, which devolved to his younger brother Alfred. During the long reign of his mother, he was excluded from political power, came to personify the fashionable, leisured elite, he travelled throughout Britain performing ceremonial public duties, represented Britain on visits abroad. His tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 were popular successes, but despite public approval his reputation as a playboy prince soured his relationship with his mother; as king, Edward played a role in the modernisation of the British Home Fleet and the reorganisation of the British Army after the Second Boer War.
He reinstituted traditional ceremonies as public displays and broadened the range of people with whom royalty socialised. He fostered good relations between Britain and other European countries France, for which he was popularly called "Peacemaker", but his relationship with his nephew, the German Emperor Wilhelm II, was poor; the Edwardian era, which covered Edward's reign and was named after him, coincided with the start of a new century and heralded significant changes in technology and society, including steam turbine propulsion and the rise of socialism. He died in 1910 in the midst of a constitutional crisis, resolved the following year by the Parliament Act 1911, which restricted the power of the unelected House of Lords. Edward was born at 10:48 in the morning on 9 November 1841 in Buckingham Palace, he was the eldest son and second child of Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He was christened Albert Edward at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 25 January 1842.
He was named Albert after his father and Edward after his maternal grandfather Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn. He was known as Bertie to the royal family throughout his life; as the eldest son of the British sovereign, he was automatically Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth. As a son of Prince Albert, he held the titles of Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Duke of Saxony, he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 8 December 1841, Earl of Dublin on 10 September 1849 or 17 January 1850, a Knight of the Garter on 9 November 1858, a Knight of the Thistle on 24 May 1867. In 1863, he renounced his succession rights to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in favour of his younger brother, Prince Alfred. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were determined that their eldest son should have an education that would prepare him to be a model constitutional monarch. At age seven, Edward embarked on a rigorous educational programme devised by Prince Albert, supervised by several tutors.
Unlike his elder sister Victoria, Edward did not excel in his studies. He to no avail. Although Edward was not a diligent student—his true talents were those of charm and tact—Benjamin Disraeli described him as informed, intelligent and of sweet manner. After the completion of his secondary-level studies, his tutor was replaced by a personal governor, Robert Bruce. After an educational trip to Rome, undertaken in the first few months of 1859, he spent the summer of that year studying at the University of Edinburgh under, among others, the chemist Lyon Playfair. In October, he matriculated as an undergraduate at Oxford. Now released from the educational strictures imposed by his parents, he enjoyed studying for the first time and performed satisfactorily in examinations. In 1861, he transferred to Trinity College, where he was tutored in history by Charles Kingsley, Regius Professor of Modern History. Kingsley's efforts brought forth the best academic performances of Edward's life, Edward looked forward to his lectures.
In 1860, Edward undertook the first tour of North America by a Prince of Wales. His genial good humour and confident bonhomie made the tour a great success, he inaugurated the Victoria Bridge, across the St Lawrence River, laid the cornerstone of Parliament Hill, Ottawa. He watched Charles Blondin traverse Niagara Falls by highwire, stayed for three days with President James Buchanan at the White House. Buchanan accompanied the Prince to Mount Vernon, to pay his respects at the tomb of George Washington. Vast crowds greeted him everywhere, he met Ralph Waldo Emerson and Oliver Wendell Holmes. Prayers for the royal family were said in Trinity Church, New York, for the first time since 1776; the four-month tour throughout Canada and the United States boosted Edward's confidence and self-esteem, had many diplomatic benefits for Great Britain. Edward had hoped to pursue a career in the British Army, but his mother vetoed an active military career, he had been gazetted colonel on 9 November 1858—to his disappointment, as he had wanted to earn his commission by examination.
In September 1861, Edward was sent to Germany to watch military manoeuvres, but in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark and his wife Louise. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had decided that Edward and Alexandra should marry, they met at Speyer on 24 September under the auspices of his elder sister, who ha
Mixed-sex education known as mixed-gender education, co-education or coeducation, is a system of education where males and females are educated together. Whereas single-sex education was more common up to the 19th century, mixed-sex education has since become standard in many cultures in Western countries. Single-sex education, remains prevalent in many Muslim countries; the relative merits of both systems have been the subject of debate. The world's oldest co-educational day and boarding school is Dollar Academy, a junior and senior school for males and females from ages 5 to 18 in Scotland, United Kingdom. From its opening in 1818 the school admitted both boys and girls of the parish of Dollar and the surrounding area; the school continues in existence to the present day with around 1,250 pupils. The first co-educational college to be founded was Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio, it opened on December 3, 1833, including 29 men and 15 women. Equal status for women did not arrive until 1837, the first three women to graduate with bachelor's degrees did so in 1840.
By the late 20th century, many institutions of higher learning, for people of one sex had become coeducational. In early civilizations, people were educated informally: within the household; as time progressed, education became more formal. Women had few rights when education started to become a more important aspect of civilization. Efforts of the ancient Greek and Chinese societies focused on the education of males. In ancient Rome, the availability of education was extended to women, but they were taught separately from men; the early Christians and medieval Europeans continued this trend, single-sex schools for the privileged classes prevailed through the Reformation period. In the 16th century, at the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic church reinforced the establishment of free elementary schools for children of all classes; the concept of universal elementary education, regardless of sex, had been created. After the Reformation, coeducation was introduced in western Europe, when certain Protestant groups urged that boys and girls should be taught to read the Bible.
The practice became popular in northern England and colonial New England, where young children, both male and female, attended dame schools. In the late 18th century, girls were admitted to town schools; the Society of Friends in England, as well as in the United States, pioneered coeducation as they did universal education, in Quaker settlements in the British colonies and girls attended school together. The new free public elementary, or common schools, which after the American Revolution supplanted church institutions, were always coeducational, by 1900 most public high schools were coeducational as well. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coeducation grew much more accepted. In Great Britain and the Soviet Union, the education of girls and boys in the same classes became an approved practice. In Australia there is a trend towards increased coeducational schooling with new coeducational schools opening, few new single sex schools opening and existing single sex schools combining or opening their doors to the opposite gender.
The first mixed-sex institution of higher learning in China was the Nanjing Higher Normal Institute, renamed National Central University and Nanjing University. For millennia in China, public schools public higher learning schools, were for men. Only schools established by zongzu were for both male and female students; some schools such as Li Zhi's school in Ming Dynasty and Yuan Mei's school in Qing Dynasty enrolled both male and female students. In the 1910s women's universities were established such as Ginling Women's University and Peking Girls' Higher Normal School, but there were no coeducation in higher learning schools. Tao Xingzhi, the Chinese advocator of mixed-sex education, proposed The Audit Law for Women Students at the meeting of Nanjing Higher Normal School held on December seventh, 1919, he proposed that the university recruit female students. The idea was supported by the president Guo Bingwen, academic director Liu Boming, such famous professors as Lu Zhiwei and Yang Xingfo, but opposed by many famous men of the time.
The meeting decided to recruit women students next year. Nanjing Higher Normal School enrolled eight Chinese female students in 1920. In the same year Peking University began to allow women students to audit classes. One of the most notable female students of that time was Jianxiong Wu. In 1949, the People's Republic of China was founded; the Chinese government has provided more equal opportunities for education since and all schools and universities have become mixed-sex. In recent years, many female and/or single-sex schools have again emerged for special vocational training needs but equal rights for education still apply to all citizens. In China Muslim Hui and Muslim Salars are against coeducation, due to Islam, Uyghurs are the only Muslims in China that do not mind coeducation and practice it. Admission to the Sorbonne was opened to girls in 1860; the baccalaureat became gender-blind in 1924, giving equal chances to all girls in applying to any universities. Mixed-sex education became mandatory for primary schools in 1957 and for all universities in 1975.
St. Paul's Co-educational College was the first mixed-sex secondary school in Hong Kong, it was founded in 1915 as St. Paul's Girls' College. At the end of World War II it was temporarily merged with St. Paul's College, a boys' school; when classes at the campus of St. Paul'
Berkeley John Talbot Levett, was a Major in the Scots Guards and a Gentleman Usher for the Royal family. He was a witness in the Royal Baccarat Scandal of 1890 in which the future King Edward VII was drawn into a gambling dispute which painted him in an unflattering light; the son of Colonel Theophilus John Levett of Wychnor Park, Member of Parliament for Lichfield, member of an ancient family, Levett enjoyed playing cards and saw himself as a dashing figure in society circles. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the Scots Guards on 16 December 1885, an appointment to one of the most prestigious regiments, which further allowed him to advance his contacts in the establishment. On 8 September 1890, the Scots Guards officer was in the company of royalty and fellow socialites at Tranby Croft in Yorkshire when the incident which set off the Royal Baccarat Scandal occurred. At the time, Levett was a bon vivant said to be the best-dressed man in London. One society publication referred to him as the "noted soldier and dandy."
The subsequent events led to a slander trial. Although the defendants won the case, public mood was against them. During the parties feting the German Emperor Wilheim II during his July 1891 London visit, The New York Times noted, "the Pall Mall Gazette this afternoon, in referring to the garden party, gives great prominence to the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. E. Lycett Greene, Lieut. Berkeley Levett, all of whom were prominent in the Tranby Croft baccarat scandal, were among the guests at the garden party."Berkeley Levett served as Aide-de-camp in India to William Mansfield, 1st Viscount Sandhurst, Governor of Bombay from 1895 to 1900, during which he was promoted to captain on 15 November 1897. Back in England, Levett married on 2 June 1900 Sibell Lucia Bass of the Bass brewery family, daughter of Hamar Alfred Bass, Member of Parliament. In September 1902 he retired from the army. Having sold his share of the family's Staffordshire estates, he and his wife lived in Lancaster Gate, London.
Berkeley Levett kept up his royal connections while serving as one of the Gentlemen Ushers for the Royal Household from 1 April 1919 to 1 December 1931. Levett was promoted to the rank of Major, he and his wife had two sons, one of whom was killed in World War I. Levett was drawn into the scandal after a night in which Sir William Gordon-Cumming, 4th Baronet, a fellow officer from the Scots Guards, was accused of cheating at Baccarat, a card game. Levett testified that he had witnessed the cheating. Although Gordon-Cumming maintained that he had not cheated and the others had been mistaken, he had when confronted signed a statement pledging never to play cards again in return for an agreement that no-one present would speak again of what had happened; the assembled players feared the worst. For four months afterwards, Sir William split his time between his Scottish estates, his Scots Guards regiment, his wealthy American fiancee and his Paris club, hoping that the others would hold to their pledge.
The secret pact did not hold. An anonymous letter from Paris informed Sir William that gossips on the Continent were chattering about the events of that evening — and about Gordon-Cumming's alleged cheating. Enraged, Sir William brought suit against those present, including Berkeley Levett, charging slander; when the suit came to court in June 1891, it was a stylish affair: only those observers sporting a note from the Lord Chief Justice were admitted. The cream of society turned out dressed as though for Royal Ascot. Levett testified under oath, although the jury ruled for him and the rest of the defendants, the damage was done. Sir William was forced to resign from his clubs; the future King, required to testify and thus reveal his penchant for card-playing, was outraged. "Thank God", said the future King, "the army and society are now well rid of such a damned blackguard."The royal reputation had been called into question. Newspapers and public opinion sided squarely with Sir William. Word in the street blamed the future King.
In circles like Berkeley Levett's, consensus was the King was to blame, but for a different reason: the contentious card game had transpired at the estate of a newly-rich shipping millionaire. The jury took 10 minutes to award them their legal costs, it was not a popular decision. The crowd hissed and booed the jurors, tried to attack the defendants as they left the courtroom. List of Gentlemen Ushers Hamar Alfred Bass, Burton-on-Trent.org.uk "The Royal Baccarat Scandal", Edward Grayson, Michael Havers, Kimber, 1977
Royal baccarat scandal
The royal baccarat scandal known as the Tranby Croft affair, was a British gambling scandal of the late 19th century involving the Prince of Wales—the future King Edward VII. The scandal started during a house party in September 1890, when Sir William Gordon-Cumming, a lieutenant-colonel in the Scots Guards, was accused of cheating at baccarat. Edward had been invited to stay at Tranby Croft, the home of Arthur Wilson and his family. Among Edward's party were his advisers, Lord Coventry and Lieutenant-General Owen Williams. On the first night the guests played baccarat, Stanley Wilson thought he saw Gordon-Cumming illegally adding to his stake. Stanley informed other members of the Wilson family, they agreed to watch him on the following evening. Gordon-Cumming was again seen to be acting in a suspicious manner; the family members asked the advice of the royal courtiers who, with the agreement of the prince, confronted Gordon-Cumming and pressured him into signing a document that declared he would never play cards again, in exchange for the silence of the guests.
The secret was not kept for long, Gordon-Cumming demanded a retraction from the Wilson family, whom he considered to blame for divulging the news. They refused, he filed a writ for slander in February 1891. Despite the efforts of the prince's courtiers to have the matter dealt with by a military court, the case was heard in June 1891; the atmosphere at trial was described as being like a theatre, Edward was called as a witness, the second time the heir to the throne had been compelled to appear in court having entered the witness box during the notorious Mordaunt divorce case of 1871. Gordon-Cumming's senior counsel, the Solicitor General Sir Edward Clarke, did not persuade any of the defendants to change their stories, but he highlighted several inaccuracies and serious discrepancies in their evidence. Despite a strong and well-regarded closing speech by Clarke on Gordon-Cumming's behalf, the judge's summing up was described as biased by some, the jury found against the lieutenant-colonel.
Gordon-Cumming was dismissed from the army the following day, was ostracised from society for the rest of his life. A leader in The Times stated. Society can know him no more." Public opinion was on his side, the prince was at his most unpopular for several years afterwards. The affair has been of subsequent interest to writers. At the time of the events at the country home Tranby Croft, Sir William Gordon-Cumming was a 42-year-old lieutenant-colonel in the Scots Guards, having seen service in South Africa and Sudan. Gordon-Cumming's biographer, Jason Tomes, thought that his subject possessed "audacity and wit gloried in the sobriquet of the most arrogant man in London", while Sporting Life described him as "possibly the most handsome man in London, the rudest". In addition to considerable land holdings in Scotland, Gordon-Cumming owned a house in Belgravia, London. Gordon-Cumming was a womaniser, stated that his aim was to "perforate" members of "the sex", he was unmarried at the time of the events and subsequent court case.
Edward, Prince of Wales was a 49-year-old married father of five at the time he visited Tranby Croft, had a history of association with scandals. In 1866 he had incurred the censure of his mother, Queen Victoria, when he became involved with "the fast racing set", his betting had "harm his reputation and contribute to the widespread unpopularity of the monarchy in this period", according to his biographer, Sidney Lee. In April 1869 Sir Charles Mordaunt learnt that his wife had had three separate affairs, that her lovers included the heir to the throne. Although Mordaunt did not carry out his threat of citing the prince as co-respondent in the subsequent divorce case, Edward was subpoenaed to appear in court as a witness. Although Edward did not want to appear—and the queen wrote to the Lord Chancellor to see if this could be avoided—the law was such that the heir to the throne could be forced to appear if necessary; the prince appeared voluntarily and was in the witness box for seven minutes, during which time he denied having had a sexual relationship with Mordaunt's wife.
Edward's biographer, Colin Matthew, wrote that "the hearing coincided with general criticism of the different deportments of both the queen and the prince. The latter was several times booed in public". Despite the "taboo on open criticism on actions, an undercurrent of dissatisfaction existed" with him and his actions. For Edward, although such affairs could be discussed between friends, scandal was to be avoided wherever possible. In 1890 the prince gave up dancing, telling his son George that "I am getting too old and fat for these amusements", he enjoyed baccarat so much that when he travelled he brought a set of leather counters, valued on one side from five shillings to £10 and engraved with his feathers on the other. Surrounding the prince was a fashionable clique known as the Marlborough House set, named after the prince's home overlooking The Mall, London; the set was a mixture of old titled families and "plutocratic and parvenu" families with fortunes from new industr
Kingston upon Hull
Kingston upon Hull abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It lies upon the River Hull at its confluence with the Humber Estuary, 25 miles inland from the North Sea, with a population of 260,700. Hull lies east southeast of York and northeast of Sheffield; the town of Wyke on Hull was founded late in the 12th century by the monks of Meaux Abbey as a port from which to export their wool. Renamed Kings-town upon Hull in 1299, Hull has been a market town, military supply port, trading hub and whaling centre and industrial metropolis. Hull was an early theatre of battle in the English Civil Wars, its 18th-century Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, took a prominent part in the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. After suffering heavy damage in the Second World War, Hull weathered a period of post-industrial decline, gaining unfavourable results on measures of social deprivation and policing. In the early 21st century spending boom before the late 2000s recession the city saw large amounts of new retail, commercial and public service construction spending.
Tourist attractions include The Hull People's Memorial, the historic Old Town and Museum Quarter, Hull Marina and The Deep aquarium. Sports teams include Championship League football club Hull City and rugby league clubs Hull F. C. & Hull Kingston Rovers. The University of Hull now enrols more than 16,000 students, it is ranked among the best in the Humber region. Hull was the 2017 UK City of Culture and in the same year the city's Ferens Art Gallery hosted the prestigious Turner Prize. Kingston upon Hull stands on the north bank of the Humber Estuary at the mouth of its tributary, the River Hull; the valley of the River Hull has been inhabited since the early Neolithic period but there is little evidence of a substantial settlement in the area of the present city. The area was attractive to people because it gave access to a prosperous hinterland and navigable rivers but the site was poor, being remote, low-lying and with no fresh water, it was an outlying part of the hamlet of Myton, named Wyke.
The name is thought to originate either from a Scandinavian word Vik meaning inlet or from the Saxon Wic meaning dwelling place or refuge. The River Hull was a good haven for shipping, whose trade included the export of wool from Meaux Abbey, which owned Myton. In 1293 the town of Wyke was acquired from the abbey by King Edward I, who on 1 April 1299 granted it a royal charter that renamed the settlement King's town upon Hull or Kingston upon Hull; the charter is preserved in the archives of the Guildhall. In 1440, a further charter incorporated the town and instituted local government consisting of a mayor, a sheriff and twelve aldermen. In his Guide to Hull, J. C. Craggs provides a colourful background to Edward's naming of the town, he writes that the King and a hunting party started a hare which "led them along the delightful banks of the River Hull to the hamlet of Wyke …, charmed with the scene before him, viewed with delight the advantageous situation of this hitherto neglected and obscure corner.
He foresaw it might become subservient both to render the kingdom more secure against foreign invasion, at the same time to enforce its commerce". Pursuant to these thoughts, Craggs continues, Edward purchased the land from the Abbot of Meaux, had a manor hall built for himself, issued proclamations encouraging development within the town, bestowed upon it the royal appellation, King's Town; the port served as a base for Edward I during the First War of Scottish Independence and developed into the foremost port on the east coast of England. It prospered by exporting wool and woollen cloth, importing wine and timber. Hull established a flourishing commerce with the Baltic ports as part of the Hanseatic League. From its medieval beginnings, Hull's main trading links were with northern Europe. Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Low Countries were all key trading areas for Hull's merchants. In addition, there was trade with France and Portugal; as sail power gave way to steam, Hull's trading links extended throughout the world.
Docks were opened to serve the frozen meat trade of New Zealand and South America. Hull was the centre of a thriving inland and coastal trading network, serving the whole of the United Kingdom. Sir William de la Pole was the town's first mayor. A prosperous merchant, de la Pole founded a family. Another successful son of a Hull trading family was bishop John Alcock, who founded Jesus College and was a patron of the grammar school in Hull; the increase in trade after the discovery of the Americas and the town's maritime connections are thought to have played a part in the introduction of a virulent strain of syphilis through Hull and on into Europe from the New World. The town prospered during the 16th and early 17th centuries, Hull's affluence at this time is preserved in the form of several well-maintained buildings from the period, including Wilberforce House, now a museum documenting the life of William Wilberforce. During the English Civil War, Hull became strategically important because of the large arsenal located there.
Early in the war, on 11 January 1642, the king named the Earl of Newcastle governor of Hull while Parliament nominated Sir John Hotham and asked his son, Captain John Hotham, to secure the town at once. Sir John Hotham and Hull corporation declared support for Parliament and denied Charles I entry into the town. Charles I responded to these events by besieging the town; this siege helped precipitate open conflict between the forces of Parliament a