The township of Hull came into existence sometime in the late 1100's- At first it was called Wyke upon Hull, and it
was only after King Edward 1 took over the port in 1293 that it became Kingston (The King's town) Upon Hull. The word Wyke originated from the Scandinavian word "vik" meaning a creek. referring to
the point where the River Hull entered the River Humber.
Wyke was originally an area of wasteland within the area of the Hamlet of Myton.
Myton received its first mention in 1086, when it was itself just a farm. It was within the manor of North Ferriby. The next we hear of it is between 1160 and 1182, when four bovates of land were given to Meaux Abbey, together with two-thirds of the fee of the "Wyke of Myton" (A bovate was the area of land which could be ploughed by an ox in a year, and a fee was land or freehold property which could be inherited) Meaux is pronounced "Muce". Between 1197 and 1210 the Abbey acquired the rest of Myton, amounting to ten bovates in all. Myton was to the west of the present Old Town.
The Cistercian monks from Meaux set about improving their new land, with lay brothers living there in a grange. Meanwhile the last few hundred yards of the River Hull, before its out-fall into the Humber, were diverted to make a straighter channel, by using a small creek, Sayercreek, for the new course. This is the present course of the Hull through the centre of the City. In time the old Hull became obstructed "making it hardly worth calling a drain."
In 1193 the Yorkshire monasteries contributed wool for the ransom of King Richard 1 (held hostage by Emperor Henry VI), and this was gathered for export at "the port of Hull", the first time the word "Hull" is known to have been used as a place name rather than just for the river. Four years later the place name "Hull" was used again in the record for the sale of more wool. In 1203 - 5 King John taxed ports on the east and south coasts according to the size of their trade. and Wyke upon Hull was ranked sixth out of thirty five ports taxed. Later, in accounts made between 1275 and 1290 Wyke generally ranked third, after London and Boston. The trade of Hull was dominated by foreign merchants, who made about nine shipments to every one made by an English merchant. Even among English merchants none was described as from Wyke but from Beverley, Hedon, York etc. The Archbishops of York imported their wine through Hull, and royal wine was passing into the port at least by 1204. Recent archaeological digs have revealed massive quantities of continental medieval pottery, including many wine containers, to verify the documents.
It seems that the layout of the town shows that its original function was that of a port and it was never an agricultural community. In 1293 there were two long streets running parallel to the River Hull, both on the west bank, with four short cross streets to give the only public access to the river. the rest of the bank-side being occupied by 29 properties. A chapel is supposed to have been built in 1285, although there was possibly one already in existence as the Town's first fair was granted in 1279 and was fixed on the feast of Holy trinity. to which the parish church was subsequently dedicated. Holy trinity was originally a chapel in Hessle Parish whereas in the fourteenth century St Mary, the Virgin, Lowgate, was established as a chapel of North Ferriby parish. 7 1/4 acres in the town where reserved for the fairground but it is not known whether they were ever used as such.
Hull Fair is one of the main institutions of the modern city, nowadays held for a week in October.